Don’t touch my skills!

I hear many people say that they are fed up with disputes over skills.

“It doesn’t matter who is in charge of the service, let our governments give it to us and stop bickering!” »

Suffice to say that they are fed up with Canada, or more precisely with federations. Because if there is a constant in the history of this type of political system, it is the tension around who does what, who finances what.

But being fed up is a bad adviser. Because more and more, we are putting pressure so that it is Quebec that throws ballast, that gives in. “Come on, Mr. Dubé, give the federal government information on health. He just wants to improve performance! »

Next step: Ottawa will want to manage. Even if he has enough to do elsewhere… and is far from being a model of management; think of the passport fiasco, the broken immigration and refugee systems, the questionable border management, etc.


In September 2021, the head of QS Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois had candidly formulated a new doctrine: “Me, there, playing “does not affect my competence” with Ottawa, honestly, that does not interest me that much. Yet an admirer of the state, of public intervention in the economy and society, a new left is not moved by the weakening of the Quebec state that would be provoked by quiet capitulation, in the face of the invasion areas of federal jurisdiction.

What does this left suggest? Ottawa “wants to do good”: improve health, a dental insurance program, etc. In the orange glasses, to resist these marvels, in the name of respect for skills, would be to give in to an unhealthy nationalism, to an autonomism exuding Duplessis.

However, it is indeed a nationalism, that of English Canada, which pushes the federal governments to use the unlimited power to spend in order to interfere in all spheres, even those that the Constitution does not entrust to it.

Inoperative laws

I often come back to this observation: three decades of constitutional taboo have created a lot of misunderstanding about the principles of federalism.

In English Canada, many have denounced the will of the new Prime Minister Danielle Smith to render inoperative the federal laws which seem to violate the jurisdictions of her province. It would be, we have read, a break with the principles of federalism.

Smith’s rants are open to criticism, of course. But laws that render inoperative those from the other level, it works the other way around. Without creating an uproar. On the contrary, it is supported by the courts (appointed by whom?).

For example, after certain judgments at the turn of the 2010s, federal jurisdiction over aeronautics was declared absolute. Consequence: wild aerodromes have grown everywhere (in Neuville, for example), in defiance of Quebec laws on land use planning and municipal regulations. In the big ports, even federal contempt for the laws of Quebec and its municipalities.

To lose a skill is to lose, for the Quebec nation, an ability to decide in a field.


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