Quote of the Day

Andrew Potter (one of 'the three Andrews', Potter, Coyne, and Sullivan), has a take-down of fellow Andrew, Andrew Coyne whom I myself quoted enthusiastically just yesterday!

Ah bliss, when ones favourite political writers turn their pens on each other! The spat takes place over the Harper governments feints at wielding the trade and commerce power it has in our constitution to knock down intra-provincial trade barriers. Both Andrews agree that this is a good idea, but Coyne rhapsodizes about the existential dimensions of this stronger federalism, and then from the other side of his mouth speaks about a worrisome reality that contradicts it.

Give that the abov is perhaps the least interesting introduction to a great political spat ever written, here is the article by Coyne, and here is the response by Potter. I excerpt the money quote from Potter below:

"But what Coyne seems to be claiming is that Ottawa does have the legal authority, but it should negotiate nevertheless. Read again what he wrote in the spring:

Viewed strictly as a legal matter, the feds could probably invoke the Trade and Commerce power, and strike down provincial trade barriers unilaterally. But politically, they don’t dare.

Politically they don’t dare. Whatever could that mean? That the premiers would scream and yell? So what? If it’s Ottawa’s business, who gives a hoot what the premiers think. Perhaps Coyne has something more worrisome in mind, viz., that if Ottawa were to assert one of its essential legal rights, the Canadian people would not stand for it. Or, more sinister still, that the residents of a particular province might be so unhappy they would vote to separate. Is that what he’s talking about?

This isn't federalism of any sort, it's gangsterism. Gangsters get to negotiate with the police in corrupt countries because, even though the law says one thing, the police don't dare, politically, enforce the law. Is this honestly what Canada has become?

- Andrew Potter

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