What is sovereignty?
When you are married, you learn to divide sovereignty amongst two people
Can sovereignty be divided or shared on the basis of natue and importance of issues?
Sovereignty is ultimate political authority & responsibility for anything and everything that is part
of the state;
you can have one person responsible for anything that goes right or wrong th th
Countries are very large, if you look at the first 10 countries by size, even the 6 or 7 country in
the list is a vast territory;
The best way to imagine how big these countries are… flight b/w St.John’s to London is shorter
than Vancouver & Toronto
Not just nature & importance of issues but also how well the government is trying to govern… is
the land big enough to be ruled by one sovereign authority or many?
UNITARY, FEDERAL, CONFEDERAL SYSTEMS OF GOVERNANCE
Canada is not a unitary system, but has some characteristics features of it
Think of the UK, moving from unitary to federal
The key feature is that there is one sovereign authority in one govt ruling over people.
Not a federation, typically called a central government
There is a single London government…
A system of governing in which sovereign authority rests with the Central Government regional
and local governments are subordinate
In terms of law/ constitution (which UK does not have) ▯it is a unitary system, b/c relationship
of lower governments (municipal, provincial) ▯is subordinate to central govt
Saskatchewan bevlies that the Canadian Senate be abolished… how can a province tell a federal
government that one house of the bilateral federal legislature should be cancelled… provinces
are not subordinate to central government( federal system)
Central govt is judicially/ hierarchically SUPREME.
Most suitable for small territories
France is a prime example. Paris is the “island of power,” where all of France has concentrated
its unitary system; has never truly changed even after the Revolution
FEATURES OF THE UNITARY SYSTEM:
Relationship b/w different levels of governments is hierarchial with regional and local
governments being subordinate to the Central Government
Suitable for countries with small territories Some devolution ▯i.e. a system, albeit unitary in character, is also one in which the Central govt
grants some legislative and administrative responsibility to regional bodies as in the case of Spain
Scotland demands sovereignty from UK
Canada is different, it is a mixture of unitary and federal ▯ territories of Canada are directly
governed by federal government; Yukon/ NWT elections take place but w/o political parties.
Territories are subordinate (unitary), provinces are equal in status/ power (federal).
Territories can become provinces; e.g. Alberta in 1905 ▯Territories can become provinces in the
However the Central government has the power to suspend powers given to the regional bodies
They can suspend power to unitary bodies; smaller bodies exist at the discretionary of the
If Liberals won the federal election, Alberta will remain a primarily Conservative system ▯in a
federation, federal government cannot expel provincial governments; central government is not
above the regional government + it’s not democratic!
Can exist without a “written Constitution,”
Unitary governments can function without a constitution, federation cannot.
Every time something goes wrong… someone has to take blame; look at the Constitution to
overlook division of power and who’s responsible for what
There is one single sovereign government.
Advantages/ Benefits of Unitary Systems
Regional interests do not get a higher priority over national developmental goals thus leading to a
more balanced development
There is a possibility of being more balanced in terms of distribution of resources
No lobbying of government from different regions; can promote nationalism & unity
National unity may be promoted
Federation has effective unity over a large