2002 November 18 Monday
James C. Bennett: Secessionism In Western Canada

In his Anglosphere column James C. Bennett argues that the political culture of Canada threatens to reawaken secessionist desires in the West. As the executive branch at the federal level has arrogated increasing amounts of power to itself and pursued a policy aimed more at its own emotional needs than of the needs of the provinces the Western provices are left with nothing short of a threat to secede as a bargaining tool in dealings with the federal executive:

The latter was demonstrated by exaggerated devotion to the emotional successor (for Canada's intellectual-government class) to the British Empire, the United Nations. As in Imperial days, Canada's peacetime military was not sized to the actual demands of defending the nation; it was sized to permit a demonstration of loyalty to the Imperial center. Today, this translates into being able to provide peacekeeping forces for U.N. operations.

One result of this peculiar political culture is a need to endorse the transnational progressive project of global governance through U.N. treaties. This has led Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to sign the Kyoto treaty on limitation of carbon monoxide production.

The US states have been fighting a long running battle with the federal government over control of many policy issues. The US states have the advantage of a less amendable constitution that for historical reasons vests considerable authority in the states. In other Anglosphere countries such as Canada and Britain the constitutional protections of the prerogatives of the lower levels of government is run from less to non-existent and the higher levels have gradually usurped the powers of lower elected levels. In the UK the Parliament has gone so far as to literally eliminate lower elected offices and to take over and abolish and rearrange the boundaries of lower level districts.

This trend of loss of power at the local level has gone even farther in the UK in Canada as the UK government has given up increasing amounts of its own authority to the EU. The loss of authority at the levels of government that are closest to the people translates into worse government. Local problems and local preferences inevitably lead to different desires and priorities at the local level in each locality. Also, any local knowledge of poor performance of agencies can not be used to hold those agencies accountable thru the democratic process. The UK and Canada both need constitutional reform to vest more authority in democratically elected governments that are closer to the people.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 November 18 03:59 PM  Politics Anglosphere


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