Ontario's New Role in the CAnadian Federation

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What are the implications to the Canadian federation as Ontario's relationship with it continues to change? It is difficult to argue that Ontario remains the same, and has the same political goals and aspirations as it has historically. And in light of a newer and more ambitious province, some may even belief radical changes such as greater decentralization, provincial coordination, and a larger, more important role for Ontario is soon to come. But despite speculation, and the general consensus that Ontario is entering a new era of political dominance, it remains that in all likelihood, the only change that will occur will be that of a richer and greedier Ontario.

Courchene and Telmer examine the changing relationship between Ontario and the federal government and point out various fiscal trends and tendencies by Ottawa that discriminate against Ontario which leads them to believe that certain changes to Canadian federalism are inevitable.

Their argument can be breakdown as follows. They state that the federal government have implemented fiscal policies that have discriminated against Ontario due to Ottawa's overt concerns for regional accommodations thereby tainting the understanding that the federal government is a neutral entity (Courchene and Telmer, 1998: 259). Therefore Ontario's frustration with the federal government accumulated, and in combination with Ontario's growing economic needs, a new trend towards greater powers for the provinces emerged which Ontario began to actively pursue and support (i.e. National Securities Commission, proposal of ACCESS model) (Courchene and Telmer, 1998: 261, 262, 265). And with a stronger politically and economically independent Ontario on the horizon, Courchene and Telmer suggest that the future would seem to point in the direction that the Canadian federation will become revitalized, and that greater provincial co-ordination and decentralization is a certainty (Courchene and Telmer: 1998: 259, 261).

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