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Forms of Government (3)

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Western University
Political Science
Political Science 1020E
Charles Jones

1 June 10, 2008 Forms of Government Continued Federalism • “federal” o Latin: foedus = covenant, union, compact Decentralized Centralized Sovereign states confederations federations devolution unitary states • Modern federalism o Powers and responsibilities divided between at least 2 constitutionally protected levels of government  Federal government, “provinces”, “states”, “cantons”, etc o Sovereignty is shared  Each level is “sovereign” within its own constitutionally defined sphere of control  No level is supreme  Powers can be rearranged only by consent of both constituent units and federal government  Goes against the idea that “sovereignty” is indivisible • “Confederalism” o Constituent units are sovereign o General government only has powers which are given by constituent units  These powers can be taken back by constituent units alone • Devolution o Sovereign central government gives significant powers to lower levels  These powers can be taken back by central government alone • Unitary State o Central government totally dominates  Only minimal powers given to lower levels o Can be taken back by central government alone 2 • History of Federalism o Switzerland a “confederation” in 1291 o Holy Roman Empire of Middle Ages a “confederation” o Modern “federalism” invented by Americans in 1787  J. Madison, A. Hamilton, J. Jay o Many federal states now operate on the American model, including Canada o Others are a variation on the American model  Ex: Germany, which has less formal divisions of functions  The European Union is somewhere in between a “confederation” and a “federation” • Federalism is usually characterized by bicameralism o The Upper House often represents constituent units  Ex: Bundesrat in Germany, Senate in the US,  Senate in Canada is based on equal regional representation, but Senate is a poor regional chamber of representation because Senators are largely politically impotent appointees of the PM o In Canada, in the Constitution Act of 1867:  Section #91 • Federal Powers  Section # 92, #93 • Provincial Powers  Section #95 • Concurrent Powers **NOTE** • Canada has been called a “pseudo-federation” because of the federal powers of “reservation”, “disallowance”, and the “declatory” power o These were significant powers given to the federal government in 1867 to keep the new Canadian Union strong o The power of “reservation”  Allows the federal government to reserve provincial legislation for approval by the federal Cabinet o The power of “disallowance”  Allows the federal government to disallow provincial legislation outright o The “declatory” power  Allows the federal government to declare certain
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