144. The provinces
The concern for ecological equilibrium compels respect for the roots and social relations of French families by giving the greatest autonomy to local ecological cells that harmonise population, land and work in a close symbiosis. They are the natural and traditional homes of an honest, just and fraternal life without “ problems ”.
1. It will therefore be necessary to restore these ecological units that are part of our soil, history and civilisation, units that are powerful and ever relevant. Characterised more by their age-old customs than by modern economic data – this is the judgement of even those economists most conversant with the problem of the regions – the restoration of the provinces remains a major element in restoring the nation’s birth-rate, vitality and civilisation. To achieve this aim, the republic enacted laws fostering regionalisation, by means of deliberative assemblies and regional commissions. Nevertheless, since it is impossible in democracy to escape the need to control the electorate and the inevitable tendency towards centralisation, these laws indulgently maintain them ; this necessitates lavish expenditures, increasing deficits and a new level of the encroaching bureaucracy
2. The province is a strong human community, located at junction of the autonomy of the peoples who make it up and the sovereign authority that is exercised over it. It is the point of contact and agreement where the region’s organic interests and the superior interests of the nation meet. Only a sovereign and absolute authority can restore the autonomy and self-government of the provinces in a united and decentralised national community, without fear of secession.
3. The governor of the province assumes two interlocking functions : that of the representative of the Sovereign, strong in the Sovereign’s authority and answerable to him, head of the royal administration, but also that of the representative of the peoples of the province before the central power, with the responsibility of defending their interests and their rights in the State and, if necessary, before the Council of ministers and the Council of State.
For this heavy task, full of initiative and responsibility, he surrounds himself with a council formed of persons chosen from among the most competent and most honourable known in the province.
4. A provincial assembly debates all the important affairs of the province. Presided over by the governor who determines the order of the day, it is composed of representatives elected by the municipalities, the great orders and the trade and professional bodies. It will resolve all problems in mutual consultation with the various chambers for trade, agriculture, commerce and industry, and the municipalities. It will propose the plans for the general development of the province and for town-and-country planning. It will assume, enhance, protect, and defend if need be, the customs of the province and its ecological, economic and historical patrimony. It will take an interest in local justice, education, town planning, communication channels, hygiene, etc. Since nothing regional is alien to it, it could also been consulted on the enforcement of national laws within its jurisdiction.
Thanks to its own budget and to its fiscal powers under the control of the sovereign authority, the provincial assembly will endow itself with an economic policy for local investments. This policy will be able to protect economic societies on a human scale from dangerous financial, industrial and commercial mergers.
Provinces, however, will never be allowed to establish or maintain extranational relations that oppose the national interests for which the sovereign alone is responsible.