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Simple answers to Complex Questions and Complex Answers to Simple Questions. In real life, I'm a Greater-Toronto (Canada) Realtor with RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd, Brokerage. I first joined RE/MAX in 1983 and was first Registered to Trade in Real Estate in Ontario in 1974. Formerly known as "Two-Finger Ramblings of a Forensic Acuitant turned Community Synthesizer"

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- Realtor (2nd or 3rd best you'll likely run into)
- Philosopher King of Real Estate Business in Ontario (self-assessed)
- Likes Public Policy & Governance Discussions
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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

As the 19th Century 'belonged' to the USA, the 21st may well belong to Canada

What are the competencies the current Government of Canada considers as coming under provincial jurisdiction?

The "competencies" are those delineated in Section 92, 93 et al vis a vis s91 of 1867.

Briefly and basically, provinces were "big counties" responsible for administration of local and private or locally-important matters. E.g.. Federal is resp for marriage, prov is resp for solemnization of marriages.

Many non-contentious issues and responsibilities (hospitals, education, universities, welfare) were, in 1867, performed by the churches and the 'two solitudes' of 1867 were Catholic & Protestant.

As gov't eased the churches out of their 'old' duties by assuming the responsibility for their traditional tasks (simultaneously easing God out of the daily lives of govt's subjects) the original 'reason' for giving the provinces the responsibilities also faded.
Further help on the history comes from s94 which calls for uniformity of laws, in the non-civil law provinces.
This perfectly legal, binding and forgotten section was intended to allow the country to BE a country , and not an agglomeration of "big counties".

The experience that lead the Brits and BNA'ers of Canada 1867 to want this uniformity was none other than the original experience of the 13 Colonies. The first US constitution the "Articles of Confederation" had a weak central power and 'almost sovereign' states -this failed quickly with beggar-thy-neighbour trade practices etc and was replaced within a decade with the current US Constitution.

Canada has done marvellously with a crazy-quilt system of blatantly UN-equal provinces, with wildly differing economies, until "the land" could not provide a living for the non-urban populace.

WWI provided the income tax, WWII provided experience in nation-wide, industrial planning and nation-wide economic planning and since then by using the central gov't as a clearinghouse for income and wealth Canada trudged along supported by it's natural resource over-abundance - need rural jobs? cut down a forest, open a pulp plant up-river from a huge city/town or fish-out everything in the basin or let the Americans open another subsidiary branch plant or set up a crown corporation HQ or fed dept in some obscure place to employ the displaced workers.

In short the industrial-centre paid most of the central gov't's "sharing" expenses and exploitation of (finite) natural resources covered over the local rough spots.

The 'managed-trade' agreement of Myron Baloney changed all that -the branch plants in southern Ontario all closed. Ontario (and Quebec) no longer had the industrial base to create the wealth to share with the have-nots within their own territory or within the country.

So now we have 80% of the people living in cities, 50% within 3 cities, but still think our natural resource wealth will save the day. .

Alberta, Sask, the North, Nfld and maybe NS are experiencing a great upturn natural resource wealth and want to cut 'new deals' to conserve the old money-flows and keep the new money-flows.

In short, there is no "over-abundance" in the industrial-centre of the country and the newbies with oil in their backyard feel totally un-responsible to share their new found-wealth.

The cities are strapped - they need their own Income Tax revenue to stay in their jurisdiction, not fly to Ottawa for re-distribution back to them, via their provincial Treasuries.

Transit, Healthcare funding, urban-policing, urban-density 'everything' were not under consideration in 1867.


The question of competences comes down to sovereignty.

Whoever is sovereign, "owns" the land (and it's spoils) and is entitled to decide how to use it.

1867 Canada split the Crown's sovereignty in some areas of jurisdiction, but there still is only ONE Crown (what the Crown is, is another discussion, for now let's pretend Canada is a democracy and should/will/can figure a way to solve our own internal problems)

The split of jurisdictions/responsibilities/competencies are OK

It's the land boundaries that are no longer appropriate.

Why is PEI a province and Greater Montreal is not?

Why is Manitoba a provinces and Greater Toronto is not?

Why is NFLD-Lab a provinces and Greater Vancouver is not?

Yes history & land configurations play a role in explaining why the existing provinces ARE provinces, but what if there's a better way?

If we had 15-20 city-centred provinces that 'paid-their-own-way' and let the non-urban ROC split the natural resource revenue, wouldn't everybody be better off?

Wouldn't we lose a lot of criss-cross revenue-sharing?

Wouldn't taxing be applied by the jurisdiction that was going to spend the money?

Wouldn't Canada (as gov't centrally planned economy) be easier to operate?

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