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POLI 101- November 7.docx

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University of British Columbia
Political Science
POLI 101

FEDERALISM/CHARTER Monday, November 7, 2011 *Remainder of the Lecture on Federalism Fiscal (Im)balances - Different government attempt to fix the imbalance between provinces and federal government (1) Vertical (Im)balance - Imbalance between areas of jurisdiction and their cost, the ability to raise revenue EG. The provinces are not able to raise as much revenue as the federal government, yet are required to provide Healthcare service (which is extremely costly) to its residents - One way to increase the provinces‟ ability to raise revenue is through the federal government providing them with tax rebates - Tax rebates in essence decrease the federal tax rate in certain provinces so that the provinces can raise their tax rate with no overall increase in the tax rate of residents (2) Horizontal (Im)balance - Imbalance between provinces, region to region - A provinces ability to raise revenue is also dependent upon its natural endowment of resources - The federal government uses equalization payments to ensure that all Canadian citizens regardless of where they live, receive the same level of services and tax rate - Lessens the impact of natural endowment - There is a weak constitutional promise that ensures equalization payments EG. Ontario is now receiving equalization payments - Calls into question whether the equalization program can work as more and more regions are requiring payment (spread between the have and have-not provinces is increasing) Tension in the Federal System (1) Healthcare - Accord between provinces and federal government to fix healthcare will expire in 2014 - Provinces concerned that after the accord expires, the federal government will not continue to provide the same amount of financial support for provincial healthcare systems - Currently the government gives provinces a total of 40 billion dollars (2) Regional discontent - Conflict between provinces and the federal government often occur when the provincial ruling party is different than the federal ruling party (3) Institutional and constitutional issues - Senate reform (4) Growing disparity between provinces - Gap between the have and the have-nots provinces is increasing - Have: Those with natural resources - Have-nots: Those who specializing in manufacturing goods Coping Mechanisms - Ways that difficulties and issues are overcome in the federal system (1) Council of the federation: A more permanent form of executive federalism - Composed of the collection of Premiers - Function: Collectively articulate and express the provinces‟ position on issues affecting both levels of government, to the federal government EG. At this year‟s council, the premiers articulated that they want to begin talking about the expiry of the healthcare accord (2) Topic specific secretariats and Accords- - Agreements or meetings to establish agreement in areas that require intergovernmental cooperation and coordination EG. International trade, the environment, the social union *Today‟s Topic: Third pillar of Canada‟s Constitution- Rights Origin of the Charter - Despite the fact that rights were only enshrined in the Constitution in 1982, Canada‟s commitment to rights is much older - Based upon British approach to rights - Examples of rights cases prior to CA, 1982 (1) Provincial civil rights issues EG. A law existed in Alberta that required equal time/space be provided for the government to express their opinion in cases where there was press (radio, newspaper, etc.) critical of the government - Deemed unconstitutional, as it limited the freedom of press/speech - Law was overturned despite the fact this particular right had not be entrenched in law (part of common law) EG. Under the Quebec Nationalists (particularly under Duplaisse) there was unequal and unfair treatment of disliked minorities - This treatment was deemed unconstitutional (2) National civil rights issues EG. Internment: During first and second world wars Japanese Canadians and others minority groups were perceived as a security threat and ad their property confiscated and sent to camps for the duration of the war - Head tax (a payment) was required for all Chinese entering Canada is a similar civil rights issue on the national level EG. Bill of Rights: In the 1950‟s Diefenbaker passed a regular piece of legislation that put into law many of the rights later enshrined in the charter. Because this was a organic statue, holding the same status as regular legislation, the courts were reluctant to use it in any significant way. - These provincial and national civil rights issues led many to believe that an entrenched bill of rights - With an entrenched charter, the provinces and federal government would no longer be able to violate fundamental rights - Witnessing the civil rights movement in the US (the desegregation of the South) also increased the desire for a bill of rights proper to Canada - These factors established a receptive environment to change the constitution in order to establish a charter of rights Trudeau and the Charter - Trudeau strongly identified with this liberal way of thinking and the concept of fundamental freedoms and rights - His time in office is characteristic of the movement for greater civil rights - Activism in the 1970‟s was also in favor of Trudeau push for a bill of rights Charter (1) 1971: Victoria Charter - Trudeau‟s first, and unsuccessful attempt and repatriating the constitution - This version included a bill of rights that was simpler than the later version - The main component of this Charter was a new a
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