An ode to the days of strong federal governments

Posted on January 3, 2008. Filed under: Personal Blog |

Case 1: I moved to BC two weeks ago. The first thing that I did was get my BC driver’s licence; it arrived in the mail today. It came along with an organ donor registration card. But I can’t register to be an organ donor in BC. Because I have an Ontario Health Card, not a BC one. And you need to have a BC ‘Care Card’ in order to so register. And here’s the kicker: I won’t be eligible for one until I’ve lived in BC for three months. So I can’t have my organ donor status listed on my driver’s licence. It’s a small hole in the system that shouldn’t exist.

Case 2: A participant in my Katimavik cluster went to the doctor the other day. But they’re from Quebec and Quebec doesn’t have a reciprocal agreement with BC to recognize each other’s health cards. So this participant had to pay out of pocket and submit paperwork to the Quebec government for reimbursement. It’s annoying. And more than that, it’s an impediment which limits the access of a Canadian Citizen to health care.

Our Prime Minister is set to meet with the Canadian Premiers next week. In the leadup, we’re hearing much gladhanding about their record and terms like new era of federal-provincial relations are being bandied. But there are festering inter-provincial issues. They affect our lives. They impede the mobility, the health, the security of Canadians. And they’re likely to be addressed only if there’s a strong federal government which compels the provinces to co-operate.

If the provinces don’t like a heavyhanded Ottawa, so be it. That’s why I’m a federalist. It shouldn’t be easier to move from Spain to Belgium than it is to move between two Canadian provinces. It just shouldn’t.

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