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Harper Government’s Dictatorial Federalism Found to be Unconstitutional

Harper Government’s Dictatorial Federalism Found to be Unconstitutional

Posted on December 23, 2011

Liberal Finance critic Scott Brison made the following statement today with respect to the opinion of the Supreme Court in the proposed Securities Act reference:

“The Supreme Court today justified the Liberal Party’s longstanding insistence that the Conservatives’ proposed Securities Act be reviewed on constitutional grounds. The Court’s opinion stands in sharp contrast to the Harper Government’s dictatorial approach to federalism, and leaves no question that the only path forward is one of cooperation with the provinces and territories.

With this matter, as with healthcare, democratic reform and justice issues, the Government’s preferred model was one of top down dictation rather than negotiation, consultation and cooperation. The Court makes clear that such unilateral action by the federal government would be unconstitutional but that a cooperative approach remains available. Today’s opinion leaves the Conservatives no option – if they are to respect the rule of the law, they must convene a First Ministers Meeting on this matter.

The Liberal Party continues to believe that the best approach to securities regulation is one that protects investors, promotes capital market efficiency and ensures that the unique expertise of every region of Canada is respected and maintained.

It is also unfortunate that the Conservatives spent $27 million on a national securities commission transition office before waiting to hear the Supreme Court’s opinion. Had they listened to the Liberal Party, taxpayers would not have borne those costs.”

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