Friday, June 8, 2007

Creeping Federalism and the Power of the Schwartz

Students of Canadian politics are well-acquainted with the debate over whether federalism leads to healthy competition between provinces, or unfortunate races-to-the-bottom. From an environmental perspective, developments in recent months suggest that some provinces and US states are actually racing-to-the-top when it comes to combating climate change. The 'power of the Schwartz' is perhaps the best evidence of this trend. When Canadian premiers are not clamouring for photo-ops with the California governor, they're racing to sign onto his new environmental accords. His most recent agreement -- to cut gasoline and diesel greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent by 2020 -- already has two Canadian signatories (BC and Ontario), with Doer, Charest, and nine Northeastern US Governors already gripping their pens. Good news for the environment, according to most.

The effect of this creeping federalism on the non-signatories remains to be seen. An article in today's Winnipeg Free Press suggests that these new emissions standards may serve as a "wake-up call" to oil-producing provinces like Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, all of whom may find difficulty in selling "unclean" fuel to a growing number of North American markets.

From a purely environmental perspective, it appears that competitive federalism has some merit.

1 comment:

Aeneas the Younger said...

Kind Sir:

You have a serious error on your blog. Charles Taylor of McGill was no Tory. Never. He was a social-democrat.

The well-known and deceased Charles Taylor (journalist) and author of "Radical Tories" was a Red Tory.

Same Name. Same Nationality. Different men.