August 08, 2015

The Constitution: Why it's the election issue no one will touch

Brian LilleyArchive

One of the most important issues that will not be discussed in this election is how to get our federal and provincial leaders to stick to what's in the constitution.

The British North America Act of 1867 and the Constitution Act of 1982 lay out specific duties for each level of government but politicians like to ignore those lines of responsibility and muddy the waters so they can one up each other with little risk of being held accountable.

As voters the best thing we can do is inform ourselves and see to it that all of the federal party leaders stick to the constitution.

If we simplify and keep clear the lines of responsibility, we'll know who to hold to account when things go well or when things go bad.


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commented 2015-08-10 18:16:33 -0400
They all use and distort the Constitution and Charter when it best serves their need.
Seems neither do anything positive for Canada and we Canadians while serving best those new to Canada via our courts/their perceived rights and freedoms as they annihilate everything “Canadian” including our rights,culture, freedoms etc. at the same time.
commented 2015-08-10 09:13:09 -0400
JIMMY hit the nail on the head:
Maybe because the constitution is archaic and needs an overhaul to reflect the 21st century and society now.

However, as BILL and ANGELA have pointed out, all parties use the spectre of endless constitutional discord as a convenient excuse to avoid action on things such as property rights. There isn’t one party – Conservatives included – that has the desire to enshrine property rights in the Constitution – to do so would effectively cripple a large chunk of federal and provincial bureaucracies and threaten a lot of government union jobs. So it’s nice to be able to point a finger at the Constitution and say, “we’d like to help you, but….”.

The position is laughable, and the fact that it is accepted without question by the public is a sad statement on its gullibility.
commented 2015-08-10 07:50:08 -0400
BILL ELDER: “The opposition-left’s vision of governance is power concentration, intervention in private affairs and ultra vires acts under fallacious color of law posing is distinctly Trotskyite in nature.” Which brings us to the proposal by LIV JIMMY DA SILVA, a prime example of what Lenin called a “useful idiot”, to “overhaul” our constitution, presumably to replace it with the Communist Manifesto.
commented 2015-08-09 23:03:33 -0400
All government have the power to do is tax, regulate and intervene and none of those are necessarily good for the country. Bill Elder your post is absolutely correct. All parties are guilty of “muddying the waters” and they should be ashamed of themselves, but they’re counting on, as you so aptly put it, LIV. How frustrating it is for those who actually take the trouble to try to inform themselves and at least try to gain an understanding of what is actually happening.
To hear political leaders and their ilk continue to merrily misinform people who are too lazy to become involved in the process drives me nuts! Ask any of the young ones in Alberta who Voted NDP who was their candidate and what did they and their parties stand for and 99.99% of them would not have been able to answer you. Those are the ones who voted NDP. Now we have elected individuals who were just bodies to fill in a constituency and didn’t have a clue about politics and are now representing us. Scary or what??
Its bloody unbelievable and I am worried sick that the same thing is going to happen Federally. Educate yourselves people!!!
commented 2015-08-09 21:53:20 -0400
Maybe because the constitution is archaic and needs an overhaul to reflect the 21st century and society now.
commented 2015-08-09 18:53:07 -0400
Unfortunately, many citizens do not know what is in the constitution, much less the devolution of powers through it. That is why politicians can obfuscate important issues. Education about the constitution does not seem to be a high priority for the various Provincial school curricula, much less the evolution of it from 1840 through 1867 through 1931 to 1982. However, it is the responsibility of citizens to not rely on outside sources but study it themselves, and become informed as a voting citizen.
commented 2015-08-09 18:32:32 -0400
Even with massive equalization payments, socialist-run have-not provinces still can’t balance the budget. Clearly this is because the feds aren’t shoveling the money fast enough, and not a result of the rate at which the provinces burn it. We need to double-down on centralization, confiscation and redistribution: for the children, etc!
commented 2015-08-09 17:33:01 -0400
Bill Elder, you are absolutely correct in you assertions!!
commented 2015-08-09 11:19:17 -0400
Why the constitution has raised its profile in this election cycle is the result of the opposition parties either misunderstanding the basic premises of constitutional jurisdictional protocol or deliberately misrepresenting it to the LIV (low information voter). All the constitutional issues I have heard blamed on Harper are in fact provincial Jurisdiction – Natural resources, healthcare delivery/management, property regulation, schools and yes, senator selection and succession referenda. Harper gets accused of “not caring” about the provinces when he rightfully does not intervene on constitutionally sovereign provincial jurisdictions.

