Bloc to debate motion reducing Federal powers over tax points Thursday

How did Maxime Bernier’s crazy motion to reduce transfers to the Provinces get on the House of Commons agenda for Thursday October 22, 2010

Jean Dorion BQ debating motion to reduce transfers to provinces

The Bloc Quebecois has the floor in the House of Commons to debate their motion in support of Maxime Bernier’s suggestion the Federal Government downsize.
Bernier’s idea seemed like a crazy notion last week. It is quickly developing steam in Parliament with support from the Bloc and the Conservatives.
While an Opposition Day debate and motion is not likely to result in changes to the Federal Provincial fiscal arrangements, it is shocking how fast the idea has become in the centre of Canadian politics.
We reported only three days ago that reducing transfer payments to the provinces would devastate the Maritimes. Will Maxime Bernier Bankrupt Maritimes
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a champion of smaller Federal government. When he was in Alberta he wrote frequently about putting up a firewall against Federal incursions into provincial jurisdictions like health, education, welfare and other social policies.
As long as Harper only commands a minority Prime Minister’s job, this motion is not likely to carry the day. More than half of Harper’s caucus already back the notion.  
Here’s the item on the order paper –
 
Opposition Motion
October 19, 2010 — Mr. Dorion (Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher) — Federal spending power
Length of speeches, pursuant to Standing Orders 43 and 81(22):
All Members — 20 minutes maximum and speeches are subject to a 10-minute question and comment period.
The Bloc would like nothing better than more taxing power and autonomy for Quebec. To the BQ this motion is another step on the road to sovereignty.
Liberals in Quebec will want to support the idea, if not today’s motion.  Otherwise they will be seen as not being Quebecois.
The urban areas of Ontario are moderately in support of the motion. They have the tax base to gain by transferring powers and taxes back to Queen’s Park.
That leaves only the Maritimes against the idea.
The motion got no attention in the English media with all the stories about Col. Williams and his sick mind.
It did get airplay in French media and on CPAC. The commentator from LaPresse thought the motion would flush out the MPs on all sides of the House in support of change. Don Martin from Calgary seemed more amused than serious.
We have to remember that Harper used a back-bench motion to introduce the controversial gun-registry vote that divided the House and almost passed.
Change is in the wind and it looks like a cold Northwest wind down on PEI.

By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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