Fraser Institute Senior Fellows Preston Manning and
Mike Harris today unveiled a series of proposals to fundamentally
rebalance Confederation to rebuild Canada as the nation with the
highest quality of life and standard of living in the world.
In a document entitled, "A Canada Strong and Free
," they call for eliminating the federal role in health care provision and granting the provinces equivalent tax room. They
also call for a shift of $300 billion in national income (up to
$80 billion annually) from the hands of politicians and
government into the hands of citizens and businesses.
"Canadians today pay some of the highest taxes in the G7 and yet
receive less in government services than ever before. Our health
care system costs more money every year, but our international
ranking in terms of health care is suffering. Canadians feel
jaded and isolated from the political process," said Harris in
launching the document. "It doesn't have to be this way. We hope
A Canada Strong and Free will sound the alarm, infuse new ideas
into the national debate, and set us on track for a comeback."
"We believe that Canada needs to be 'rebalanced' - that a new
balance needs to be struck, not only between freedom of choice
and acceptance of responsibility in Canada, but between the
incomes and responsibilities of the public and private sectors,
between the roles of the various levels of governments, and
between Canada's rhetoric and actions on the international
stage," added Manning.
"There's no doubt in my mind that Canadians from coast to coast,
including Quebecers, will find Harris and Manning's proposals
both relevant and timely. We hope that our political leaders will
give the work of these two experienced leaders due
consideration," remarked Michel Kelly-Gagnon, President of the
Montreal Economic Institute, which co-published the document.
Specifically, the proposals call for:
Critical Surgery for Health Care:
Canada is currently under-performing virtually all industrialized
nations offering universal health coverage. Harris and Manning
propose eliminating the federal role in health care management
and financing, strengthening health care financing by granting
the provinces the tax room vacated by the federal government,
eliminating barriers to private delivery and financing of health
services, giving Canadians freedom to choose their health care
providers and giving those providers the freedom and incentive to
pursue the best health systems for Canadians.
More Wealth in the Hands of Canadians:
Canada's productivity and standard of living is in decline
relative to many other industrialized countries. Harris and
Manning propose a shift of $300 billion in national income over
the next six years (up to $80 billion annually) from the hands of
politicians and bureaucrats into the hands of citizens and
businesses. This shift - aimed at increasing the incomes and
opportunities of Canadians - is to be achieved through
constraining growth in total government spending to 3.1 percent
per year and passing the tax savings on to Canadians.
Strengthening Democratic Governance:
Harris and Manning contend that smaller governments, closer to
the people they serve, can be held more democratically
accountable than large, distant, and centralized governments.
While supporting institutional and electoral system reform, they
insist that such measures will succeed in reducing Canada's
democratic deficit only if the size of government itself is
constrained and the functions of government are decentralized and
localized as much as possible.
Trade and Security from a Canada -US Customs Agreement.
After examining the decline in Canada's international influence
and relationship with the United States, Harris and Manning
propose advancing Canada's interests in continental trade and
security via a new Customs Agreement with the US. They propose
the creation of a common tariff and quota system, elimination of
rules of origin, mutual administration of common tariffs and
trade regulations, and mutual acceptance of responsibilities for
A Canada Strong and Free
is published by the Fraser Institute, in cooperation with the
Montreal Economic Institute.