Whereas barriers to the free movement of goods, services, labour and capital within Canada are economically harmful;
Whereas measures that divide Canadians by region and put us at odds with one another needlessly are harmful to our sense of common citizenship;
Whereas the federal government has the clear constitutional authority to remove barriers to free internal trade;
Whereas the founders of our Confederation clearly intended the federal government to create a seamless internal market for the economic, social and national benefit of Canadians;
Whereas the current government has committed itself to acting to remove such barriers;
And whereas the provinces cannot reasonably be expected to do so without decisive federal action;
We, the co-signatories of this statement, urge the federal government to pass legislation guided by the following principles and goals:
- Canadians should be free to pursue a livelihood anywhere in our national home;
- This right should be legally protected;
- The federal government should take positive, decisive action to provide that legal protection;
- The federal government should establish an agency with the authority to investigate and, where appropriate, litigate against improper barriers to free trade, labour mobility and investment within Canada;
- In taking such action the federal government should respect the legitimate, constitutionally mandated rights and jurisdiction of the provinces and territories;
- In taking such action the federal government should compliment, not infringe upon or supplant, citizens' ability to enforce their rights to earn a livelihood anywhere in Canada through free access to impartial courts.
The proposal for a federally legislated Economic Charter of Rights and appropriate enforcement mechanisms put forward by Brian Lee Crowley, Robert Knox and John Robson in their paper "Citizen of the Whole" for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute for Public Policy, meets all these criteria. We support the authors' proposal that the federal government enact such a Charter, establish an Economic Freedom Commission and fulfill the dream of the Fathers of Confederation that in Canada a citizen of any province or territory would be a citizen of the entire nation.
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