Textbook Notes (368,123)
Canada (161,661)
POLS 2300 (129)
Chapter 4

POLS 2300: Textbook Notes on Chapter 4 - Federalism

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Political Science
POLS 2300
Tamara Small

Politics*2300- Canadian Government in Transition Chapter 4 Reading Contested Federalism The Concept of Federalism - Sovereign state wields authority and power in that it is capable of maintaining order within its territory - Unitary systems- centralized, one-level political systems o Constitution provides for a single level of sovereign power in the country o Examples found in Britain, France and Japan - Federal System- the legal powers are divided between a central government and regional governments in such a way that each level of government has come kind of activities on which it makes final decisions o There is more than one level of government over the same geographical territory o Constitution specifically divides jurisdictional powers between central government and the regional government(s) o Example found in Canada - Over 15 times more unitary states than federal states in the world o Twenty-one federal states but contain about half the world’s population - Constant rival between federal and provincial governments because they govern the same people and territories - Federalism is constantly changing to meet the needs and circumstances Origins of Canadian Federalism - Federal union established in 1867 - Confederation- a form of political organization that very loosely unites strong provincial or state units under a weak government The Federal-Provincial Division of Powers - The ten provincial constitutions follow the federal pattern - Provincial legislatures are elected for a maximum of five years and, unlike the federal Parliament, which has two houses, today the provincial legislatures are all unicameral - The constitution provided much more authority to the federal government, giving it three centralizing constitutional powers: o Disallowance- the power to disallow provincial legislation, even though the subject matter of the legislation was assigned to the provinces by the BNA Act o Reservation- refers to the constitutional ability of lieutenant- governors to reserve provincial legislation for federal approval o Veto- the power to block legislation or to block a constitutional amendment by use of the royal prerogative - Today, Canada is certainly not a quasi-federal state - Problems over the Division of Powers o Omissions created a void that both federal and provincial authorities sought to fill to their own advantage after Confederation o Declaratory power- the federal government is allowed to assume jurisdiction over any “work” considered to be for the benefit of Canada as a whole o Only exclusively federal areas appear to be defence, veterans’ affairs, the postal system and monetary policy o Only exclusively provincial areas appear to be municipal institutions, elementary and secondary education and some areas of law related to property and other non-criminal matters o Concurrent powers- shared between the Parliament of Canada and the provincial legislatures Shifting Patterns of Canadian Federalism - From 1867 to the Late 1950s o Central government was meant to be predominant o A consistent pattern of JCPC decisions favoured provincial over federal rights o Federal government offered provinces various grants to help financially, on the condition that the money be spent in a specified manner o The federal government became a focus of patriotism and loyalty for most Canadians - The 1960s to the Early 2000s o Provinces needed financial relief o Important social changes were occurring in Quebec and Western Canada o 1960s and 1970s were characterized by less cooperation and more confrontation between the two levels of government o Soon, the ten provincial premiers approached the final bargaining table as an unified group opposed to the federal government o In the 1980s, federal-provincial relations reached a new level of hostility Money and Federalism: Four Key Problems - Obtaining and spending money have been, and remain, crucial aspects of federal-provincial relations in Canada - The Four Problems: o 1. These has always been a fundamental incongruence between jurisdictional responsibilities and sources of revenue at the two levels of government o 2. The fact that the wealth of the provinces has always differed widely.  The ability to obtain high tax revenues has shifted from province to province o 3. Resulted from the joint occupancy of tax fields  Direct Taxation-
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