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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Equalize This!

The Premiers are meeting in Newfoundland trying to come to a consensus on equalization. The overarching reality is does Stephen Harper really care if they agree or not? It is his Constitutional based proactive right to "fix" the formula and impose it on the provinces. An agreement may be nice but it is necessary? Federal-Provincial agreement is not even particularly relevant to Prime Minister Harper. Think Kelowna Accord for example.

I am not opposed to equalization, in fact I support it. I think the spirit of equalization ought to be extended beyond the vertical or horizontal fiscal "imbalance" to include the imbalance in the Senate. I recently wrote a piece for the Canada West Foundation "Dialogues" publication. Go to http://www.policychannel.com to read the piece. In it I suggest the same principles behind equalization ought to apply to equalize Senate seats. Western Canadians do not have the same standards of access to the benefit of Senate representation as do the eastern and central Canadians. Why would those who are "Senate Seat wealthy" oppose a quid pro quo equalization here as well? Surely Canada is not just about "cutting up the cash."

Senate Reform was the theme in the CWF Summer 2006 Dialogues. Lots of thoughtful commentary about senate reform at http://www.cwf.ca/ if you are interested.