Monday, April 30, 2012

Marijuana Legalization Talking Points

A call to legalize marijuana will be met with a series of predictable responses. Here is how the Liberals should respond to each.

Potent Pot

Potent pot is more myth than reality.

However, even if one assumes that potent pot is a reality it is certainly nothing to be concerned about. Indeed, saying that potent pot is reason for keeping marijuana illegal is akin to saying that alcohol should be banned because gin has higher alcohol content than beer. It makes no sense. The pharmacological affects of consuming 1 "chemically supercharged" joint, as various US attorneys like to say, versus x number of "dad's joints" would be no different if the amount of THC consumed is the same. As for consumption, just as people do not drink the same volume of gin as beer, the higher the THC level in pot the less people consume. Hence, ironically more potent pot may be a welcome development. After all, one of the most prominent health effect related to marijuana, if not the most, is that it is usually smoked. The more potent the pot, the less people have to smoke to achieve the same high. Lester Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School concurs, so does Mitch Earleywine of the University of Southern California and so does UCLA's Mark Kleiman.

That said, if potency is the concern, then it should be legalized. After all, the only way to regulate the potency of pot is to legalize it.

Finally, the attempt to scare parents that have grown up on marijuana by distinguishing between potent pot and “your dad's marijuana” is too clever by half. After all, it begs the following question. If today's marijuana is truly different in kind from "dads marijuana", would it be ok to legalize "dad's marijuana", i.e., low potency pot?

Talking Points

1) Saying that potent pot is reason for keeping marijuana illegal is akin to saying that alcohol should be banned because gin has higher alcohol content than beer. It makes no sense.

2) If today's marijuana is truly different in kind from "dads marijuana", would it be ok to legalize "dad's marijuana", i.e., low potency pot?

Gateway Drug

Researchers have rightly noted that people who have try marijuana are statistically more likely try other illicit drugs. This gave raise to the theory that there was something about marijuana that encouraged drug experimentation. Marijuana, it was alleged, is a gateway drug. This, in turn, was given as one more reason to keep the drug illegal. However, the gateway drug theory has until recently fallen on hard times for lack of an intelligible mechanism. The problem was that there was no coherent explanation for why marijuana would lead people to experiment with other drugs. Without this explanation doubt was cast relationship being more than mere correlation. That said, in recent years researchers have breathed new life into the theory, albeit with a sociological twist. According to the new version, it is not marijuana's pharmacological properties that serve as a gateway, but rather marijuana's illegal status. Specifically in the process of illegally procuring marijuana, users are introduced to the criminal elements with access to other illicit drugs and hence it is the forged blackmarket relationship between dealer and buyer that serves as gateway.

In this context it should be noted that when the Dutch partially legalized the sale of marijuana, heroin and cocaine use went down despite an initial increase in marijuana use. Dutch use of hard drugs remains well below the European average.

Talking Point

Every time someone goes to buy marijuana they come into contact with criminal elements with access to other hard drugs. This is your gateway. When Holland decriminalized consumption and made it available in coffee shops, heroin and cocaine use went down.

Schizophrenia and Marijuana

Epidemiological studies have consistently failed to show any kind of positive correlation between marijuana use and schizophrenia. Despite a massive increase in the number of Australians consuming the drug since the 1960s, Wayne Hall of the University of Queensland found no increase in the number of cases of schizophrenia in Australia. Mitch Earleywine of the University of Southern California similarly found the same with regard to the US population and Oxford's Leslie Iversen found the same regard to the population in the UK. According to Columbia's Alan Brown, "If anything, the studies seem to show a possible decline in schizophrenia from the '40s and the ‘ 50,"

Talking Point

There has been an astronomical increase in the number of pot smokers since the 1950s and no increase in the rate of schizophrenia whatsoever.

The gangs will simply move on to other drugs

The market for marijuana positively dwarfs the market for all other drugs combined and marijuana is far and away gangs' biggest money maker. The notion that the gangs would simply shift focus and thereby maintain the same levels of profitability is absurd. Comparable demand for other kinds of drugs is simply not there. Moreover, such an argument rests upon a mistaken assumption. Namely, it assumes that the sure size and scope of the marijuana industry is limiting the distribution of other kinds of drugs. The reverse is true. Marijuana profits and sometimes even marijuana itself are providing the seed capital the gangs need to diversify operations (e.g., cocaine, heroin, human trafficking and guns) and to expand those other operations. This is one of the main reasons why we need to nip this in the bud.

