Rae blasts ‘dictatorial federalism’
Provinces must pay higher costs
Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae criticized what he characterized as the Harper government’s non-collaborative approach to federalism, which he said can be seen in its policies on health care and crime.
Speaking Saturday in Van- couver, Rae said Prime Minister Stephen Harper has not consulted with provinces on things that affect them, such as its recent crime bill that increases jail time for many offences.
He also cited the government’s recent approach to health care, which was to unilaterally decide that health transfer payment increases be tied to economic growth and inflation after 2016-17, at roughly four per cent a year, after the current deal of six-percent hikes expires.
Rae did not specifically criti- cize the policy but the way in which the government implemented it by simply dictating the financial terms but not contributing ideas on how to reform the health-care system.
“We used to have co-operative federalism, we used to have executive federalism,” Rae said. “We now have what I call dictatorial federalism — ‘It’s my way or, too bad, you’re on your own.’”
Rae pointed out how the Tories did not consult the provinces on its recent crime bill, despite the fact that it will cost the provinces more money to run jails and build some as more people are incarcerated.
More recently, Harper signalled in a speech from Davos, Switzerland, the government’s commitment to reforming the public pension system. It’s believed this could involve raising the age of eligibility for Old Age Security to 67 from 65.
Rae argued that provinces would be forced to spend more dollars on welfare for many low-income seniors who are disqualified from retirement until later in life.