Tuesday, July 11, 2006

This bugged me.

Okay, so last week I said that Jim Flaherty should tell Alberta that, no, they could not have Ontario's money to fix up their roads. And Anonymous left this in response:
So, next time Ontario sits ion the money the country should discard federalism and the working agreements and say f - you. Yes, it may be good politics in Ontario and Quebec for the moment. But travel a short distance down this path and there won't be a country left. And yes, Ontario has put a lot into Canada and got a lot out. As has Alberta. Reasons to keep it going, not rip it up.
So I'm being accused of hating federalism, because Alberta's finance minister doesn't want to raise taxes? Let's see how many reasons this is wrong.

First of all, there's the simple fact that roads and highways are provincial responsibilities. Alberta is constitutionally required to maintain the roads in its jurisdiction, and raising its own revenue is part of that.

Secondly, Alberta has squandered immense sums of money under the Klein government. Whether you want to talk about mismanaged royalties, electricity degregulation, or even those stupid "prosperity checks", the government has squandered billions - with a b! - of dollars on nothing. (Whenever someone whines about the gun registry, please inform them that Alberta's energy deregulation cost more.)

Thirdly, I think it's great that the Canadian west is playing an increasingly important role in the country's media, culture, and economy. I wish there were more NDP voters in Alberta, but I don't get to choose. I would love to see the influence of southern Ontario and Quebec diminish, relative to BC and Alberta. Well, I'll accept it anyway.

Fourthly, Alberta is just one of the provinces that has been screaming bloody murder every time the feds (Liberal or Conservative) propose conditions on federal funding. If Alberta refuses to have any conditions on the Federal funding it receives, then it isn't in a great bargaining position when it comes begging for more, now is it?

I think that's it, but damn it bugs me when people assume that because I dislike one of the players in the game, it means I want to tear up the rule book.

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