POLSCI 1G06 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: River Goyt, English Canada, Regulation 17

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Federalism
Canada is federation rather than unitary state
Both Ottawa and the provinces possess separate powers: neither level of government
is technically subordinate to the other within its area of jurisdiction
Constitution Act, 1867,(section 92): 16 areas where provinces have jurisdiction- some
of the most important issues are in the hands of the provinces
Doesn't always play out like it says in writing- division of powers different in practice
While text of 1867 was to make the provinces somewhat subordinate to Ottawa, this
hasn't happened in reality – Constitutional decisions in the Judicial Committee of the
Privy Council (London, not the Supreme Court in Canada)had the effect of increasing
the powers of the provinces at the expense of the federal government
Overlapping areas: narrow down description for Federal jurisdiction, while they
expanded to broaden scope of Provincial power
Limited reading of section 91(2): trade and commerce restricted to international trade
and commerce
Expansive reading of section 92 (13): provincial control over property and civil rights
S 132: Treaty power: restricted implementation power
2. The provinces and central government differ in their ability to raise revenue
Central government can impose any type of tax that it desires, both direct and indirect
So they gave the central government a way to raise money- provinces wanted this- so
the central government in a way had power
This imbalance has altered over the course of time to the advantage of the provinces
A) new taxes, B) increasing revenue provided by natural resources, unlike in the past
(Alberta and Newfoundland)  decreases dependency and subordination to central
government
In some respects, federal transfers of funds (particularly conditional grants) has
allowed federal government to recapture some of its power
Conditional grants, block grants (do what you want with the money), equalization
payments (transfer of rich provinces to poor provinces: if they can't produce
healthcare or can't tax- federal gov't will take money from rich give it to poor)
Quebec has taken most of equalization payments
Constitution Act, 1982 section 36(2): "Parliament and the government of Canada are
committed to the principle of making equalization payments to ensure that provincial
governments have sufficient revenues to provide reasonably comparable levels of
public services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation."
3. There are 3 additional powers in the Constitution Act, 1867, which appear to give
central government the upper hand over the provinces
A) Power of reservation
B) Power of disallowance
C) Declaratory power
These powers were used extensively in the 30 years following confederation
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