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POL316Y1 (31)

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Political Science
Michael Stein

Historical Development of Canadian Federalism: Canada in Comparative Perspective A. Historical Phases in Canadian Federalism 1. Eight major phases (Simeon and Robinson, 2004)  The Confederation negotiations, 1864-67  Three sets of concerns that led to the creation of the Canadian federation  Political  Attempt to join Quebec and Ontario into the single united province of Canada  Economic  Creation of a national market to relieve the separate colonies of their debt  Security  Fear of being dominated by the neighbors from the south.  BNA Act  Section 91 gave Ottawa the broad authority for the “Peace, order and good governance of Canada  Provinces had a broad range of power as well  Colonial or quasi-federalism, 1867-1900  Ontario and Quebec vied for a provincial model to coordinate their demands from the federal government  Colonial model implied subordination of the provinces  Strife between French and English Canada  French-Canadians felt the only way to secure their linguistic and religious rights would be to form a federation where the government of Quebec would have a say in matters of their province  Classical federalism, 1900-1945  Resource and industrial development occurred under provincial jurisdiction  Great Depression of the 1930’s  Pressure for welfare and relief  Diminishing provincial revenues  Bennett New Deal referred to the JCPC whose decision to strike it down seemed to limit federal powers and enhance provincial ones  As a result, roles of government cut across jurisdictional lines; interdependence, overlapping, and sharing of responsibilities became hallmarks of modern federalism  Emergency federalism, 1914-1918, 1939-1945  World War I and World War II  Ottawa assumed all powers of a unitary state under the emergency powers of the War Measures Act  Cooperative federalism, 1945-1965  Dominated by central government  Beginning of welfare state  Due to strong civil service, they tended to take lead in these matters  Provinces participated, but allowed federal government to take the lead  Competitive (executive) federalism, 1965-1980  Beginning of Quiet Revolution  Strengthening of provinces, province-building  Civil service grew larger  Provinces became much more assertive and demanded importance in policy terms  Reorganization of public service in decision making apparatus by Trudeau in an attempt to shift power away from Deputy Minister back to the politically elected Ministers  Central Agencies, bureaucratic departments not identified with any particular policy area but strategized with federal or provincial government – executive government – shifted power from bureaucrats and public service to ministers and prime ministers  Pressure by Quebec and Western Provinces, particularly Alberta, for decentralization  Constitutional federalism, 1980-1992  Federal government tried to rebalance federalism in constitutional terms  Negotiations by Trudeau and Levesque  Patriation of constitution  80-82, Quebec deciding not to sign Constitution Act  Mulroney in 87 attempted to include Quebec in Constitution Act - Meech Lake  Charlottetown Accord – Meech Lake provisions + Aboriginals, and other provinces  Collaborative federalism, 1993-the present) (Robinson and Simeon 1999; Inwood 2000)  After failure of Meech Lake and Charlottetown, both provinces and federal government found they couldn’t change federalism but through bilateral or multilateral negotiations  Open Federalism under Harper  Abandonment of constitutional solutions to more successful intergovernmental relations  Collaboration among equals rather than cooperation among unequals: the Agreement on International Trade, 1994; the Social Union Framework Agreement (SUFA), 1999 (Lazar & McIntosh 1998; Courchene 1999)  The impact of economic globalization and multi-level governance (MLG) arrangements (powers pushed upwards, downwards and outwards) (Courchene 1999; Inwood 2000) Continuities and Commonalities in Different Phases of Canadian Federalism and lessons derived from their comparison 1) between phase 1 (1864-7) and phase 7 (1980-92): constitution-framing and constitutional reform: a. major efforts to establish formal and effective representation of regional/provincial units in the upper chamber or legislature of Canadian federalism in 1867 and 1987/1992 b. shaping the federal-provincial government power balance via the distribution of legislative powers 2. Major characteristics of each phase 1) A negotiating compromise (see Christopher Moore, How the Fathers Made a Deal (McClelland & Stewart, 1997). - the representatives of Canada West (Ontario) (incomplete) B. Historical Evolution of the Federal Concept and System: Canadian Federalism in Comparative Perspective (with the U.S.) (Vipond 1999) 1) The American federal constitution background and the issue. Why did the two systems evolve in different directions? - In original federal-state power distribution in US, states had more power, as opposed to a heavily disproportionate national government in Canada 2) The “federal constitution of the United States in comparison with that of Canada  Federal-regional (state-provincial) power balance  Bolstered national government in three ways  First, broad power to regulate “commerce along the states” to national government, effectively making the Congress and President responsible for managing the economy  Second, Constitution prohibited the states from acting in certain legislative areas o i.e., states could not mint their own money or impose taxes on imports or exports o “supremacy clause”, areas in which both federal and state government were both active, federal laws would take precedence over state laws  Third, constitution established the power of “judicial review” o If federal government and one or more of the states disagreed about which level of government had the right to legislate, the Supreme Court appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate would act the final ‘umpire’  Distribution of legislative powers  Sets legislative “boundaries” between state and national government  Supreme Court is sympathetic to the idea of a powerful national government  In late 19 century, Congress established Interstate Commerce Commission and passes legislation outlawing monopolies  Accepted FDR’s New Deal – which lay broad powers to regulate market, redistribute income, create welfare system, and manage relationships between workers and employers  Bill of rights  Federal government was slow to eliminate system of state-sanctioned racial segregation  Civil Rights Act banned discrimination because it “affected interstate commerce”  Intrastate federalism: the Senate  Under original terms of the constitution, Senator
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