Canada

Intergovernmental Councils and the Stability of Federal Systems

Intergovernmental Councils and the Stability of Federal Systems

Abstract

Intergovernmental councils not only increase the effectiveness and efficiency of public policy-making, they can also contribute to federal stability. Regular meetings of members of governments shape the way federal systems deal with the increasingly interdependent relationship between the governments of a federation. When policy problems cut across jurisdictions, governments’ autonomy is at stake. Looking at examples of major reforms of fiscal policy in Australia, Canada, Germany, and Switzerland, this article identifies the conditions under which intergovernmental councils protect governments’ authority, discretion, and resources so as to avoid federal tensions. Federal governments, in particular, have been eager to get involved in many policy areas for which the constituent units are responsible. Hence, the extent to which intergovernmental councils contribute to the stability of today’s federations ultimately depends on their ability to make the federal government agree on joint solutions with the federated entities.

 

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Posted by Johanna Schnabel in Theory, 0 comments
Rebalancing Federal Citizenship in Canada

Rebalancing Federal Citizenship in Canada

Abstract

In multinational federations, tensions around national identities, rights and entitlements, and power-sharing arrangements are endemic and never finally resolved. In Canada, simultaneous constitutional and fiscal crises in the 1990s brought into question the legitimacy of the ‘federal bargain’ at the core of the citizenship regime. The federal government’s response was to introduce a number of institutional, programmatic, fiscal and symbolic reforms that adjusted the delicate balance between national unity and the accommodation of diversity. This pragmatic political vision, replete with certain asymmetries and ambiguities, enabled Canada to rebuild and rebalance its way to its own unique shade of federalism.

 

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Posted by James Bickerton in Case Studies, 0 comments
Examining Quebec-Canada Relations:  A Case-Study of Health Care

Examining Quebec-Canada Relations: A Case-Study of Health Care

Abstract

The original Constitution of Canada, the British North America Act of 1867 (BNAA), empowers two orders of government with clearly demarcated areas of legislative competences.  The Quebec government has been keen, especially since the early 1960 with the advent of the Quiet Revolution, to occupy in full its own fields of jurisdictions and to stop Ottawa from intervening in provincial domains. This was often done through the use of an opting out clause that was made available to all provinces although, in the end, Quebec was the only one to make full use of it. This text presents a case study of the recent healthcare agreements between Quebec and the central government. It points out the different relations between the provinces in relation to health care, specifically that while all other provinces sought to find a compromise on health care agreements, Quebec was successful in having its constitutional competences recognized.


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Posted by Alain-G. Gagnon and Jean-Denis Garon in Policies, 0 comments
What Can Cannabis Legalisation Teach Us About Canadian Federalism?

What Can Cannabis Legalisation Teach Us About Canadian Federalism?

Abstract

“Executive”, “Collaborative”, “Court”, “Conflicting” or “Judicial”, Canadian federalism is depicted in eclectic terms in the academic literature. Looking at cannabis legalization in Canada, this article aims to highlight what can be revealed from the policy-making process in a federal system in which a variety of actors and orders of government are involved. It appears from the analysis that there is no hegemony of style in Canadian federalism, but rather intertwined competing dynamics at stake in the making of a single public policy.


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Posted by Maude Benoit and Gabriel Lévesque in Policies, 0 comments
Secession and Federalism: A Chiaroscuro

Secession and Federalism: A Chiaroscuro

Abstract

The relationship between federalism and secession might be regarded as antithetical but is an unavoidable fact in multinational political communities. Integration and disintegration are both possible trends in a federation. Recent political events in Catalonia show the salience of independence claims, a political phenomenon already experienced by other countries such as Scotland or Quebec. Liberal democracies evolve and debates on self-government and self-determination cannot be discussed as they were decades ago. Constitutional right to secede is extremely rare, however we can find good reasons both in constitutional and normative analysis supporting democratic self-determination. Minority nations, as permanent minorities, claim for liberal guarantees to protect them from majorities, but also democratic rights to express their views on their constitutional future. Pacts are the basis of any political agreement and any federal arrangement requires individual and collective compromises to be respected.

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Posted by Marc Sanjaume-Calvet in Diversity Management, 0 comments