Brian Lee Crowley

The bidding war explained

One of the central features of the argument of Fearful Symmetry is that the entry of a vast wave of unilingual French-speaking Quebeckers helped to trigger a vast expansion of the state in both Quebec City and Ottawa as both governments vied to be the conduit through which these young people’s aspirations would be channelled. In an excerpt from the book published in the National Post of 18th September, I outline the origins of the bidding war and how it drove much of Ottawa expansion in the sixties and seventies, including its infamous use of its spending power to insinuate itself into many areas of provincial jurisdiction, such as social policy:

“A bidding war was thus unleashed, pitting the government of Canada against the government of Quebec in a battle for the loyalty of Quebecers. Both sides in this battle of the purse have taken it as axiomatic that, while emotion and sentiment would play their role, the most powerful force binding Quebecers to one government or the other, and hence to one or the other of our competing national projects, was and is self-interest; that in turn they have defined in terms of dependence. A citizen dependent on a flow of benefits from one government will likely not vote to quit that government’s jurisdiction. Thus the feds ramped up EI, regional development, equalization, marketing boards and a host of other programs, including in areas of provincial jurisdiction, and did so across the country.”

Scridb filter
Brian Lee Crowley