What precisely is the "vision of open federalism?"
  Niagara Falls, Ontario,
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
by: Joe Hueglin

As of March 31, 2006 the Conservative government will withdraw the federal funding of the Canadian Unity Council, an organization whose mission "is to inform and to engage all Canadians in building and strengthening Canada."(1)

Prime Minister Harper's Quebec lieutenant, Lawrence Cannon has justified this action by saying: "In our vision of open federalism, the role of the council had no place."(2)

The Canadian Unity Council's purpose was to address "stresses that sprang not so much from reforming federalism as they did from addressing a threat to the country's very integrity." (3) This threat not only remains but has been compounded with some factions in Alberta, as well as Quebec, considering secession. (4)

In addition the Council also is concerned

Lawrence Cannon
  with the ways that “globalization, the

internationalization of national economies, the growing influence of international organizations and powerful multinational corporations” erodes the sovereignty of individual states. (3)

The two mandates of the Council address national unity and Canadian sovereignty. What is this ‘vision of open federalism’ in which the Canadian Unity Council has no place?


Joe Hueglin

1. The Canadian Unity Council, The Council's Mission as seen on the web March 28, 2006

2. Angus Reid, Canadian Conservaatives Remain in First Place, March 19, 2006 ( Earlier this month, the federal government cancelled funding for the Council for Canadian Unity, a Montreal-based agency founded to promote federalism. Transport minister Lawrence Cannon explained the rationale for the decision, saying, "The council’s role doesn’t have a place in our vision of open federalism.")

3. The Canadian Unity Council ,Moving with times, as seen on the web March 28, 2006

4. Corbella, Licia, Norris ready to play hardball\ Leadership hopeful espouses separate reality for this province, March 19, 2006, Calgary Sun


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