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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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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Canada -World Leader! albeit with a Perpetually 'Hung' House of Commons..

Canada - 21st Century Switzerland albeit with a Perpetually 'Hung' House of Commons..

If we're headed for another election a la 2008 (it's true purpose was a mandate-renewal just before a world-wide financial crunch) resulting in another 'hung' House of Commons headed by a "Friendly--but-unstoppable Dictator-in-minority" .... why bother?
Instead of another 36 days of homilies about healthcare and bi/multiculturalism, impossible-to-deliver opposition fiscal promises, earfuls of staged-to-seem-spontaneous sound-bites, pronouncements of planned private members' bills plus the oceans of glossy colour paperwork touting the just-within-the-limits-of-puffery attributes and accomplishments of wannabe 50-foot nobodies, party leaders and incumbents, let's have an election "about something".  Let's make it about the Canada of the 21st Century - Switzerland with heft and breadth and depth.
Dear Editor,
For, if as David Rosenberg opines (Breakfast with Dave, March 18/11 pg3) our dollar has "very quietly..emerged as a safe-haven currency -like the Swiss franc but with decent positive yield and exposure to raw materials" and if the real currency price of today's worldly goods is measured in mined minerals, oil, gas and a new handful of 'rare earths'.
And if Conrad Black's Jan 29/11 analyses of President Obama's State-of the-Union and the state of the world are at all accurate (Nat Post, Jan 29/11 America struggles against political dysfunction)"There is a role for Canada and Australia, countries that have most of America‚Äôs advantages except grandeur of scale, and few of its problems, to start to assume a bigger role in the world. The world wishes it, and we should be ready for it"
And if, as Kevin Page, our Parliamentary Budget Officer said at the Canada 2020 Conference (re-run on CPAC last night) that ~" Canada did NOT experience a financial crisis .... just a fiscal crisis and recession"~, then perhaps the 21st Century will be the Century of Canada, as the 19th Century was of The USA. (apologies to Sir Wilfred)
With this external-affairs opportunity before us, I think it is time we found solutions to
three chronic and one acute internal problems in anticipation of our new status as world-models of excellence.
First, we will forever enjoy Minority/Hung Houses of Commons (with 3-4-5 Progressive Parties versus the Ref/ Con/ Pragmatist bunch that is as-anxious-for-majority as the Pearson & Trudeau Liberals were in the 60's and 70's) until we re-establish the purposely-crafted hierarchical juxtaposition within our Legislative & Executive Orders of ConFederal governance --as specified in the BNA/Constitution Acts (1867-to-date).
I submit that, until we re-establish these 3 as-written, extremely prescient, check-and-balance provisions of our  "similar in principle" ..... but different by design governance system, we'll never "have a century belong to us":
 -i) The Propertied-class, representative-status of our Upper House (the only office in Canada with a Property Ownership and Net-Worth qualification/disqualification standard --sadly never adjusted for inflation since 1867), see the following late-19th century sentiments:
G.E. Cartier  -"to protect the regional interests and also a power of resistance to oppose the democratic element"
Sir James Lougheed - a "bulwark against the clamour and caprice of the mob"
Cicero (carved in oak frieze of Cdn Senate Speaker's chambers) - "It is the duty of the nobles to oppose the fickleness of the multitude"
-ii) the Privy Council as independent Advisors-for-life to the Office of Governor General i.e. NOT a duplicate cabinet wholly populated by the same limo-driven, 100-foot nobodies the Queens Privy Council is intended to oversee.
How? just rescind Order in Council P.C.1940-1121, Wm L M King's deft manoeuvre between GG's in 1940 and re-separate the Office of Clerk of the Privy Council from the control of the person holding the Office of Secretary to the Cabinet,
-and iii) the Governor General's mandate as described in the Executive Power sections of the BNA 1867 and Letters Patent of 1947. The GG is the veritable embodiment of the sovereign powers of the Crown-in-Right-in-Canada, holder of an un-appealable veto (termed Disallowance), holder of the un-appealable power of Reservation (?for ratification by 1992-style plebiscite?) (ss 55-57) , Commander in Chief of the Military Forces and holder of all HRH's 'Executive' powers save a few particularized-in-writing instances that need the Advice & Consent of the Privy Council of Canada (s.12 vs s.13).
Suggestion-- This new chap seems very capable -Let's give His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, the as-written BNA mandate for the balance of his term .... see how it goes... interim-like basis. If that goes well, then start selecting the "recommendation to the Queen" by election-at-large, every-other General Election, for a term starting 365 days after the return of the writs.
In my view, with this superstructure in place, the "democratic element" of the lower house could return to its intended job-function. MP's could be freed of all the whipping, nomination-badgering and 'trained seal' throttling and allowed to voice the opinions and desires of all-the-people without the constraints of being in the party that is (or wants next to be) "running the country".  An emancipation proclamation for these tertiary-level parliamentary commoners.
Second simplify the Personal and Corporate Income Tax codes by elimination of all but the widest-reaching and broadest-ranging tax-breaks, deductions, tax-expenditures (ie stop subsidizing EVERYTHING) and reduce the tax brackets to 2 levels (PIT: the first $20,000 of personal income exempt and a single rate on the balance; corporate: 2-5% off the top). Thus returning taxation to its proper Revenue-gathering place as opposed to disadvantage-ameliorating, economy-tinkering for political advantage as well as out-and-out vote-buying of small and large interest-group segments.
Third re-examine the applicability of lines of latitude and longitude as provincial boundaries and consider adopting watershed boundaries as the new guiding principle - Canadians don't live in provinces they live near (or far) from major urban centres (even PEI has an urban-rural split personality). Urban centres have 'big-city' problems, but sadly the most brilliantly applicable big-city solutions rarely fit when spread across the non-urban Rest-of-Province.
Let's take a look at the 26 Cantons of the Swiss Confederacy -serving 7.8 million multi-heritaged peoples over 15,940 sq mi (vs Canada's 32-33 million over 3,511,023 Sq mi -land area only) and see if a greater number of highly-localized sub-sovereignties might create a government structure with more "quality, equality and equity" .... ie more chiefs with smaller constituencies.
Finally stop the acquisition of the TSX, the world's finest system for mine development - from exploration & venture financing to capitalization to distribution -  from being gobbled by a aging older brother (who's not really British anymore) based in London.  If we're going to lead a sound fiscal and financial world that is based on natural resources we'll need our industry-leading skill set here at home (never mind the impact on restaurants, embassies, hotels, entertainment, residential real estate, commercial real estate etc etc due to the flight-to-Head-Office of the top players from Bay St that would occur if the merger succeeded).

So my friend, if we're headed for another meaningless-to-the-electorate election a la 2008 (it's true purpose was a mandate-renewal just before a total-surprise-to-Cdn-Fin-Dept. world-wide financial crunch, irrespective of the previous year's legislation to fix a four-yr term of government) resulting in another 'hung' House of Commons headed by a "Friendly-but-almost-unstoppable Dictator-in-minority" .... why bother?
Instead of another 36 days of homilies about healthcare and bi/multiculturalism, hundreds of impossible-to-deliver opposition fiscal promises, earfuls of well-rehearsed sound-bites about spending and tax changes in the new "cream-puff Budget" and pronouncements of planned private members' bills about pro and/or con immigration changes etc etc plus the oceans of glossy colour paperwork touting the just-within-the-limits-of-puffery attributes and accomplishments of wannabe 50-foot nobodies and their better-dressed, smoother-talking incumbent opponents, let's have an election "about something".
Let's make it about the Canada of the 21st Century. Switzerland with heft and breadth and depth.

Robert Ede,


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