So we've had a major snow storm in southern Ontario, which is the perfect occasion for me to propound my latest theory of Canadian politics: what Canadians call "efficiency" usually amounts to "doing a shitty job."
You see, Toronto lies at a lattitude where snow is a recurring event. Indeed, in my years here I've never once seen a winter without it. Most winters can be counted on to get at least one good walloping, and sometimes two or three. And yet, this city is never, ever prepared for it. This applies in the collective sense -- we have truly awful snow removal problems -- and the individual -- Toronto drivers are so hysterically bad at driving in the snow, when it arrives, that you're completely safe to walk down the middle of the street: even if they're trying to hit you, they won't be able to. When it comes to snow, Toronto does a shitty, shitty job.
Other cities are better at snow removal, but the lesson applies elsewhere. The core of the hallucination that is called the "fiscal imbalance" says that while Ottawa has all the money, the Provinces have all the obligations. This is totally incorrect. First of all, the Provinces have access to all the same revenues that the Feds do, save some minor ones like external tariffs, etc.* Secondly, Ottawa is responsible for this minor little item called, oh wait what's it called, oh that's right -- national defense. In the modern context, with proper equipment and numbers, and given our geographical location and size, and our multiple commitments to both the UN and NATO, Canada's defense budget should be much, much larger. It isn't, because -- you guessed it -- we've adopted the cost-saving measure known as "doing a shitty job."
For a provincial example, see Health Care, funding of.
Leave your own favourite example in the comments.
*Oh, and I'm really quite gratified to see that Dalton McGuinty obliged me by totally fucking proving my point last week. Queen's Park has all the money it needs to solve Toronto's problems, he was just being whiny and trying to score cheap points off of Harper. Of course, given the state of the national Liberal Party, I can understand the impulse...