The face of classical federalism

You may have noticed the term, "classical federalism" starting to spark up serious mouth-flappin' among the chattering classes. Us coyotes have sensitive sharp schnozzes, and their collective, wonkish halitosis has certainly caught our reluctant attention. Our reluctant peevish attention. It's cold out, dammit! Can't a doggy wrap his fuzzy-ass tail around his sensitive sharp schnozz, doze, and ignore them jerks 'til spring? I digress. Shocking, I know.

Anyway, prime ministerial academic mentor/frenemy/apologist-in-chief Tom Flannagan started shilling it hard again a couple of days ago. There's pushback from other wonks, but it likely won't scuff, let alone dent, the near-fatal lack of self-doubt that afflicts the minds of just about everybody from the Calgary School of political thought.

What Flannagan likes, the PM likes. And neither of 'em really very much seems to like Canada as it stands. Both of 'em really want to fix that li'l problem, so that they - and few others - will finally be able to stand the place.

You know. Turn off the taps for stuff they don't like: standardized national health care, all of that wimpy-ass social advocacy crap, cooperative domestic policy, informed foreign policy, peacekeeping, any actual research that debunks their long-held fantasies of what is Right and Proper.

And turn 'em on for the stuff over which current ReformaTories do become highly-aroused: inappropriate (read: big-ass, yet unsuited to Canadian needs) new fighter jets that deliver far less than promised; legislation demanding a "more robust" (read: big-ass) penitentiary system conveniently not paid for by the feds; a "more robust" (read: big-ass) military that can be sent against anybody of the PM disapproves, based, apparently on his dyspeptic gut feeling; pumped-up military jingoism swathed in drag as popular culture, anon anon anon.

Things, in other words, that drive a federation in a far less cooperative, more mean-spirited direction. In the Canadian context, this type of federalism is not so much "classical" as "radical".* But spray-painting it "classical", lends it a thin, flakey, spurious coat of historical precedent - an attempt to pickpocket a little gravitas, highly, deceptively convenient to those who shill it. Much like a low-buck quickie paint job, meant to blind one to the deep mechanical faults of a seriously crappy automobile being curbsided by an ummm, slightly less than ethical used-car hawker.

Go figure.

* Unlike certain natural resources ministers, we're far too classy to allege without solid evidence that they are, in fact, foreign-funded. But they sure seem un-Canadian to us... heh.

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