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POLS 2300 (129)
Chapter 7

POlS 2300 Chapter 7

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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 2300
Nanita Mohan

What is Federalism? • When the government’s authority is fragmented into some regional governments • The governments are not able to override the power of the government that is able to implement the laws • Federalism is a legal term regarding the constitutional right to enact laws • William S. Livingston argues ‘The essence of federalism lies not in the constitutional or institutional structure but in the society itself’ • One reason why countries are federal are because it is the instance of societies not of constitutions  Newer countries would not be federal because they are trying to create a sense of unity  Having a secularist country does not mean that you will have a federal country • The second reason is that there is a dynamic state power  There may be previous regional rivalries which would make it easier to give some power to that region to ensure that they feel as though they are being listed to • This is not to say that this is the only type of government that practices giving power to other regions The origins maintenance and Demise of Federal State • Only two dozen countries actually practice federalism • Many of these countries are some of the most powerful in the world • This is not to say that they don’t have political and regional conflict, they have just adapted a way to minimize it • Federal states are usually created out of compromise, when there are multiple groups that want claim to the land it is easier to create a federal state then to have citizens within the country fighting over their right to the land • This being in these weak states of constitution, there can also be a divide of a country  In US history the country almost was split during the revolution  This can be dangerous to the creation of a new country but if created properly this can be a very viable option • The issues with unstable federalism when there is a nationalism movement  If there are people that are pushing for everyone to have the same support for a county, everyone amalgamating into a collective identity it can cause issues with the country  People in federal systems are very adamant on the fact that they are of different groups, if a country tries to fit them into the same identity conflict can arise Origins of Canadian Federalism • The strongest opposition towards a federal government came from East Canada (Modern Quebec) because they were worried about the preservation of their unique culture • The Maritime governments were also very apprehensive about amalgamating into the unitary government  This was because they made a very strong maritime identity that they too were worried about losing • The British north was getting pushed into a union, which needed a strong government • It was needed for things like railways to increase trade and goods transportations • It was also needed because there were few people inhabiting the prairies  There needed to be a military that could protect the land and keep it from being taken over • John A Macdonald believed that Canada would be municipalities subordinate to Ottawa • Provinces were in charge of ‘Direct Taxation’ which only gave them a minimal amount of money • Many of the policies at this time were targeting at gaining more jurisdiction, or maintaining  Almost as a power struggle to see how the federal system would really work and how it would impact the federal governments • Arguments against federalism  A contract that gives powers to a new government  The federal ‘’bargain’ cannot be changed without unanimous consent  The French believed that they should be able to veto anything because they are the majority holders of the francophone population  In reality even the need for complete unity has not something that is truly followed, many times the bigger provinces can usurp such ideas The Federal Division of Powers • No matter what was done to create governments, Canada’s federal and provincial governments have a great deal of power now • There are sections of life now that were not imagined when the constitution was created thus are not assigned to either • As well there were minor industries that have grown to be major important portions of our economies now • In many of the major portions of the constitution, both Ottawa or the provinces have the ability to act on policy fields The Courts and Federalism • Peace order and good government  Laws that can be justified in times of extreme circumstances  Not to be used in normal times  Allowing for the federal government to pass laws  This just pertains to the POGG laws (Peace order and good government)  This was enacted for the first time after WWII to ensure that the capitalist powers did not hoard all of the wealth  In in 1970s the supreme court ruled that under certain circumstances the POGG was adequate to be used in times of peace • Trade and commerce  Any and all economic life under Ottawa’s jurisdiction  Citizens Insurance Co. Parsons  Legacy is that Ottawa’s trade power is limited to interprovincial trade, international trade and gender trade affecting the whole of Canada • The Impact of Judicial Decisions  Usually becoming a barganning chip between governments  Employment and social Insurance Act Reference - Attempts to cut down unemployment ended in Ottawa gaining control over unemployment insurance  Public Service