Political Science 222 lecture 4.docx

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Caroline Johnpulle
Political Science 222
Lecture 4
An Evolving Federalism: Decentralization
Canada’s Constitution 1867 set up a highly centralized federation
o Federal government was given, the most important functions, critical functions
Railroads & Houses
o Federal government “Peace Order and Good Government
o Money & Taxation
Where the money goes
o Disallowance Power
Right to disallow provincial legislation
o Paramount
Immigration & Agriculture
Nevertheless, Canada has changed to a highly decentralized federation in practise. Why?
o Judicial Review
Role of judicial council
o Political Pressure
The rise of provincial rights movement
o Demographic Change
Alberta, BC (economics)
o Citizen Constitutionalism
Fundamental Source of legitimacy
New constitution will not be a peoples constitution not on the peoples
Citizens have a role in future amendment of the constitution especially those in Quebec
Electing people we do in legislature, they decide for us
Since the late 1970’s since the first referendum we have made a practise through the
sovereignty referendum, Charlottetown referendum, we have a feeling that fundamental
amendment to the constitution it is insufficient to just have a signature of a legislature
We must fundamentally change Canada, the new question is how do we manage a voice in the
context of our existing constitutional structure
1995, how do we move on from this referendum?
Canadian government to go to supreme court to ask a question,
The Supreme Court Secession Reference (1998)
Supremes addressed 3 questions
o Right under Canadian constitution for a province to secede unilaterally (No)
o Right under intenrnational law for a province to secede unilaterally (No)
o If there is a conflict between domestic and international law, which takes precedence
(No conflict)
International law does not specifically grant a sovereign state, there is no
specific rule saying this can happen unilaterally
P.130 people resident on equality respects determination and protects
territorial integrity
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