Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Current issues...

Current issues with respect to trade and commerce on which the federal and provincial governments are not cooperating, and will ultimately need to re-think their current power-sharing arrangement:

On the west coast, water export trade laws appear confused in terms of regulatory agreement regarding disputes concerning water as an exportable product or not under terms of NAFTA or federal regulatory measures versus inter-provincial disagreements.

Disagreements exist between various levels of government on proposed legislations for the cutting of greenhouse gas emissions whereby Quebec and Ontario would like to skirt regulatory oversights by trading credits internationally without Ottawa's permission.

Battles over joint management of Newfoundland and Labrador Fisheries continue seemingly endlessly as do lingering animosities surrounding the federal versus Newfoundland and Nova Scotia Atlantic Accord where one party believes transfer payments should be paid back while the others believe it is part of the constitutional agreement.

Current negotiations for a Canadian-EU Free Trade agreement are stymied by provincial bickering described in, "Does the Canadian Federal System Undermine its Foreign Trade? " by Julia Bognar, MA and Thorfinn Stainforth, MA at the Institute for European Studies at UBC.

On a practical level, does the question of whether a law is federal or provincial make any difference to the average business person? Why even bother investigating?

It should make every difference to international trade minded business people as Canada's current federalism in terms of trade policy makes some developing countries look good ("Trade Policies Made in Canada "). There appears no more radical a concept than continuous improvement where Canada's trade regulatory system is concerned. It should be easy to illustrate the benefits of cooperation on an economic level where provincial and federal laws intersect, intertwine and interlope.

Efficiency and effectiveness would cost jobs. Whose jobs? Perhaps federal or provincial civil servants and lately UAW union members and parts suppliers, hangers on, etc. Investigation should be bothered with because it often becomes clear whose politics dictate which laws are enacted and which regulations are created due to vested interests versus common interests. Whose tax dollars pay for it all?

In Canada it often appears common interests come second even if over the long term everyone might be better off for it. Sometimes I think the average business people left Canada a long time ago.

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