Board v. Dionne - Ottawa has control over television broadcasting, almost right after stating that there will be some division for the provinces  CIGOL v. Government of Saskatchewan - The provincial tax was seen to be a direct tax and therefore out of the provincial government  Re Constitution of Canada - The British North America act was found unconstitutional and therefore was affecting the provincial powers, after a couple of weeks governments were back at the table trying to negotiate  Reference re Secession of Quebec - Evolving Federalism • Quebec’s distinctive social and cultural fabric explains why it has made special demands on Canadian Federalism. The demands of Quebec have had a significant impact on the evolution of Canadian Federalism. This impact has been experienced on two main fronts: the constitution and the financial and administrative practices of federalism. • Quebec’s influence on the Constitution predates the confederation agreement. Between 1848 and 1867 Ontario and Quebec formed the United Canada’s, which the two colonies held equal representations. To become law, a bill had to be approved by a majority of members on both the Ontario and Quebec sides of the legislature. This was Canada’s first experience with the federal principle of regional representation. Its representatives were most insistent on a federal constitution of Canada, under which the provincial government would have authority over those matters considered vital to the preservation of the language, religion, and social institutions of Quebec. • The constitutional consequences of limiting French Canada to the boundaries of Quebec became apparent by the middle of the twentieth century. As Ottawa became increasingly involved in areas of provincial jurisdiction, particularly through its spending power but also by monopolizing the field of direct taxation between 1947 and 1954 under a tax rental agreement with the provinces, the Quebec government became more and more protective when they argued exclusive provincial powers under the Constitution. • Quebec’s resentment towards Ottawa encroachment onto provincial territory matched by aggressive constitutional demands. The first major indication of this occurred during the federal provincial negotiations on a public old age pension scheme. The first major indication of this occurred during the federal provincial negotiations. Ottawa was given the authority to pass pension legislation if Quebec were able to opt out of the federal plan. • The creation of the Parti Quebecois in 1968, under the leadership of Rene Levesque brought under one roof most of the major groups committed to the eventual political independence of Quebec. Quebec demanded constitutional supremacy in an area in which Ottawa operated several major programs, including family allowances, unemployment insurance, manpower training and old age pensions. But Quebec wanted the fiscal means to pay for provincial provinces in these fields. • The Trudeau government refused, however, to concede the principle of provincial supremacy over social policy and would not provide a constitutional guarantee that provinces would receive financial compensation for operating their own programs in these areas. • A rather different strategy was followed by the PQ government of Rene Levesque after it came to power in 1976. The PQ was committed to holding a provincial referendum on its option of political sovereignty for Quebec, combined with some form of economic association with the rest of Canada. But instead of simple confederation with Ottawa, the Levesque government pursued an etapiste (gradualist) strategy of providing ‘good government’. • Sovereignty Association: a term generally understood to mean that politically sovereign Quebec would continue to be linked to Canada through some sort of commercial union, free trade agreement, and shared currency. PQ government that participated in the constitutional negotiations towards renewed federalism that the federal liberal government has initiated after the Quebec referendum. But it was also a PQ government that refused ot sign the final products of these talks. • The Quebec government put forward a package of five demands that had to be met before it would agree to constitutional reforms passed in 1982. These proposals were agreed to by Ottawa and all of the provincial premiers on April 1987, forming the basis for what became known as the Meech Lake Accord. • Canada has surely been among the least centralized federal systems in the world in recent decades, it assumes that a strong central government is essential to the maintenance of Canadian Unity. Opposed to what is called asymmetrical federalism i.e. the constitutional recognition of differences in the status and powers of provincial governments in particular, it is against constitutional entrenchment of special status for Quebec. • The 1995 Quebec referendum, weeks after the referendum the Liberal government introduced a motion recognizing Quebec as a distinct society, assigning the province a veto over constitutional change. The federal motion, did not change the written constitution. De facto special status on Quebec in matters of constitutional reform. Whereby constitutional change is not the result of formal amendments to the written constitution but of developments in policy and practice whose status is greater than that of ordinary laws. Centre-Periphery Relations • The provincial governments of Ontario and Quebec ca
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