3 Federalism.doc

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15 Apr 2012
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3. FEDERALISM
Canada is unique in being the first country to adopt a constitution that involves
the application of the British “Westminster” model of parliamentary responsible
government to a federal system of government involving states or provinces and
a central or federal government.
Contrast parliamentary government with presidential government and
federal governments with unitary governments
- compare the United Kingdom, the USA and Canada, i.e. Canada and UK
responsible government; Canada and USA federal forms of government
- see slides: Forms of Government: Parliamentary vs Presidential, Unitary
vs Federal
What is a federal form of government?
- is it merely a formal, legal set of arrangements as set out in a written
constitution or does it evolve out of the structure of society?
Formal-legal approach
- core institutions of the constitution are studied
- confederacies vs. federal states
- The Federalist Papers of Hamilton, Jay and Madison
- states rights position, including concurrent majorities, doctrine of
nullification, and secession in the US
- Kenneth C. Wheare’s definition, i.e. co-ordinate and co-equal
governments; water-tight compartments
- reasons for forming a federal government
Federal society
- a society in which diversities are patterned along geographic lines
- federal political system
- federal political culture
- federal society.
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