Aug. 23, 2021

Party leaders campaigning beyond their jurisdication

The 2021 federal election is an exercise in political overreach. Federal party leaders want to keep up the pretense that they can do anything when they will find many election commitments are blunders.

It is hilarious. None of them are considering whether their commitments are constitutional or financially possible. Federal powers are not unlimited. Bad policy leads to bad results.

All major parties are promising to spend millions to address affordable housing. Sales and management of land are in provincial sovereignty. Provinces have turned over control of land development and sales to municipalities, including cities.

Political leaders are talking about 200,000 affordable dwelling units per year. There are roughly 14 million residential dwelling units in Canada, and over 80% are in urban areas. Subsidizing 1.8% of urban residential housing units will have no effect on overall prices and is money wasted.


Paid sick leave has become an election issue. This is another issue fraught with problems. Federal employees and the employees of federally regulated enterprises are a fraction of the mix. Mandating paid sick leave interferes with the collective bargaining process and is a payroll tax for employers.

Canada’s largest employers, small businesses, are struggling to recover after months of lockdowns. Hitting them with another payroll tax constrains their ability to hire as many people as they might. Adding ten days sick leave benefits to the load increases payroll taxes by about 4%. Based on a weekly gross income of $600, payroll taxes will increase from $62.51 to $86.51. That is a  38% increase in payroll taxes which is a job killer.


Health care is another topic that garners a lot of attention due to COVID. The federal government has been messing about in health care for over six decades (since 1957). People are fed up with long waiting lists for medically approved procedures, a lack of family doctors, and a system unable to cope with a contagious disease.

The central portion of health care is under provincial sovereignty. The federal government has limited health care jurisdiction that it largely ignores. Burbling about increasing health care transfers to the provinces and subsidizing nurse’s training is kicking the can down the road rather than addressing critical health issues.

The federal government must transfer taxation points to the provinces to give them stable and reliable funding to work with, get out of the road and allow provinces to innovate in health care delivery. Then the federal people have to pick up their constitutional health care responsibilities rather than thrust them on the provinces.

Case in point – quarantine is a federal government responsibility. However, during COVID, provinces have been mandating the isolation of healthy people and families. The language used does not alter the fact that it is a quarantine when you are kept in your home for extended periods due to an infectious disease.


All parties are promising to create millions of jobs. The only jobs government creates result in a more extensive, less affordable bureaucracy. Government needs to create a regulatory and taxation system that encourages entrepreneurship and investment that allows business people to create jobs.

Surely someone noticed that Trudeau’s ridiculous environmental regulations cost Canada billions in withdrawn (previously committed) investments, loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs and turned our nation into a no-go for business investments. Investors and entrepreneurs thrive in a stable long-term business environment that we do not have.


The first week of the election campaign has been a disappointing regurgitation of meaningless platitudes. The COVID crisis is not over, our economic crisis has not been addressed, we are bobbing about aimlessly in foreign affairs seas, we have lost our credibility on the international stage and parliament is closed to deal with an unneeded election instead of working hard to face up to and resolve critical problems.

Parliament’s two month summer recess, which addressed travel problems when MPs travelled by train and unreliable autos over questionable roads, is insulting. In an era of electronic communications and jet travel, the summer recess needs to go with the telegraph that modern communications replaced.