POLI 221 Lecture Notes - Lecture 36: Justiciability, Double Majority, Lucien Bouchard

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Topic 9: MegaConstitutional Politics 14:31
Federal system: Separate levels sharing powers
“executive federalism”/federal-provincial diplomacy
premiers emerge as significant check on PM/ Federal government
Provincial resentment towards federal government
Quit revolution in quebec
-How would they have changed the structure of power? Who would have
benefitted and who would have lost
-Key elements of background that led to megaconstitional politics and the
intense conflicts that It entailed
-after 1949, the supreme court was more relaxed in its decisions on divisions
of powers: It said if both levels of government could legislate on something,
de-facto concurrency on almost everything if they didn’t conflict. If they did,
the court said which one would take priority.
Ex. telecommunications- consumer protection laws in quebec to try to
protect citizens from contracts, which is really federal jurisdiction
-Separate levels of government: instead of the constitution dividing powers,
we have separate levels of government sharing powers. The federal uses it’s
spending power to give money to individuals, institutions(grants in 1950’s),
and they use the money power to bribe/coherce provinces to agree to
shared-chost programs that they wouldn’t otherwise taken on
ex.medicare- clrealy sec.92 under provincial jurisdiction yet federal, wanted
to create a national medicare system: bribed the provinces, if you accept
these conditions, we will share in the costs.
-Some provinces really disliked this, but others particularly have-not
provinces(majority) reluctantly accepted them because otherwise they
couldn’t offer these progams to their citizens
-court decisions&spending power= getting into provincial jurisdiction
-interstate federalism: rather than rely on cabinet and senate to represent
regional and provincial jurisdiction(intrastate federalism) in the government,
there is a growth in interstate
-executive federalism
-long lasting term-federal/provincial diplomacy – this refers to
intergovernmental relations- government has to negotiate to get into areas
of provincial policy. Sit down and negotiate with provinces who want the
best deal as possible(most freedom&money)
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-Federal system where the executives of both levels of government do the
negotiating- everything is like a international treaty, you negotiate and it
takes a lot of worth.
-consequence: It reinforces the emergence of the PM as a more important
actor. He was always important, but just as in international relations, he
takes them over which gives him more power.
-classic case in 1964- PM lifting himself out of the cabinet, negotiating with
provinces to create the Canada pension plan(quebec said thy were not
interested- pearson PM sent his chief aids and another minister to quebec
city to negotiate with the premier of quebec)- he does not send his minister
of health and welfare who is responsible for the file(he didn’t resign)
Pm chief negotiator
-Reinforces the view that these are federal/rpvoncial agreements so
parliament is not significant- it is another slap across the head/ parliament is
presented with these agreements as a federaccomply- they cannot change
them. In most cases, they say we went through all this trouble through
negotiations, so just rubber stamp it.
-Reinforces the diminished stature of parliament – more significant in meech
lake: you can do anything you want but only amend if there is
key feature:executive federalism/negotiations
-Federal getting so involved in provincial, so premiers emerge as a check on
PM****- they run their governments and if they wanna frustrate something
they can say no. A series of meetings with Premiers
-federal/rpvoncial conference to a first ministers province- shows the
elevation of premiers as equals in some respects to the PM- important in
later constitutional negotiations in 70’s and especially the 80’s.
-Some provinces don’t like the hautyness of the federal government: Canada
developed the best public services, good public servants but they were
primarily initially federal governments. They would come into conferences
and lort over provincial governments. This led to provincial resentment,
many did not even like these public programs. (BC/ALBERTA/ONTARIO=
-when they have to go to a conference where public servants from federal
-growth of government in federal and provincial levels in 60’s-welfare state
-Significant expansion in public service in provincial level too, because they
must implement the problems they agreed too.
-force of resentment is important in megaconstitutional politics
-Quiet revolution in quebec(59-60): Very significant development in terms of
megaconstitutional politics
-it was the catalyst that led to mega constitutional politics(can be argued)
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-prior to the election of the liberal government, duplecy had been premier of
quebec till 59, except for worldwar 2 years. He was a strict constitutionalist,
he was very conservative, did not believe in active government.
-negative power: say to the federal “butter off” go away, if you have too
much money, give it to us but we do not want to participate in these
-grants to universitys in 59, they didn’t want this because it was education
under provincial jurisdiction
-Trudeau wrote an essay on grants to university
-in post 45, quebec insisted that they did not want the federal government
to get involved(negative power)
-after the quiet revolution, the quebec government embraces power. They
want to create a modern society(the flowering/energizing) of quebec. They
related it to the federal system- maître chez nous: masters in our own house
-transformation in the attitude towards governing/real break
-Before 60, they tried to push them out of their jurisdiction, after 1960, they
wanted to be masters in their own home and create a modern society, we
need a modern government.
-Negotiated with feds not to come into pensions- created identical pension
plan with Canada- result of these negotiations
-quebec gets all of the money that we as citizens/workers make. They use
this to create the quebec model(interventionist government-hydro system)
-Used it to support industries. –
-At first they were just happy to use the powers they were getting, but they
said it was not enough just to tell them to back off, they said we need more
powers. We need some of the powers you have-basis
-Constitution of Canada-arrangement between elites, political elites. It
should be between people and governments, Canada is the only country
where the primary role of the constitution is to maintain peace between
governments rather than between people, or between the people and their
-We see a transformation in the role of citizenship, the constitution. It now
talks about the relationship between people and government- it becomes
crucial that we go from an elitist driven system, where citizens are largely
spectators allowed to participate in elections then get out of the way.
Because of mega-constitutional politics and debates in 60’s,70’s, 80’s, it is
not immediate there is a shift.
-There is a cruchendo developed around 1982- citizens start to take a larger
role in constitutional thing
-Meech lake: whose constitution is it? The government or the people
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