Acquaman is teeeeed off about all this "asymmetrical" federalism business:
Liberal MP and former Chretien Cabinet minister Maurizio Bevilacqua also came out swinging against Mr. Martin's new federalism that promotes a role for Quebec on the international stage. "We as Canadians need to recognize who speaks for Canada," the Toronto-area MP told reporters yesterday. "In my world, it's the federal government.... That is our domain and it should stay our domain and there should be really no opening in that area...."Oh, it is clear, Acquaman... You want to be Prime Minister of the country!
"My point is, and I want to make sure it's very clear -- that in my world, in my politics, the federal government and the prime minister or a minister of the federal government are the people that speak on behalf of Canada."
Mr. Bevilacqua was one of Mr. Martin's earliest backers in caucus during the early '90s but relations cooled when he was dropped from Cabinet in December.
As for asymmetrical federalism, I'll say this: What exactly is symmetrical federalism? Can that even exist? Does that mean that every province gets equal treatment? Does that mean that we have to treat debt-free Alberta the same as the have-not Maritimes? Does that mean we should we should tackle Aboriginal issues the same way in Newfoundland as we do in British Columbia?
Do we have to serve up everything the same everywhere in the same inflexible manner? Of course not. Federalism is inherently asymmetrical. It simply means that provinces are different and have different needs and concerns. There's nothing wrong with that. Asymmetrical federalism is redundant.
That said, as if Paul Martin would have ever let Bernard Landry represent Canada on the world stage...
It's a game. And I suspect it's all about driving some nails into the coffin of the separatist movement, which is self-destructing fine all by its lonesome.
[This post is part of a continuing series on MP Maurizio Bevilacqua.]