Perhaps this is the opposition- left telegraphing to us that their concept of government is a centralized control system which is fully interventionist in every small matter of the provinces and our personal affairs – a concentration and monopoly on political power – this is in direct conflict with our constitution and SCC rulings which clearly state there is to be “watertight compartments” between provincial-federal-municipal powers so there can never be an overlap/ concentration/monopoly of power by any single level of government – rightly so because centralization of power and arbitrary powers of intervention and private/public asset redistribution is the antithesis of the liberal democratic confederation our founders drafted into being. The opposition-left’s vision of governance is power concentration, intervention in private affairs and ultra vires acts under fallacious color of law posing is distinctly Trotskyite in nature.
commented 2015-08-09 10:57:22 -0400
Great video Brian. The voters have no clue about constitutional responsibility. BSbaffles brains. Kathlene never understood this but she is a confused woman/man..
commented 2015-08-09 02:06:49 -0400
Thanks for that Brian, I do agree with you, but, in today’s SIRI world, people only have the attention span of a soundbite.
commented 2015-08-08 21:58:11 -0400
Agree with you Brian. All the federal political parties have muddied the waters in this regard.
commented 2015-08-08 17:50:06 -0400
Three words: TAX AND SPEND. Three more words: NEW DEPRESSION PARTY. Just ask Albertans about the NDP. They are taxing the oilsands companies from profitability into LOSSES of millions of dollars! If Thomas Mulcair becomes the next PM, he will TAX AND SPEND Canada into a full-blown RECESSION, if not a full-blown DEPRESSION. Don’t elect him!
commented 2015-08-08 17:10:02 -0400
Finally, someone speaks up about; and for the constitution. Thank you Brian Lilly! Many Canadian’s it would seem are ignorant of the 3 tier government system (Federal, Provincial and Municipal) in Canada and; the responsibility of each tier. This ignorance extends beyond average Canadian’s to elected officials. It concerns me when I hear Federal candidates talk about Provinvial infrastructure. Each year the Federal gov’t receives (based on per capita revenue) millions of dollars from each Province in the form of transfer payments. Those monies are then divided into equalization payments and given to the provinces based on per capita benefit (need). This is done to ensure all Provinces are treated equally with respect to healthcare, education and social programs. In addition to these allocated monies, the Province’s receive, as part of the equalization payment, additional funds to do as they please for Provincial infrastructure and economic growth. The Harper gov’t has consistantly increased the Provincial equalization benefits to each Province. If this system is failing, then it is failing on the Provincial level.
commented 2015-08-08 16:41:42 -0400
I disagree with George that candidates for municipal office have no affiliation with political parties. They like to deny it and when asked directly, as I always do, refuse to answer, but they often are promoted and funded by one of the big parties and/or partisan organizations including unions.

This focus on getting control of municipalities by electing councillors and hiring civil servants who are committed to promoting a leftist control agenda at the municipal level is nothing new. It’s been a goal for some decades not only of the left but also of pro-shariah organizations including the Muslim Brotherhood. Secure votes at the municipal level and it is easy to explot influence for the federal vote. Strong-armed style politics. You know, of the sort “If you don’t vote NDP, you won’t get your mail, your bridges, your snow removal, your health care, your ambulances, etc.”

I’m such a cynic.

As far as opening the Constitution Act of Canada, I think the leaders don’t want to touch that because it’s a vote killer and also because doing so could easily eat up a whole term without getting anything else done, without achieving whatever partisan goals each leader wants to institute in Canadian law outside the Constitution Act.

