Monday, November 27, 2006

Time for a Free Market Nation

The recent Parliamentary commotion about Quebec’s “nationhood” proves the nationalists in Quebec are winning.

And that’s something all those people praising Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his “masterstroke” resolution seem to be forgetting.

Yes, Harper scored a skillful tactical victory with his “the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada” resolution and yes he did throw the Bloc Quebecois for a loop.

But what about the bigger picture?

Let’s face it, Harper had to introduce his resolution because he was afraid his own caucus members, including cabinet ministers, might support a similar Bloc resolution.

The Prime Minister also feared if his party voted against a resolution calling Quebec a nation they would lose votes in that province.

Also telling is the Prime Minister didn’t dare introduce a resolution saying something like, “Canada is the only nation for Canadians”, a resolution no Quebec politician from any party would have voted for.

What does that say about Quebec’s relationship with the rest of Canada?

To me it says the “Quebecois nation” has little or no emotional attachment to the nation-state we call Canada.

Is that a bad thing?

Not necessarily. In fact, in this day and age of multiculturalism and immigration, coupled with the emergence of new communication technology and globalization the nation-state as we know it is becoming less and less relevant.

Let’s not forget many western Canadians are also growing alienated with what’s going on in Ottawa these days.

I suppose we could call “Albertans a nation within a united Canada” or we could try something else.

For instance, why don’t we redefine federalism?

Instead of actively seeking to pander and appease Quebec nationalists with Parliamentary resolutions, let’s instead reduce the size and scope of the federal government.

That means handing over power to the provinces or to the regions or better yet it means privatizing federal operations that could be better run by the private sector – the CBC and the Post Office spring to mind.

Other institutions like the CRTC could simply be scrapped.

Some people might call this radical.

But I would call it creating a nation that could appeal to all Canadians: a free enterprise nation.

Media Update:

I am going to be on the show Richard Cloutier Reports at 12:30 EST to talk about this.

4 comments:

Road Hammer said...

Well said. My Quebecois brother in law said to me yesterday that nation or not, he still can't get an appointment with his family doctor.

Clinton P. Desveaux said...

Great column, very similar to what I have written over at my site. Great work GN!

Liam O'Brien said...

I support the call for privatization. I've long said that we need to privatize most of the CBC TV Network, VIA Rail, and Federal corrections facilities. I've also called for the outright eleimination of Federal Regional Development porkbarrell agencies such as CED Q, WED, ACOA, and Fednor.

But I would also add a couple of points:

1. I saw no problem with and no threat to Canadian unity arising from the original BQ motion on this subject. If I had been in parliament, I'd have voted for both.

2. I have never seen Canada as a "nation-state." I know of relatively few Newfoundlanders or Quebeckers or perhaps people elsewhere too who ever did consider Canada a nation state.

I DO consider it a federation, and one with great potential. There is nothing "lesser" about it being viewed in this way.

Still, I support your call for privatization and reduction in Federal encroachment in the economy and in provincial areas of authority. It's definietly part of the adjustment we need in Canada.

Miles Lunn said...

I support the call for privatization. I've long said that we need to privatize most of the CBC TV Network, VIA Rail, and Federal corrections facilities. I've also called for the outright eleimination of Federal Regional Development porkbarrell agencies such as CED Q, WED, ACOA, and Fednor.

Agree with all of the above except privatizing prisons. Corrections like the police force is a legitimate government function. However finding a liberal who supports privatizing a good chunk of CBC is pretty rare although a few such as Roger Gallaway, Stan Keyes do exist, but not many.