Federalism: Creation and Evolution - Contemporary Federalism

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22 Apr 2012
Government of Canada November 9th
Federalism Creation and Evolution
Contemporary Federalism
PM is the foreign minister when it comes to main issues ex. G8 meetings,
trade agreements
o Becomes chief negotiator on major issues
After 1960s the provinces/Premiers become a check on the PM
o Premiers are chief negotiators in the most important issues for the
When you get an inter-government agreement, akin to a treaty, presented to
o Reminds parliamentarians of their insignificance
Chief of staff: Mulroney 1984 distrusted the bureaucracy. Conservative
government gets elected, thinks bureaucracy is too liberal, partisan. Creates
“political deputy minister” (chief of staff), irrelevant today abolished in 93
by Chretien.
The Courts: topic 9
Fundamental transformation in structure of power and governing Canada
Have emerged as a check, but not on Parliament
Three views of the courts
o Little has changed, it is not the dawn of a new era Chief Justice
o We have gone in less than two decade from a system of parliamentary
supremacy to judicial supremacy Morton & Knopff
o Since the Charter our judges have elevated themselves into a
position where they are super parliamentarians and super cabinet
ministers so that we no longer have a government composed of the
executive, the legislative, and the judicial branches to a situation
where the judges in Canada are the Godzilla of government with the
legislative and executive branches becoming the Mickey Mouses of
government John Crosbie
Courts have become significant political players court process more
significant arena for people to pursue political objectives.
Fear that Charter would lead to centralization because SC judges are
Charter would have significant impact on political actors
Importance of courts, range of pubic policies affected by the charter
decisions (abortion, refugees,, drunk driving, French-only rights, educational,
Sunday shopping, etc)
Traditional political role of courts 1867-1949 strong influence on power
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