Canada is Failing its Citizens and Needs Constitutional Reform To Fix It

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pipeline-vs-rail-environmentToday the former leader of the Alberta Wild Rose party Brian Jean published an op-ed in the Edmonton Journal explaining his view that Canadian courts have now seized too much power:

Something is fundamentally wrong. Our courts, motivated by virtue-signalling and triggered by legal actions funded by foreign interests, routinely override the explicit wishes of our legislatures and have now claimed the powers to overrule the executive decision-making powers of cabinet.

Brian-Jean-Leela-AheerMr. Jean does not point out that the courts are one of three branches of Government (Parliament, Senate and Judiciary) that keep each other in check so we don’t have despots or idiots make binding decisions that are against the will of the people.  Think about the situation in the United States with President Trump and ponder what would happen if he had the unilateral power of a King.  It is critical to have guardrails on power in all democratic systems.

However, the Mr. Jean’s point is well taken that the courts do not seem to follow the will of “the people” as expressed by their elected Parliamentarians; courts are increasingly activist and responsive to the will of “the person”.

Something is fundamentally wrong. Our courts, motivated by virtue-signalling and triggered by legal actions funded by foreign interests, routinely override the explicit wishes of our legislatures and have now claimed the powers to overrule the executive decision-making powers of cabinet.

The United States has promoted it’s me-first culture for hundreds or years, while Canada has promoted the collective instead.  Canadians were not the first to say that the needs of many outweigh the needs of the few but our history is full of examples in which that logic was followed.  To be clear, we are not insinuating that it is right for the majority to ignore the rights of a minority but, and this is the critical distinction, we are saying that if any society provides a veto to all affected parties, nothing will ever get done.  Sadly this is the place Canada finds itself in relation to large scale infrastructure projects.

This has caused massive capital flight, discouraged innovation, distorted free markets and in the case of Alberta oil, it has seriously hurt the environment.

where-canada-gets-its-foreign oil

Imagine a world in which 65% of the Canadian population would rather import oil from dangerous states like Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Russia and Venezuela that was extracted and transported with little regard for the environment literally half way around the globe to the Irving Refinery in New Brunswick, than to have a tiny 2 foot buried pipeline safely move oil that was extracted from highly regulated and monitored Alberta to New Brunswick.  You don’t have to image it because that is the world we live in.  Even worse is the fact that after all this ranker and noise, the vast majority of Canadians remain completely unaware of it.  The Energy East Pipeline from Alberta to New Brunswick, much of which is already in place, was killed largely by a single Mayor who opposed a tiny stretch of the pipeline to gain temporary political advantage in Montreal.  That is crazy.

Ontario and Quebec also import a massive amount of Canadian oil that was (insanely) shipped from all parts of Western Canada all the way down to Texas for refining and then shipped by pipeline and rail all the way up to Eastern Canada.  Again, most Canadians are completely unaware of this.

(Americans) take our oil for way less than world prices, benefit from the jobs it creates and then sell it back to us at a (massive) premium. No need to take over Canada when Canadians proudly screw themselves out of prosperity all on their own.

This is not just a oil and gas issue affecting Alberta and Saskatchewan.  Having a very small group oppose a major development effectively being given veto power is occurring in many industries.

Mr. Jean also points out that we seem to be living in a country where political and ideological elites think this is the new norm which we will all just have to adjust to:

All Canadians should be angry. It is a rebuke of our history and a serious challenge to our future prosperity. But somehow, our elites, our media class, our thought leaders all just roll with it. As the fabric of our nation is torn apart and billions of dollars of current and future prosperity leave our country monthly, the powers that be in Canada spend their time commenting on the American president, their supreme court’s shenanigans and bragging about how much better Canadians are.

kinder-morgan-trans-mountain-pipeline-mapSurely Canada can do better.  Let’s drop the rhetoric and consider that all reasonable people can surely agree that it should not take 5+ years and more than $1 Billion of consultation and court costs just to get the permission to add a 2 foot pipe beside an existing 1 foot pipe between Alberta and BC.  Keep in mind that nearly all of this new pipe is buried in the ground so after a few weeks of construction, locals will have virtually no interaction with the pipeline.

Something is wrong with the Canadian system of government when large scale projects can be blocked by a tiny, mostly foreign funded, minority of people that are not personally deep-pipelines-buriedaffected by a project but simply have ideological problems with it.  The courts and forcing excessive bureaucracy are not the way for those people to express their displeasure with government decisions.  The election booth is where they should focus.  Change the politicians that make the decisions you do not like and have new rules brought in.  That is democracy.

We agree with Mr. Jean’s final statements that something has to change.  Notley, Kenny and others should appreciate that the needs of the Province outweigh their personal political needs:

The time has come for all Alberta politicians of every stripe to take up the cry that something bold must be done to get Canada back on track. Constitutional discussions are never fun, but they have never been more necessary. We must return to the original Canadian model that says that we are all in this together, and that we will work together to allow each part of Canada, and Canada as a whole, to reach its greatest potential and to be as prosperous at it can be.

As an Albertan who loves Canada, I believe that good leadership can return our country to its true path. I believe that Albertans want to be an important part of a successful Canada. And I believe Canadians want the same.

The alternative is the real risk of pushing Alberta out of Confederation.

Canada cannot grow and develop without Governments being able to make rational decisions that affect everyone, including those that don’t like it.  If you imagine trying to get a national highway or railroad or power-line infrastructure built today and you will find yourself imagining much sound and fury signifying nothing.

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