Here's a new idea
Last week, Liberal party president Alf Apps proposed an expansion of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to include social and economic rights. The proposal, excerpted in the National Post this week, has prompted reactions ranging from aha to what the heck is he thinking?
Face blank, having been here a while and written the odd book, I've decided it's maybe useful to remind folks (and Apps?) of Section B of the Charlottetown accord, circa 1992, meticulously negotiated, universally rejected by the Canadian population. Would this be what the Liberal Party president is talking about?
B: CANADA'S SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC UNION
4. The Social and Economic Union
A new provision should be added to the constitution describing the commitment of the governments, Parliament and the legislatures within the federation to the principle of the preservation and development of Canada's social and economic union. The new provision, entitled the Social and Economic Union, should be drafted to set out a series of policy objectives underlying the social and the economic union, respectively. The provision should not be justiciable.
- providing throughout Canada a health care system that is comprehensive, universal, portable, publicly administered and accessible;
- providing adequate social services and benefis to ensure that all individuals resident in Canada have reasonable access to housing, food and other basic necessities;
- providing high quality primary and secondary education to all individuals resident in Canada and ensuring reasonable access to post secondary education;
- protecting the rights of workers to organize and bargain collectively; and,
- protecting, preserving and sustaining the integrity of the environment for present and future generations.
The policy objectives set out in the provision on the economic union should include, but not be limited to:
- working together to strenthen the Canadian economic union;
- the free movement of persons, goods, services and capital;
- the goal of full employment;
- ensuring that all Canadians have a reasonable standard of living; and
- ensuring sustainable and equitable development.
A mechanism for monitoring the Social and Economic Union should be determined by a First Minister's Conference.
A clause should be added to the Constitution stating that the Social and Economic Union does not abrogate or derogate from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
5. Economic Disparities, Equalization and Regional Development
Section 36 of the Constitution Act, 1982 currently commits Parliament and the Government of Canada and the governments and legislatures of the provinces to promote equal opportunities and economic development throughout the country and to provide reasonably comparable levels of public services to all Canadians. Subsection 36(2) currently commits the Canadian government to the principle of equalization payments. This section should be amended to read as follows:
Parliament and the Government of Canada are commited to making equalization payments so that provincial governments have sufficient revenues to provide reasonably comparable levels of public services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation.
Subsection 36(1) should be expanded to include the territories.
Subsection 36(1) should be amended to add a commitment to ensure the reasonably comparable economic infrastructures of a national nature in each province and territory.
The Constitution should commit the federal government to meaningful consultation with the provinces before introducing legislation relating to equalization payments.
A new Subsection 36(3) should be added to entrench the commitment of governments to the promotion of regional economic development to reduce economic disparities.
Regional development is also discussed in item 36 of this document.
6. The Common Market
Section 121 of the Constitution Act, 1867 would remain unchanged.
Detailed principals and commitments related to the Canadian Common Market are included in the political accord of August 28, 1992. First Ministers will decide on the best approach to implement these principles and commitments at a First Minister's Conference on the Economy. First Ministers would have the authority to create an independent dispute resolution agency and decide on it's role, mandate and composition. (*)