Talking Point

It is not like the gangs have access to capital markets. Marijuana profits and sometimes even marijuana itself are providing the seed capital the gangs need to diversify operations (e.g., cocaine, heroin, human trafficking and guns) and to expand those other operations. This is one of the main reasons why we need to nip this, pardon the pun, in the bud.

The Black Market will live on

It is one thing to illegally sell a legally produced product and make a profit, e.g., black market cigarettes. It is quite another thing to illegally produce and sell a product (e.g., moonshine) in market where there is legal competitors. The reason is simple. The illegality of the product means that your production and distribution costs are significantly higher. Also demand for your product is always going to be less. People want to know what they buying and consuming. So when given the choice of buying an illegally produced product versus a legally produced product they are going to go with the later. (There is one notable exception and that is when an illegally produced product is successfully passed off as a legal one, e.g., fake brand name goods). That is why no matter how much Canadians drank during the time of American prohibition, I am sure that it never crossed the RCMP’s mind that American moonshine might become a competitor of Molson’s.

Talking point

Molson executives do not worry about moonshine eating into market share. Demand for illegal products is not what it is for legal ones.

The US will Never Let it happen

Canadians understand that the US, despite prohibition's crumbling foundation there, would not be pleased about legalization. As such, Harper's musings about legalizing marijuana causing trouble at the border seem reasonable enough. The problem is this does not make marijuana prohibition any more legitimate. Indeed, it is one thing to remain silent, for example, on American foreign policy for fear of damaging trade relations; it is quite another to send someone to jail for violating a law Canadians no longer think just in order to placate the US. Any perception that Canada is enforcing laws to met with illegitimate demands of a bullying third party, whoever that may be, is simply poisonous to the health of a functioning democracy.

Talking Points

1) We do not pass laws or keep others in place in order placate foreign governments. This goes especially for laws that would result in Canadians languishing in jail.

2) The US introduced Prohibition in 1919. Are you saying that Canada was wrong not to follow suit? Well then ..

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Appeals to Strategic voting work when there are rats on a Sinking Ship

Brain Topp
For many years, Liberals have been eager advocates of “strategic voting” – the idea that it makes sense to vote for a party you don't support in order to avoid the election of a party your don't support even more.

A pitch to this effect has been part of the closing argument of every federal Liberal campaign since at least 1993. That might be true. However, there is little evidence that strategic voting played a role in 1997, 2000, and 2008 elections. 1993 and 2011 are a different matter. As the PC vote began to collapse in 1993, many traditional PC voters went in search of a new home and no doubt strategic considerations, certainly region ones, played a role for many. In Western Canada most followed the lead of the NDP voters, who had migrated over to the Reform party prior to the writ being dropped. (The NDP vote collapsed before the PC vote did in 1993. The PCs were tied with Libs going into the 1993 election. That was in marked constrast to the NDP. Going into the 1993 election the NDP were at 8% in the polls. They finished with 7% of the vote. In other words, the notion that NDP voters moved over to the Libs to block the Reform party is not there in 1993. As for 1997 and 2000, the regional makeup of Canadian politics, the unpopularlity of NDP governments in Ontario and BC and NDP support for the Charlottetown accord explain why the NDP vote did not return to normal until 2004. Strategic voting had nothing to do with it.) However, a sizable chunk of PC voters in Western Canada moved over to the Liberals. Most PC voters migrated to the Reform party in Ontario and in the Maritimes the PC vote moved over to the Liberals in NFLD and PEI and to the Reform party to lesser extent in NS and NB. Finally, in Quebec the PC vote moved over the Bloc.

Something similar happened in Ontario in 2011. As the NDP began to surge in Quebec, the Liberal vote in and around Toronto collapsed. Suburban Liberal voters moved in droves to the Conservatives and urban Liberal voters moved in droves to the NDP.

As for the 2004 election, two important things happened. One Ontario voters returned to the NDP after an 11 year hiatus. Between 1965 and 1993 the NDP vote in Ontario never diped below 19% and never topped 22%. The party's share of the vote was very predictable. However in 1993 the NDP took only 6% of the the vote and their share of the vote stayed low for the next two elections. They took 10% in 1997 and 8% in 2000. Then in 2004 they went up to 18%. They took 19.5 in 2006 and 18% in 2008. Something similar happened in BC. Two, the Conservative party vote in 2004 was 6 points lower than the combined PC and Reform vote in each of the three subsequent elections and 7 points lower than than PC vote share in 1988 and 1984 election. In 2006 the conservative vote returned to a historically normal level.

