"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Royal Commission, Schmoyal Commission

There are circles in which the Blame Canada Commission — otherwise known as the Royal Commission on Renewing and Strengthening Our Place in Canada — is still discussed as if it was relevant. There are even those, for whatever reason, have put its report up on a pedestal.

In reality, the thing was promptly put on the shelf. Which is where it still sits.

One of the Report's now-dusty recommendations was:
Since the members of the Canadian Senate are not elected, the Senate lacks the democratic legitimacy to represent the interests of the provinces. An elected Senate, with equal representation of the provinces, would ensure that provincial issues receive greater federal attention. While this is a longer-term objective, the provincial government should join other provinces in advocating Senate reform. The Commission supports the calls for an elected and equal Senate in order to improve the representation of provinces in the federal parliament.
Another was:
The provincial government must have direct participation in the management of its most important resource. The Commission recommends the negotiation of a new fi sheries-management relationship between the two governments, leading to the development of mechanisms for joint management of the fi shery, integrated policy development and implementation. Achieving joint management does not require constitutional amendment, and could follow the same route that led to the current joint management regime for offshore oil and gas.
(One hopes that the latter sentence does not mean that joint management would follow three decades of bombast, contradictory provincial "positions", sabre-rattling, fed-bashing for fed-bashing's sake, and expensive, fruitless, litigation.)

On the latter recommendation, it has fallen to Loyola Hearn to reveal why Danny Williams has no interest in it, despite sorta being offered it by Stephen Harper. As Loyola was quoted in the St. John's Telegram of June 7, 2006:

Joint management across the board, nobody wants it. The provinces certainly don't want (to pay for) it ... To say that the province will take over the surveillance of the nose and tail and the Flemish cap, they don't have the wherewithal to do it, and many of the things when you're dealing with the fishery, it's not just a provincial issue.
And now, on Senate reform, neither Chairman Dan, nor his Ambassador to Canada, have bothered to show up Stephen's confab on the subject. As CanWest's Jack Aubry reports today (link won't work forever):
The Harper government's proposed reform of the unelected Senate, which is a legislature often mocked as the sleepy chamber of Parliament Hill, is drawing a collective yawn from the provincial governments.

Only two provinces have accepted an invitation to appear before a parliamentary committee next week for discussions of term limits in the Senate, even though it's unofficially considered by some as the ''House of Provinces.'' [...]

So far, only officials from Ontario and Quebec have agreed to appear before the committee, which begins its hearings next Wednesday. Governments in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland-Labrador [sic]and the NorthWest Territories have turned down the invitation to come to Ottawa and discuss the upper chamber.
Chairman Dan has not only forgotten the Royal Commission he once drew so much jingoistic inspiration from. He has even forgotten his own campaign rhetoric. Classic suff like:
A Progressive Conservative government will begin the task of seeking a new relationship with Canada from the perspective of Newfoundland and Labrador around the following core issues: [...] How federal institutions like the Senate [...] can better represent provincial and regional interests in Canada, as they do successfully in other federal states.

A Progressive Conservative government will establish the Newfoundland and Labrador Office of Federal - Provincial Relations in Ottawa. Some areas of focus will include: [...] Joint fisheries management
Royal Commission?

What Royal Commission?


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