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POL214Y1 (200)
Lecture

Federalism


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL214Y1
Professor
Victoria Wohl

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POL214
LEC
Oct 19, 2010
1. What is Federalism?
2. Why did Canada adopt a Federal System?
3. Eight faces of Canadian Federalism
The Federal government is always giving money to the provinces t These payments include money for
healthcare and pensions.
Prof says that federalism takes us from convention to law.
There are 28 countries in the world that have federal systems t 40% of the world population. Canada
has one of the oldest.
Prof talks about the 1998 vote for the secession of Quebec: The Supreme Court commented on the
uUv}(Z}uuvZYµ}µov[iµµ}(Z(o
system: The central government must be consulted.
The central government usually controls the areas of the country that are essential to national integrity:
Defence, policy, etc.
The provincial governments deal with other things like education, healthcare, etc.
Prof says that in practice, federal government are usually biased: They are either more or less
centralized. Canada is one of the less centralized federal systems, while the US has a more centralized
system.
How can we tell if a system is more or less centralized?
One indicator of a bias in the federal system is to see who controls taxation, banking, finance, etc.
Who controls them in Canada?
tZ}P]µo}Á~Z}ÁZ]v[vu]vZ}v]µ]}vWThe Canadian constitution
states that all powers not mentioned in the constitution are federal. /Z]vl][Z}ZÁÇ}µv]v
the US.
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Jurisdictional problems:
What happens when there is a dispute between the provincial and federal governments regarding who
has control of what?
You go to the courts: But when you go to the courts, you get a legal answer, and its not always the most
practical answer.
W}(ÇÁZÇ}v[ZÇ just negotiate out of court? That is another way to do things.
Prof presents case study: 35 years ago in Toronto: The Federal government decided it wanted to build
an international airport in Toronto (They felt Pearson was too small). They decided it would be in
Pickering. People there were against it t pollution, traffic, etc. The people there started lobbying the
provincial government, but the Federal government wanted to go ahead.
^}Z}Á}uZ[v}]}]vW]l]vPMdZW}À]v]oP}Àvuvgreed with the Federal
government in that they have authority over airports, but they said that since they have authority over
roads and sewerage, they would not provide any of that. Hence, there is no airport in Pickering.
This is an example of how the lines are fuzzy between central and provincial power.
Another example: Weights and measures are Federal responsibilities t Prof gives example of a store: A
scale in that store is regulated by the Federal government, but the building permit is given by the
provincial government.
Executive Federalism: Canadian system.
Over time, the provinces have gained considerable power. This is because of judicial rulings.
- JCPC t Judicial court of the Privy Council t These guys are sitting in the House of Lords in Britain.
dZÇu]]}v(}vÁZv}vµoXtZZÇ]]vZíôóì[víôõì[UZÇ
strengthened federalism.
- Intra Vires
- Ultra Vires
- Stare Decisis
After WWII, people wanted positive government rather than negative government (for the government
to do something rather than limited government). But which government is responsible for things like
}]oÁo(UZoU}]o}PuUMdZ}À]v]oP}Àvuv]VvZ[ÁZÇ}À]ncial
government have gained considerable power over time.
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