In sum, voters think about voting strategically, but as a rule thumb only when their preferred party's election fortunes collapse mid election. The party's core will go down with the ship, but a sizable number of other supporters, like rats on a sinking ship, will seek refuge with other parties.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Walkom: Ottawa’s low-wage immigration policy threatens turmoil

The Toronto Star's Thomas Walkom is one of Canada's best columnists. He is well informed, provides some good arguments and above all else tackles issues the rest of the media ignores. In yesterday's column he tackled something that has long irked me, viz., the huge numbers of temporary foreign workers that the Conservatives have allowed in. This is an issue the Liberals and NDP should be all over.

There is an implicit bargain in Canada regarding immigration. Canadians agree to welcome newcomers. In return, the government agrees not to use immigrants to drive down the wages of those already living here..

While never formally acknowledged, it’s a bargain that’s been in place since at least World War II, one that has prevented the kind of anti-immigrant agitation now roiling Europe..

And it is a bargain that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are deliberately setting out to break..

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley made the break specific this week when she announced that Ottawa will now let employers pay temporary foreign workers less than Canadians..

The Conservatives talk a good game on immigration. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney speaks of rationalizing the complex system used to decide who comes to Canada and of bringing it in line with what he calls the needs of the economy..

In last month’s federal budget, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said employers would have to make every effort to hire unemployed Canadians before they’d be allowed to bring in temporary foreign workers..

But in reality, the federal Conservative government’s entire immigration policy is geared to just one goal: lowering wages. ...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Mike Gillis did a Terrible job in 2011-12: He should be Fired

First some back ground. The season before Gillis had sent a a first round pick, Steve Bernier and Michael Grabner to Flordia for Keith Ballard, a player whose salary the Panthers were desperate to shed. The move left the Canucks with no cap space to sign Ehrhoff. Ehrhoff left for Buffalo in the off season. To pacify the faithful Gillis signed a washed up Marco Strum. In order to make room for Strum, Torres was not resigned.

To the surprise of no one, save Gillis, the Strum signing did not pan out. So Gillis traded Samuelsson and Strum to Florida for David Booth, a player whose salary the Panthers were desperate to shed. If you are sensing a trend, you are not alone. Go to and hit Panthers. This will allow you to see what players the Panthers might want to trade for salary cap reasons. They are sure to be on the Canucks wish list. Anyway, Samulesson finished with more points in fewer games than Booth. Booth meanwhile proved to be better at slowing down Kesler than any opposing center.

To the surprise of everyone Gillis traded Hodgson and Sulzer for guy with 7 NHL career points and a career minor league D man who was a healthy scratch for last 6 games in Buffalo. Gillis amazingly claimed that Kassian would give the Canucks back the toughness they lost when Torres signed with Phoenix and in so doing put the Canucks over the top. Gillis had equally high hopes for Steve Bernier a few years back and Kassian is dead ringer for Bernier. So it appears that the old Marxian maximum applies to hockey. Misguided trades for power forwards occur "so to speak, twice. ... the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce." Kassian finished with 3 points in 17 games with the Canucks and Gragnani added 3 in 14. After being benched in 3rd period of both game 3 and game 4 of the playoffs, Kassian was not dressed for game 5. He went pointless in the 4 games he played. Meanwhile Gragnani never saw the ice. Hodgson added 8 points in 20 games for Sabres and Sulzer 8 in 15.

The season is now over and the Canucks biggest decision is what to do with Robert Luongo. There are enough teams in the market for a good goalie and Luongo is still that. However, the rub is this. Gillis signed him to a ridiculous long term contract with a no trade clause. So the Canucks will have their work cut out.

Now, I do not know about you, but I think it would be a bad idea to let the man who traded for Ballard rather than resigning Ehrhoff, who signed Strum instead of resigning Torres and who traded Hodgson for Steve Bernier's doppelganger try to peddle an albatross of a contract that he signed. Gillis should be Fired.

By the way, this is how the numbers breakdown

Torres 15 goals 11 helpers

Grabner 20 goals 12 helpers

Hodgson 19 goals 22 helpers

Samulesson 14 goals 18 helpers

Sulzer 3 goals and 6 helprs

Ehrhoff 5 goals 27 helpers

David Booth 16 goals and 14 helpers and 4.25 million a season for another 3 years

Ballard 1 goal 6 helpers and 4.2 million for another 3 years

Kassian 4 goals 6 helpers

Gragnani 2 goals and 13 helpers

Luongo (age 33) 10 more years at a cap hit of $5.33 million

Saturday, April 21, 2012

LEGALIZATION and DECRIMINALIZATION are different: The Liberals can not afford to Confuse the two

The Liberals passed a motion back in January that said marijuana should be LEGALIZED. Rae stated that he did not support the motion -- but accepts it. Not much more has been said since.

