Since Confederation, Canadian politics have been a balancing act between the federal core and the provinces, which are closer to the people.
Pierre Trudeau failed to see the importance of either the provinces or of federal MPs (whom he once arrogantly derided as “nobodies, 50 feet from Parliament Hill”). As a result of this, and his misunderstanding of constitutional government (which he effectively replaced with Charter government), since his time in office the federal government has increasingly invaded areas that Canada’s Constitution clearly identifies as provincial jurisdiction. The primary vehicle for these invasions has been taxpayers’ money, through the Equalization Program and federal grants—with strings attached—for policing, health, education, and social services.
Nevertheless, the Equalization Program has a valid rationale: attempting to ensure that all Canadians have reasonably equal access to programs and services, and that benefits provided to citizens are portable from province to province.
CHP Canada requires Ottawa to respect the constitutional division of powers.
Ottawa and the provinces, through First Ministers’ Conferences, must agree on a uniform basic level of per-capita funding for services, to be undergirded by Equalization Payments; but Ottawa must refrain from setting standards or policies for services that are constitutionally areas of provincial jurisdiction.
We will reform and strengthen the Senate, by letting provinces appoint or elect senators, as they choose; and by seating senators by region, rather than by party affiliation.