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Chapter 4

POLS 2300 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Canadian Federalism, Concurrent Powers, Canada Social Transfer

Political Science
Course Code
POLS 2300
Tamara Small

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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
oConstitution provides for a single level of sovereign power in the
oExamples 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
oThere is more than one level of government over the same
geographical territory
oConstitution specifically divides jurisdictional powers between central
government and the regional government(s)
oExample found in Canada
- Over 15 times more unitary states than federal states in the world
oTwenty-one federal states but contain about half the world’s
- 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:
oDisallowance- the power to disallow provincial legislation, even
though the subject matter of the legislation was assigned to the
provinces by the BNA Act
oReservation- refers to the constitutional ability of lieutenant-
governors to reserve provincial legislation for federal approval
oVeto- 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
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