Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Bill C-38 - a lot to like

First off, the idea of an omnibus bill like C-38 is the norm in Federal Canadian politics and was used regularly by the Liberals and the PCs.  I have hated them for years and it is one of the reasons I really disliked the PCs and the federal Liberals.   The current use of this traditional parliamentary tactic is just one more example of why the current Conservatives are not the heirs or descendants of the Reform party but are just the Mulroney PCs redux.

I have little memory of anyone else complaining about the draconian way Chretien pushed through all his omnibus bills.   One case I remember a completely unrelated set of issues were tacked onto a bill as a rider to get it to pass through the parliament without scrutiny which is what happened.

I hate the tactic but in general I like a lot of what is within the bill.  I like it because for the first time in decades it actually gets the feds out of some areas of provincial jurisdiction a bit.   I do not have time to go through what I like in full detail because I have work to do and I know it will pass.

First off, natural resources, the land base and environment are areas of provincial jurisdiction.  The Feds have intruded way too far into this field and any reduction of Fed powers is a good thing.   The Federal Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Act have been used for decades now to circumvent the constitutional division of powers in Canada.

I also trust the provincial civil service to manage environmental assessments.  I have no trust that the federal civil servants could ever effectively manage environmental assessment for the benefit of the environment, the public or industry for a host of reasons.   Federal review panels are effectively a take it or leave it approach and almost always end up with bad decisions because there is no scope for negotiations.

I like the changes to EI, I would like to see it go much further and really become an insurance program.  Seasonal workers should not be covered by EI, doing this subsidises these industries from the pockets of average working people.   Remember that the rich do not pay EI.

I like the changes to OAS even if it does not go far enough in my opinion.  I would also like to see a change to CPP at the same time.

Bill C-38 gets rid of some agencies but the Conservatives and bill C-38 do not go anywhere nearly far enough but it is a start.   As an example I would like to see an end to of all the economic development agencies.

Any reduction in federal powers or civil servants is in my opinion almost always a good thing.  In years of dealing with the feds and province, the feds cost a lot more and do a lot less.

We are better governed when the decisions are made at the level of government that can effectively deal with the issue at hand.   For most things the provinces are the best level of government to manage things. Natural resource and environmental issues are handled better by the provinces.  Getting the feds out of the field would also reduce unneeded duplication.

If we were to actually reduce the federal government to something much smaller in scope of powers the whole Quebec sovereignty issue would go away.  
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