Although the Conservative Party won the most recent federal election with a majority, and they no longer have to appease the opposition, their most recent budget did not reflect that. They retained much of what was originally designed to appease the left-of-centre opposition, despite the fact that they didn’t need to. The very existence of the government in its current form causes me to feel some sort of confusion. Any government should logically be as small as possible. It should be built up from the populace as a means by which to perform necessary functions, and nothing more. Below is my argument for the radical reformation of the Canadian government.
Canada emerged as a European-style welfare state after the depression. Although many social programs were reduced in recent decades, many still exist. What I would consider one of the more egregious policies regarding social programs is the prohibition of access to private healthcare for what is deemed “medically necessary.” I see progress being made in this respect, but problems persist. Canada’s healthcare system is notorious for the long waiting times that exist for access to healthcare services; and, in my amateur opinion, I would attribute that problem to the inefficient way in which the system is run (see Private Sector vs. Public Sector, below). With respect to healthcare, my solution would be to completely privatize the healthcare system and allow health insurance companies and healthcare providers to compete for patrons. Having said that, my expertise in healthcare is very limited, so I cannot postulate on what that system’s actual efficacy would be; only on what it should be, in theory, according to my own reasoning. It is based on the below hypothesis (see Private Sector vs. Public Sector, below). In theory, the following things would happen: people who do not take care of themselves (i.e. smoking, eating unhealthy foods, et cetera) would need to pay more if that lack of care resulted in more need for healthcare (which would also act as a disincentive for unhealthy lifestyles), as opposed to being a drain on the public system which provides no such disincentive; people who do care for themselves would be rewarded with lower healthcare costs; healthcare would be prompt, and, if not, or if the healthcare provided by a company was unsatisfactory for some other reason, healthcare providers could be switched; the system would need to be run efficiently in the interests of profit, which would also benefit the consumer with lower costs; and innovation would be made possible.
Overall, the various levels of the Canadian government provide various social programs. All of them should be eliminated, or at least reformed, so as to generate the ideal of equity. In addition, the encroaching, inefficient behemoth, popularly known as “bureaucracy,” should be reduced to its basic necessity and upgraded with efficient, modern technology. In addition, equalization payments to the less-wealthy provinces (i.e. socialism) must end.
A Division of Power
Governmental powers in Canada are divided between the federal government and provincial governments. Unlike the United States, where the power of the federal government is limited by the constitution, in Canada, the power of the provinces is limited by the constitution. Everything else is under the power of the federal government.
This needs to be changed. The provincial governments are much more capable of dealing with the specific problems that exist in each particular province, as well as the difference of opinion that the populace of each province has. Therefore, the provincial governments are more qualified to handle domestic problems than is the federal government. The federal government’s sole purpose should be to handle foreign policy and other interests that are specific to the country as a whole and cannot be effectively handled by the provinces.
Private Sector vs. Public Sector
The efficacy of the public sector versus the efficacy of the private sector can be broken down to simple logic. The various private entities must compete with each other. This means that they are competing for business, which means that they must improve their product or offer some sort of incentive. And, because they must compete with each other, and because their goal is to maximize profit, they must run efficiently. Since the funds of the government are largely derived from taxes, the money of taxpayers is being wasted in the inefficiencies that are inevitable given a lack of competition. Furthermore, every taxpayer is likely paying for some service he or she does not use. It would be much fairer to pay only for the services you use. The expenses of paying for the services directly may seem unappealing, but this would allow people to have more control over their expenses. In addition, a lack of governmental social services would theoretically punish those that do not contribute something to society. Those who lack initiative would therefore be forcefully required to either get some initiative or learn a lesson in reality. As I see it, our current system punishes those who have initiative and rewards those who do not. Based on my analysis, I would conclude that the size of government is inversely proportional to the equality of its “subjects.”
In addition, the size of government increases the opportunity for corruption. As a safeguard against corruption, the government should be as small as possible.
More on Canadian Republicanism
Basically, the monarchy is the foundation of Canada’s Westminster-style parliamentary democracy in which it shares power with the democratically elected government over the various institutions of Canada’s government and acts as an apolitical unifying entity. However, government is, by definition, political and does not need an “apolitical unifying entity.” According to the Monarchist League of Canada, and according to the latest census data, the Canadian government pays approximately $52,798,770 (a year) to support the monarchy. That number is growing rapidly. According to them, the “great majority of these costs stem from: a) maintaining the historic buildings (Government Houses) occupied by vice-regal representatives; and b) from honouring Canadians who have performed outstanding acts or given a lifetime of service to the country.” According to them, “Whether a republic or monarchy, Canadians would maintain these heritage buildings and recognize achievements through an honours system. A president would likely be more expensive—look at the proportional costs of the White House and Elysée Palace! There may be arguments for a republic, but cost-saving is not one of them.” Comparing Canada to the United States or France is quite weak, especially since, immediately before they brought those two countries up, they stated that maintenance of historic buildings is already paid for (including the residences of both the head of state (governor general) and the head of government (prime minister)). Therefore, I do not see what point they are trying to make by bringing up the White House or the Elysée Palace (i.e. under a president, the cost of maintaining buildings would not be any higher than it currently is). According to them, “the founding principles of Canada ... [are] our constitutional monarchy and federal state together with the special place of the First Nations, the existence of two European founding peoples, the inpouring of new Canadians of other backgrounds enriching our diversity through the centuries and our special status as a Northern country.” I am not sure what that means, but it sounds like nonsense. Maybe I am way out there on this, but I believe the founding principles of a country should only be celebrated if they make sense (see the United States). I am not saying that Canada should abolish its traditions, per se. I am only saying that Canada should abolish the ones that do not make sense or have any relevance. The monarchy is a superfluous institution that has no practical value. I am for anything that reduces the size of the government and the incomprehensible inefficiency and redundancy that exists therein.
From my above paragraphs, I draw the conclusion that the government should be as small as possible. If I were an American, I would be a natural supporter of the tea party movement. The American-style governance that I would support would have little support in Canada, but I am going on record saying that I would like to see the United States, or the values that are espoused by the tea party movement, emulated in Canada. At the very least, I look forward to what the Conservative majority government’s future budgets will entail.
Simply put, in a hypothetical situation in which the government is abolished and must be completely re-established, this would be, in my opinion, the most logical way in which a new government would be built. The government, as it exists, can be intensely simplified. Furthermore, it should not try to create prosperity, but it should create the conditions in which prosperity can exist. The latter is demonstrably more feasible than the former.