Enter Hedy Fry. She means well and I have no doubt that she supported the motion. However, she would not be my spokesperson of choice. Throughout the segment she used legalization and decriminalization interchangeably. There is a world of difference between the two. It is unforgivably sloppy to for any Liberal to confuse the two at this point in time. The Liberals support LEGALIZATION. The NDP supports DECRIMINALIZATION of possession. Get it right.

Two more points. One, keep the subject on marijuana and marijuana alone. Insite has nothing to do with wanting to legalize marijuana. Two, the Liberals need to change tactics. It is not enough to simply reference studies. The Liberals have to draw some conclusions and make arguments of their own. After all, take any subject you please; if there is a significant body of research about it, then it is stupidly easy to dig up dissenting opinion. It is asking way too much of your average to Canadian to have them dig up all the relevant body of work so that they can judge whether there is any consensus amongst the learned. They neither have the time or inclination.

The opponents of legalization have trotted out same lame arguments for years. Stomp on them. Do not leave it the experts to do so. The Liberals are entirely capable of makings such arguments and the public is entirely capable of understanding them. Liberals let me get you started. Here are some nice short sound bites.

Potent Point

1) Saying that potent pot is reason for keeping marijuana illegal is akin to saying that alcohol should be banned because gin has higher alcohol content than beer. It makes no sense.

2) If today's marijuana is truly different in kind from "dads marijuana", would it be ok to legalize "dad's marijuana", i.e., low potency pot?


There is no causation without correlation. There has been an astronomical increase in the number of pot smokers since the 1950s and no increase in the rate of schizophrenia whatsoever.

Gateway drug

Every time someone goes to buy marijuana they come into contact with criminal elements with access to other hard drugs. This is your gateway. When Holland legalized consumption and made it available in stores, heroin and cocaine use went down.

Mulcair and Marijuana

Steve V has a good post on how Muclair's call for a Royal Commission on marijuana is so 1969 and really only a thinly veiled attempt to push the issue out of the political spotlight. I should add that a call for such a commission is also extermely dishonest. He is calling for the wrong kind of commission. The years of debating the dangers of marijuana consumption both real and imagined have long since passed. The question before us now is how to go about legalizing it.

After all, it is not a matter of if marijuana will be legalized but when. I am betting that it will happen sooner rather than later. In a few short years, Latin America has gone from having former politicians musing about legalization to sitting presidents all but putting it onto the political agenda. Calderon is about to loose the Mexican election because of his hard line stance. This is turning out to be the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. In Latin America not only is the war on drugs a disaster from a policy viewpoint it is looking like it is becoming a political loser and politicians throughout the region are taking notice.

At the summit of Americas recently, Latin American leaders all but told Obama -- and Harper -- that the situation is so dire that years of the US being able to force Latin America into line through carrot and stick is rapidly coming to end. Their firm tone explains Harper's remarkable -- albeit momentary -- climbdown. "I think what everybody believes and agrees with, and to be frank myself, is that the current approach is not working, but it is not clear what we should do.”

In North America, a prohibitionist stance, is, of course, still a viable political stance. However, the legal legitimacy of those laws is rapidly being called into question in Canada. This is especially so in BC where the entire political establishment is quickly getting on board with legalization. Stateside, the success a referendum question coupled with the mushrooming industry connected to "medical" marijuana is sure to spell an end to prohibitionist era in the States.

However things rap up, the position of the NDP and Conservatives, insure that Canada will be woefully unprepared when it does happen.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Liberals at Death's Door

Prior to the 2008 election, the Liberal party was relatively competitive in every Western riding outside of Alberta. That began to change in 2008. Now, the Liberal party is completely irrelevant in great swaths of all four western provinces. (see examples below) What is true of the West is also true of Quebec. Where Quebec differs is that the phenomena first appeared in 2006. By 2011 the trend was so pronounced that the Liberal party is now completely irrelevant in most ridings outside of Montreal. Given current trends, we should start seeing the same phenomena appear in a large number of Ontario seats. The Liberal party is all is but dead. So, the question facing Liberals now is this. What path should the party take. These are the options.

1) Allow itself to swallowed by the NDP

2) Go out with a whimper in 2015

3) Justify its existence to a country all too ready to divide into two political camps by radically differentiating itself from both the NDP and Conservatives.

