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Canada (161,542)
POLS 2300 (129)
Chapter 4

Week 3 Readings - Chapter 4.docx

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Department
Political Science
Course
POLS 2300
Professor
Tamara Small
Semester
Fall

Description
POLS 2300: Canadian Government and Politics Week 3 Readings: Chapter 4 – The Federal System - Dec 23,2004 Premier of Newfoundland Danny Williams ordered the Canadian flag removed from all provincial buildings after Paul Martin took away some of the money they got from offshore oil resources What is a Federal System? - A system in which authority is divided and shared between the central government - Canadian arrangement differs from a unitary system in which the central government may hand over some authority and administrative responsibilities to lower levels of government, in Canada’s federal system provincial government aren’t legally subordinate to the Canadian government - Contemporary federal system involves quite a high level of interaction between the federal and provincial governments in the development and implementation of many policies The Constitution and the Federal System Constitution Act, 1867 - Divides most government activity into 2 categories: those that fall under exclusive legislative responsibility of provincial legislatures and the authority of the Canadian parliament - Agriculture and immigration both Parliament and provincial legislatures received legislative authority - The provinces retained legislative authority in areas such as education, health and welfare which were often the responsibility of religious and charitable organizations in the 19 th century as well as municipal government - Residual Power: the power over matters not listed in the Constitution Act, was basically given to the nation level of governing, as the Constitution Act in section 91 provides Parliament can make laws for “peace, order and good government of Canada” in relation to all matters not assigned exclusively to the provincial legislatures Constitutional Amendments - Have given the Parliament the authority to pass laws concerning unemployment insurance Judicial Interpretations - Of the Constitution have significantly affected the division of legislative powers between the federal and provincial governments The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council - Generally viewed the peace, order and good government clause as applying only to temporary emergencies - JCPC struck down several Canadian laws to tackle the problems of the Great Depression of 1930s, arguing that only an emergency would justify the use of the clause - Saw clause as granting residual legislative power to Parliament to deal with subject not included in the lists of enumerated powers - Thought the federal system should be based on autonomous federal and provincial governments, each with its own specific areas of responsibility a view often described as “classical federalism” - National governments authority over the regulation of trade and commerce was interpreted narrowly by the Judicial committee as granting the legislative authority only over international and interprovincial trade - JCPC ruled that the federal Insurance Act establishing a licensing system for insurance companies operating across Canada was not justified by the trade and commerce power The Supreme Court of Canada - Less inclined to limit the Canadian governments powers - Anti Inflation Act passed by Parliament in 1975 instituted controls on wages, prices and profits - Supreme Court divided on the use of “national concern” interpretation of the peace, order, good government clause to uphold national environmental laws - The majority noted that in deciding what distinguishes a matter of national concern Disallowance, Reservation and the Declatory Power - Disallowance power gave the GG the right to disallow provincial legislation within one year of its passage - reservation power gave provincial lieutenant governors the authority to reserve the passage of provincial legislation until the Canadian Cabinet has approved it - Declatory power Parliament could declare any local works or undertakings within a province to be for the general advantage of Canada or for the Advantage of 2 or more provinces and then legislate on that matter The Decentralized Federal System - Centralist direction (power concentrated in the central government) or decentralized government (power dispensed among provincial governments) doesn’t depend only on the constitutional division of legislative authority and the interpretation of the constitution by judicial bodies - Social, economic, political and institutional factors also play an important role in determining the distribution of power - Even when the same political party is in office provincially and nationally, the provincial premier will not necessarily follow the prime ministers lead - Common for voters to elect different parties at the 2 levels of government - Careers of provincial and federal politicians also tend to follow separate paths - Canada’s upper chamber of parliament, the senate, doesn’t represent provincial interests to any significant degree because the appointment of its members is on the recommendation of the PM - The weakness of intrastate federalism (provincial representation and involvement in the national polit
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