In Quebec’s nationalist circles, the name Trudeau is automatically associated with a domineering federal government bent on centralizing the federation at the expense of the province’s autonomy.
That perception colours every policy interaction between the two levels of governments.
But it was Stephen Harper who most aggressively sought to replace the provinces’ securities commissions with a national one and who sought to go around the premiers to unilaterally make the Senate an elected house.
It was the previous Conservative government that would rather destroy the Quebec data of the defunct federal long gun registry than transfer it to the province so that it could use it to create a system of its own.
Trudeau and his ministers have just spent the spring hammering the message that the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline between Alberta and the B.C. coast is in the national interest. The federal government will defend its constitutional prerogative to see such infrastructure projects through — even in the face of the opposition of a given provincial government — in court.
But before concluding that this is a prime example of the Liberal way of doing business with the provinces, ask yourself whether Harper, were he still prime minister, would have been any less inclined to use all the powers at his disposal to get more pipelines built than Trudeau has in the case of the Trans Mountain expansion?
Full column: The Star.com