If three, I suggest that Bob Rae is not the man for the job. With the NDP headed right on economic and environmental issues there will simply be enough not space separating the NDP and Liberals. You will have a former provincial Liberal leading the Federal NDP and former provincial NDP premier leading the Federal Liberal party. To make matters worse, Charlottetown Bob is just as willing as Thomas Mulcair is to play footsies with Quebec nationalists.

Even the posture the Liberals are striking with Bob Rae is all wrong for the task ahead. The Liberals are still trying to be all things to all people and so end up being nothing everyone. They are still trying to be "centrist". Yes Rae can be cutting and quick witted and yes the Liberals claim to be the party of science, fact and evidence. However, the party continues to confuse compromise with nuance and being opinionated with being ideological. As for Rae, he wants to be liked. He is in no way an iconoclast the way Pierre Trudeau was and an iconoclast is exactly what the Liberals need right now.


Pitt Meadows Maple Ridge Mission

2006 20.25%

2008 6.63%

2011 5.17%


2006 25.22%

2008 9.84 %

2011 5.33%


2006 24.07%

2008 10.54%

2011 5.06%



2006 20.20%

2008 17.10%

2011 5.33%


2006 19.38%

2008 7.99%

2011 3.46%


2006 23.05%

2008 10.35%

2011 4.71%



2006 33.47%

2008 8.14%

2011 8.21%


2006 18.00%

2008 8.27%

2011 5.36%


2006 15.84%

2008 12.57%

2011 6.71%



2004 43. 43%

2006 29.19%

2008 13.45%

2011 5.60%


2004 29.12%

2006 2.96%

2008 5.15%

2011 1.98%


2004 30. 98%

2006 13.81%

2008 20.73%

2011 5.91%

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Matt Gurney Dead Wrong about the Marc Emery Case

Matt Gurney is a pretty good columnist, but he simply wrong about the Marc Emery case.

Matt Gurney says that if you openly flaunt a controversial law expect the law to come crashing down. Thankfully this is not always the case. The police will not be arresting the tens of thousands of people smoking up for 4:20 tomorrow. Allowing for people to flaunt particular laws, if only temporally, is part of what it means to live in free society.

That being said, the problem with Marc Emery was not that the law came down on him when it should not have. It was that for 7 long years the police refused to arrest Marc Emery for repeatedly flaunting Canadian law and then all of sudden arrested him on behest of the American government to face charges. Now, under the terms of the extradition treaty, one can not be extradited if one is facing the same charge in one’s country of residence and one was arrested there. So, a BC marijuana activist tried to save Emery from being sent to the States by asking the crown to at long last charge Emery under Canadian law. His efforts were unsuccessful. Despite a mountain of evidence against him, Canadian authorities were unwilling to charge Emery under Canadian law. So, Emery is serving 5 years for a crime he was fined $200 for in Canada and which for 7 years was not been applied.

Time to Bring an End to Equity

"Liberal Party to face up to the fact that neo-liberalism was an abject failure." Agreed. However, the party's left flank needs to shoulder much of the blame. In the face of Martin's cost cutting, they were far too willing given up the principle of universality for the sake of means tested social programs and are still very much of that mindset. By turning every social program on offer into a form of welfare, the ability of the Liberals to offer anything other than tax cuts during elections is very limited. Means tested social programs do not win elections; the populace is not going to get excited about paying for a service that only a small percentage of the public can use. On the flip side of things, the public does not get exercised about cutting back on the services only a small percentage of the public can use. That said, even on the tax cutting front the Liberals have failed to understand why a cut to a universal consumption tax might prove more popular targeted income tax cuts.

Of course, a turn to means tested social programs to the exclusion of universal ones was part of larger trend within liberalism itself away from universal to the particular. The Liberals have increasing focused increasingly on affirmative action policies under the rubric of equity. This has proved to be a disaster for the working class. Equity sows division within Canadian society and is an anachronism given Canada's rapidly changing demographic profile. The last 6 words from the following criminal code sub clause are a great case in point. "All available sanctions other than imprisonment that are reasonable in the circumstances should be considered, with particular attention for aboriginal offenders." They formed the center piece of the wildly unpopular Gladue decision. Also, as it does nothing to address underlying causes of inequality, equity does little to advance equality. It only nibbles around the edges. A National daycare care system, for example, would do far more in a year for women's wage equality than 25 years of the Employment Equity Act has. The former addresses the underlying causes of the wage gap. The later hurts the cause of young white males because 50 something white males earn more than than their 50 something female colleges and it destroys the liberal ideal of a government built around merit. Hiring the "best" person for the job is a far cry from using the government as a counterpoint to perceived or actual deficiencies in the private sector employment. Worst of all, the focus on equity has meant that instead of trying to move the case of all workers forward, something that is desperately needed, liberals and progressives of all stripes have instead devoted virtually all their energies to shuffling the deck. Calls for a bigger share of the pie has been abandoned for sake of each of the ever smaller pieces having an equal amount of fruit.

