Federal and Provincial Funding for Municipalities

A Response Part 1


by Harmen Boersma

Recently, the NG Times published interesting articles by Jim Bertram and Stephen Hammond on this topic. Stephen showed a list of five municipalities and the amount of transfer/grants received in 2018. North Grenville appeared to be at the bottom of the $ scale by a significant margin. “Alarm, what is going on here?” was the author’s reaction, and it will be interesting to see what else he will dig up in later articles.

Fiscal Responsibility and Fairness by Jim Bertram
Unjust, Unfair, and Exploitive on the Grand Scale – Part 1 by Stephen Hammond
Unjust, Unfair, and Exploitive on the Grand Scale – Part 2 by Stephen Hammond

What struck me most was the tone of the heading above the article. It had a triple inflammatory accusation that would make anyone’s blood pressure rise against government leaders and their decision-making power with such programs. The author seems to assume, in one broad stroke, that every jurisdiction in Canada deserves the exact same monetary handout. In its ultimate form, it would work like this: Governments collect our taxes. Then, by computer automation, distribute an equal amount per capita to all municipalities/cities. That would present a fair treatment to all. Essentially, it is the socialist way of organizing society. This system would create massive disparity across the country, even though, in theory, it seems so fair since every municipality/city receives the same per capita amount.

What are the challenges of this ‘so fair’ system? First, it assumes that only government can and should be responsible to create a fair social system. In other words, government is the heart of society. Secondly, it assumes a central system of collecting and distributing funds. Government legislates and administers justice for all citizens by providing to each political area, per capita, its measure of financial and ultimately material support. In the extreme, it could include food, clothing, vehicles, drugs, work, education, recreation, insurance, housing, road maintenance and much more. Would Canadians be comfortable to have government encroach on their lives that closely? Is it necessary to organize society in a fair and just way like that? Why does this top-down approach create so much disparity for regions? How do we get into this kind of fairness-thinking about society?

Can you understand that the tone of this article, like so many others, causes unrest and disruption in communities that eventually get expressed in political voices/parties. They become populist movements on which populist leaders ride to power. Usually, they result in disappointment and disillusion until a new wave of unrest takes over and finds new populist leaders to ride the wave to power. Finally, to stem the unrest and disruption, one leader consolidates his/her power with the backing of the army. This leader now becomes a dictator and limits all individual and institutional freedoms. To execute power, this dictator often makes excessive promises and oppresses vocal groups to demonstrate power and put fear into people to comply.

Canada has entered the early stages of this type of political developments, both at the provincial and federal jurisdictions. It is a revolutionary movement in which people show that they have lost their bearings and are pushed along on unfamiliar waves. The educational system and media are two means that feed this frenzy.

To read specifics about populist leaders and their accomplishments, check out these three recent publications: “Fascism – A Warning”, by Madelaine Albright. She reviews all Western populist leaders from the 1930’s to the present. Her Jewish upbringing and her life-long participation in American government provide a stunning story, spiced with many personal encounters with populists.

“Right Here, Right Now: Politics and Leadership in the Age of Disruption”, by Stephen J. Harper. He offers an educated account of developments in Canada against a world leader’s background. Full of enlightening personal anecdotes and experiences. Harper at his best, without media brushing.

“Building a Nation on Rock or Sand: Groen van Prinsterer for Today”, by H. Smitskamp. The author tells the story of Groen, a Dutch parliamentarian, Christian thinker and writer, who explains the roots and structures of two diverging developments in Western cultures. An eye-opening booklet.

How can federal and provincial funding be assessed with a calm and collect attitude, so their benefits can be fairly explained and administered? We can look at that in Part 2.


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