If the media doesn't ask, someone else will
"The media are less a window on reality than a stage on which officials and journalists perform self-scripted, self-serving fictions." Paul Weaver wrote that in a New York Times article called "Selling the Story" more than a dozen years ago.
On such flimsy pretexts and vague terms as "principles" are redistribution programs entrenched; desired outcomes of redistribution are internalized as imperatives — a Constitutional imperative, even, in the case of equalization — not only by beneficiaries but also by the lawyers and officials who profit by arbitrating the political and legal processes of redistribution as well as by that portion of academics and the media who are habitually sympathetic to the socialist philosophy of mandatory redistribution. It's no wonder, given the prevalence of these interpretations, that most taxpayers accept the transfers of their wealth as imperatives as well.
Parliament and the government of Canada are committed to the principle of making equalization payments…
As finance ministers across the country quibble about how to "fix" equalization, Burton H. Kellock and Sylvia LeRoy deconstruct the legal "imperative" of the program itself in a study released this month by the Fraser Institute. Noting that the Constitution Act obliges the federal government only to the principle of equalization but not to the practise, the study finds that any interpretation of its practise could not be enforced by a court of law. More importantly, the authors find that the constitutional authority of the federal government to collect taxes and redistribute to provinces to spend on areas of their own exclusive jurisdiction has never been resolved through the constitutional amendments that would be required to supercede the limits placed on that authority by the Constitution Act of 1907 and the British North America Act of 1867. In other words, "the entire equalization program falls beyond the powers of Parliament as defined" by those Acts.
But not beyond the make-it-up-as-you-go powers of politics, self-serving rationalizations and popular hornswoggling. Nice country… shame about the pieces of paper that founded it. Just so we're clear that our governments aren't bound by the law…
Despite these findings, the legality of the equalization program is not likely to be broadly tested in any court, and one may be sure even in the event that inscrutably vague wishes would be allowed by the courts to overcome less ambiguous limitations. This will come as a relief to mayors of municipalities, like our own Anne Marie DeCicco-Best, who are doing their best to entrench yet another equalization program for themselves that's not even loosely articulated anywhere in any Constitution Act.
Welfare subsidy in poetry
Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs annually runs a $4.7 million Arts Promotion Program, both to promote a Canadian "cultural presence" overseas, in part by funding travel expenses for well- and lesser-known authors, artists and musicians, and to
At least by the standards of welfare subsidies to token constituencies, Canada is without doubt firmly in the mainstream, if not ahead of it. But according to Kathleen Harris of Sun Media, some middlemen of government dependency are worried about the future of government dependency:
demonstrate at home and abroad that a distinct and vigorous identity has placed Canada firmly in the mainstream of international artistic excellence.
At least there is no indication of an impending shortage of creativity in the bureaucracy-rationalization industry. As is typical, the defense of an indefensible proposition is difficult to argue with — because it doesn't make any sense. It's impossible to tell how many frivolous government programs there are out there that eat away at tax revenues and go generally unnoticed except by their beneficaries — the only thing that is certain is that a host of small-time grafters will spring up to its defense every time that one is noticed.
Douglas Fiske, a spokesman for the Canadian Public Arts Funders [a government-sponsored association of provincial, territorial and federal arts funding agencies] said any cuts could leave artists or organizations scrambling for other funding sources or unable to share their talents with the world. Such a move would be to Canada's detriment, he said.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Posted by MapMaster on Monday, December 18, 2006