Sep. 12, 2021

The federal election debate chapter 2

When the dust settles and votes are counted, election commitments and promises wind up in the trash like the colour brochures in a dealership are dumped when the new models arrive. That is in part because the wheels of government never stop. Whoever is Prime Minister finds a full slate of things on his plate when he takes the oath of office.

Immediately does not work in real-life politics. Changes in direction often require changes in legislation that have to be drafted, debated, passed by the House and Senate and receive Royal Assent. Then bureaucrats need to be updated on the new regulations.

In many cases, health care, housing, daycare and personal care, to name a few, provinces have jurisdiction, and plans need provincial buy-in to work at all. Without the agreement of provinces, new initiatives will not fly.

The leadership debates have raised the ire of provinces outside Quebec. Openly dividing us between Canadians and Quebecers has a price. Constitutionally, all provinces are equal under section 92.

There is no provision for special treatment of one province, which has been the case for decades. We are not the province of Canada drafted by Great Britain in 1840 legislation. The attempt to have a common legislature with equal representation from English and French Canada failed. The two sides refused to work to a common purpose resulting in several failed legislatures as no leader could attract enough support to govern with a clear majority. The province declined in gridlock.

Breaking the deadlock was one motivator for confederation. Another primary consideration was the possibility of an invasion by the United States following the American Civil War. The US federal government had the troops ready to invade.

The original confederation was to include Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Quebec wanted to join to strengthen the federation and be able to ward off an American invasion. PEI held off joining confederation until 1873.

Liberal governments and the Province of Quebec are trying to drag us back to 1840 and the Canada Act. That has to stop.

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The Bloc Quebecois Party Leader must be excluded from federal leadership debates. He cannot become Prime Minister and has no reason for inclusion in a federal election debate. It is irrelevant that his party has seats in our House of Commons.

The BQ cannot represent the 29,550,000 Canadians (77.5 per cent) living outside Quebec. They have no presence outside Quebec. They cannot represent Quebec either; that is Premier François Legault’s job, and we do not include premiers in federal election debates.

Excluding the BQ Leader will message Quebec that we will not tolerate attempts to hold a special status.

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Planning is critical to governance. The Prime Minister and Cabinet must have clear objectives, set them in priority order and establish goals for each objective to measure success. Anyone with experience knows that months of planning start to disintegrate when a plan goes operational. The plan has to be adapted to circumstances faced which is normal. As long as a government works toward the objectives and goals, it will achieve its aims. The path from initiation to objective is rarely, if ever, smooth and never follows a straight line.

Unexpected issues that must be dealt with throw off plan timelines, but that is also normal. We don’t exist in a cocoon where we can focus on a plan and ignore issues thrust upon us from international partners and events. We have to be resilient enough to deal with the unexpected while still working toward our objectives. What is important is that we acknowledge the issue that has arisen, communicate our plan for dealing with it and follow through.

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Conservative leader Erin O’Toole appears to be best equipped to develop a plan to move us forward and accomplish some of his articulated objectives. He cannot do them all, at least not in the short term, but we have to start on the long list of outstanding issues before our society collapses into chaos.

The LPC has seriously fractured our society, pitting minorities against the mainstream, Quebec against Canada, blacks against whites and promising to fix things for everyone while ignoring the pain and suffering their policies thrust upon us.

O’Toole’s approach of partnering with provinces to seek solutions that work for everyone makes sense. We cannot pretend that the federal government is superior to the provinces and that Ottawa can dictate to them.

We must dump Trudeau’s plans to embroil us in a new world order. We don’t need a reset – he does.