Contemporary Canadian Federalism
Office hours: email for appointment- T.A.
September 19, 2013
Federalism- is intended to be less descriptive than might be thought. It is in fact a
normative concept, with a different set of meanings. Federalism refers to the
advocacy of some form of multi-tiered gov’t, that combines some form of shared rule
and common rule. Shared rule is defined by a common nation-state, or distinct
territorial, cultural, self-rule. The advantage of federalism is that it can offer people
the combination of being part of a large common entity, and at the same time allow
individual entities, defined geographically, or culturally, their own distinctiveness
from other parts of the larger whole. It is shared rule, and distinctive self-rule in
different parts of the system.
It is a sort of duel-sovereignty. It is regional gov’t combined with federal gov’t.
There is a common sovereignty as well as a shared sovereignty.
It is about the shared value of combining unity and diversity within a nation state.
Federalism has come to be used in both normative and descriptive sense by
academics. When we read about it in the media, it implies something either good or
bad, depending on your outlooks. Quebec sovereigntists, for example, believe it to
be a negative thing.
Usually there needs to be a more specific definition than to simply use federalism.
It should only be used to state that there is autonomous systems for both regional
and federal aspects of the system. There must be a notion of society, that shapes
::::that form of a political system in which not only the institutional system, but also
the patterns, etc, must give expression to autonomous system