Finally, the notion that the state should again adopt a paternalistic pose with regard to certain groups after a century of progressives seeking to reveal the oppressive nature of state sanctioned paternalism is indeed ironic. Residential schools and separate but equal may be part of an inglorious past, but "Afro-centric" schools are what is needed.

The center is not what the Liberals think it to be

The center of Canadian politics is not so much a place as a pose. How something is said is often more important than the substance of what is said. What the Liberals have failed realize is it also matters who is saying it. Striking the right pose is not enough. How centrist a party is deemed depends in no small measure on the party's chances of electoral success. In other words, the center often turns out to be no more than who is at the center of Canadian politics. The fact that millions more Canadians than ever before voted NDP confirmed for Canadians that the NDP has moved to the center. As with the Reform party after 1993, in the beginning the deed. Defined as such the Liberals have no hope of occupying the center. The party is no longer at the center of Canadian politics; the NDP and Conservatives occupy that spot.

So what do the Liberals to do? For starters the Liberals must accept just how dire their situation. Namely, the party will be lucky to survive the next election yet alone win it. Thomas Mulcair poses an existential threat to the party. Mulcair will hold onto Quebec and in so doing will recreate the same conditions that saw the Liberals wiped out in Ontario in 2011. With no prospect of the Liberals winning anything out West or in Quebec, suburban Toronto will again break for the Tories, and urban Toronto for the NDP. Only this time the situation will be worse. The same thing could happen in Montreal and into the Maritimes. If the 2011 election proved anything, it was that the Canadian population feels no loyalty to the "natural governing party" whatsoever.

The only chance the Liberals have avoiding the fate of the Progressive Conservative party is not as Andrew Coyne has said being "more Conservative than the Conservatives on some issues, more NDP than the NDP on others." No, the party must aim to blow up the status quo. It must strike a revolutionary pose and not a "centrist" one. The party must seek out confrontation not consensus. Let the bleeding hearts bleed. It should no longer concern itself with what is politically possible, constitutionally possible or what the Americans might say. Let the chips fall where they may. Sacred cows need to be slayed. Only then will the party stand the chance of attracting enough loyal followers to fight further elections.

Needless to say, Charlottetown Bob is not the man for the job.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Constitution Act of 1982 bad for Canada worse for the Liberal Party

Save section 25 and few subsections, we are better off for having the Charter. However, the Charter's benefits have been vastly overstated and pale in comparison to the damage done by the rest of the Constitution Act. Section 35 comes first to mind, but the damage does not stop there. For all his talk of a strong central government, Trudeau did far more to weaken its powers than any other prime minister. Most notably, the Act gave over to the provinces complete control over natural resources. One reason he has escaped criticism on this score is that Meech Lake and Charlottetown were several magnitudes worse and Trudeau came out solidly against both. (It is hard to fathom the provinces collecting less royalties. This is especially so, as report after report has pointed out, of the oil industry. Canada produces 3.3 million barrels of crude a day, most of it in Alberta. Norway produces 2.8 million a day. The Norwegians started a sovereign wealth fund in 1990 that was valued at $600 billion last year. Meanwhile, Albertans are divided over weather a $300 stipend to each Albertan is too lucrative.)

Of course, however bad the Constitution Act has been for the country it has been even worse for the Liberal party. A provincial government headed by René Lévesque and dedicated to the break up of the country was never going to negotiate in good in faith to secure Quebec's place within Canada. Yet Trudeau decided to plow ahead anyway. In a stroke Trudeau dealt his party a blow they have never truly recovered from. The reason the Liberal party came to be known as the natural governing party of Canada was because of the party's dominance in Quebec. The Kitchen Accord brought an end to that dominance. Until now the magnitude of that injury has been masked by what happened in the wake of the failure of Mulroney's unfathomably stupid Charlottetown Accord. The death of its historic foe made the Liberals appear far more vigorous than they actually were. If the 2015 election proves to be the Liberal party's swan song, no post mortem will be complete without the authors of such a document spending a long time in the Kitchen.