Jul. 9th, 2016

cincinnatus_c: (Default)
Currently at Havelock: 18.2, which is the low for the day. High today: 24.3.

So here's a funny thing concerning political unions and free trade areas: in the news yesterday and today, Canada's provincial and federal governments are reportedly close to an interprovincial free trade agreement. This is maybe surprising in light of the fact that the Canadian constitution guarantees interprovincial free trade: "All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces." But like any good constitutional section, this one affords wide variance in interpretation. (Which reminds me of something I had meant to say something about months ago: the fact there is such a striking lack of ideological cleavage on the Canadian Supreme Court (which I vaguely recall I was prompted to think about by hearing a former Supreme Court judge comment on on the radio; he said he actually had no idea what his colleagues' favourite parties were, and I thought, that's 'cause they're all Liberals!), at least compared with the American Supreme Court, because you don't find Conservatives on the Supreme Court because the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a Liberal document to which Conservatives are dispositionally opposed, which may indicate that the Canadian constitution is, unlike the American one, overly substantial and too inclined to actually imply more or less clearly of any given law whether it is or is not constitutional. All of which, were I to say it, I would be saying somewhat tongue-in-cheek. And I would want to say something in connection to it about Walter Benjamin's claim that the whole point of the ten commandments is that following them strictly is impossible and so how to act in accordance with them is endlessly open to question. Which is why being a Jew is so interesting. Anyway, if I were to say something about all that it probably wouldn't add up to much more than what I've said right there.) Currently it's an open matter before the Canadian courts whether that section of the constitution means that you can drive to Quebec from New Brunswick and bring back fourteen cases of beer and a few bottles of booze, and so trade in alcohol has been specifically excluded from the current agreement. Anyway, what the current agreement seems to be mostly about, from what little there is about it in the media reports, is exactly one of the kinds of things that gets anti-free-traders' backs up highest about international trade agreements: it would force provincial governments to open bidding for contracts to bidders outside their own provinces, in the same way that an international free trade agreement might forbid the Canadian government from exclusively buying Canadian. So, again, it strikes me as an interesting question: to what extent are the grounds on which you might oppose the 1988 FTA and NAFTA also grounds on which you ought to oppose an interprovincial free trade agreement such as this one? It did strike me around the Brexit referendum that Canada itself is a multi-national, multi-regional, multi-jurisdictional (!) free trade area interestingly like, if also obviously not like, the EU. And it did give me pause to wonder to what extent one ought to oppose say Ontario's membership in Canada on the same grounds that one might oppose the UK's membership in the EU--or ought one to say England's (but why not really in the UK, never mind the EU), or really, what, the country of England, to which the metropolis of London--like other metropoles of the universal homogeneous state--is alien, and there really is one rub of many. (New Model Army's "My Country" kept coming to mind around the referendum--a great song for the occasion because the song and the band more generally capture the ambiguities of the situation so well, New Model Army being an English band and neither a British nor a London band ... and as the culture wars on alt.gothic demonstrated, whichever side you're on, they've got some lines for your banners.)

All of which is kind of dancing around the meat of the matter for me--as is noting that I've started seeing Ontario flags around, which I'm guessing has something to do with the Newfoundland flags I've been seeing more and more of around the last few years, which if so kind of miss the point in the same kind of way as English Canadian nationalist responses to Quebec nationalism have often missed the point by not even recognizing what it is for a there to be there in the way that Quebec nationalists have in mind when they say there's no there there in the rest of Canada. Though these things are always matters of degree, there is no there there in Ontario as there is in Newfoundland. (Which is why being a Newf is so interesting.) Somewhat closer to the bone for me is that there is a there there here in these places I'm living these days, although the nature of the here is ambiguous to say the least (but unavoidably oriented to the past, so much so that you might be tempted to give it up for dead, like George Grant's Canada) and probably not a matter of a great deal of interest to the vast majority of people who simply live around here. Whatever more there is to say about this may take years to say.

While I'm here I will note for my own records that there was a day this week when I felt like there wasn't something terribly wrong with me. Which is, uh, progress. (!!!)
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