The Constitution Act 1982 is complex. I don’t believe either Mulcair or May is ignorant of the law but more likely that each has a rationale for getting around it with various loophole exploits.

For example, one can argue a federal social program like guaranteed income law is a) intended to promote equal opportunity under the Act, and b) is a tax prgram as it would be administered by CRA. I wish the CPC would make such law a priority to a) shut up leftist poverty activists, b) shut down criminal exploitation of provincial welfare programs, c) to save Canadian taxpayers millions in means-enforced provincial welfare programs, and d) take away a major source of crime/terrorist revenue.

A CRA software-administered guaranteed income program would observe privacy law now regularly violated by provincial welfare programs, reduce crime, increase the income of individuals so shelters, low-income ghettos, and food banks become virtually obsolete, and cost nickels on the dollar of the current cost to administer the thoroughly corrupted provincial welfare programs.
commented 2015-08-08 16:18:09 -0400
George, you make some really good points.

Now, I am against a central government that runs all of Canada, mostly because even though we are all Canadians, there are significant differences in the people in different areas in the country that require slightly different solutions in how they are governed, including health care, that only those residing in those areas can fully understand.

And to be honest, some of my revulsion to having a central government for the whole country may be an instinctual negative reaction to the centralized government socialists desire.

I certainly see the need to reduce the amount of administration of different government levels. It is difficult to know what the solution should be.
commented 2015-08-08 14:22:48 -0400
I know that this will be either contentious or ridiculed, but I’m actually a supporter of eliminating the designation of provinces and territories. Governing them is only supporting a superfluous layer of dead wood, middle management.

How many different healthcare systems does our country have? About thirteen maybe? I’ve lost count. Why is the life of a Canadian in one part of our country worth less or more than a Canadian in another part? Why do we have so many ministers of healthcare, or multi-culturism, or immigration, and so on? Yes, our country is so geographically large that perhaps at one time all this made sense, but that was back in the day when information travelled by horse and buggy, or even locomotive. The transmission of information has advanced a bit since then.

By all means, keep the abbreviated designation as part of our Postal Codes, I contend that that’s about all they are good for. Consider national unity. With no provinces there would be no provinces seeking separation.

I should mention that I support the rule of law as determined by our democratically elected government obeying the wishes of the people and enforced by democratically elected judges, but constitutions and charters should not be sacred cows. They are nothing more to me than pieces of paper that have been scribbled on by some dead guys who, when they were living, had the arrogance and temerity to believe they were so clever that they knew what was good for all subsequent generations.

I do like town councils though. Although their meetings are typically boring I like the arithmetic of how they are elected, and without allegiance to political parties I consider them to be the last bastions of democracy, and they usually get the job done.
commented 2015-08-08 12:56:04 -0400
Could not agree more with you, Brian. Many Canadians are completely unaware of the division of power that exists between the federal, provincial, and municipal levels of government. It is not taught effectively in schools across Canada, either as "history, social studies, civics, etc. Heck, how many Canadians out there know who Canada’s p;rime ministers were?
However, what surprises me is that Mulcair and May both are ignorant of this division of powers! Surely, one would think, that if either is aspiring to be Canada’s prime minister, they should have a keen grasp on the different levels of government and how they work!
Perhaps we all should buy them a book “Canada’s Constitutional Guidelines for Dummies”!
commented 2015-08-08 10:00:30 -0400
Since there was no formula for changing the Constitution in the British North America Act, the later Trudeau constitution can not be considered legal and should be junked. The fact that it mandates second class citizenship for Canada’s English speaking majority is a further reason to junk it.
commented 2015-08-08 09:56:30 -0400
Since the Liberals, the NDP and the Greens are all socialists to the core, they are obviously going to want to change Canada into a centrally run government. If any of our socialist parties get into office we do not want them opening up the constitution because they may try to change it so Ottawa controls everything.