POL214Y1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Canadian Federalism

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5 Dec 2010
POL 214 Canadian Government and Politics
Chapter 7 Federalism
Main subject of discussion at Charlottetown and Quebec was the
relationship b/w new national and regional governments
! Self government guided by British parliament
! No framework for federalism
What is Federalism?
! Constitutional authority to make laws and to tax is divided b/w
national governments and regional governments
! Citizens are members of two political groups
! A legal term- based on the Constitution
! Sociological approach ! federal-type’ societies
! William S. Livingston
! Federalism is a function of society
! Constitutional approach is more corrects
! Dynamic of state power !institutionalizes regional divisions by
associating them with different governments
! Along territorial lines
! Decentralized/centralized balance
! Confederations and economic communities
" Formal groupings of independent states that have agreed to
assign certain legislative and administrative functions to a
common institution
The Origins, Maintenance and Demise of Federal States
! Only 24/193 members of UN have federal system of government
! Estimated b/c cant scientifically determine if country is federal
! Small club
! Unitary government is more popular
! General conditions present at the birth of Federalist states
! Agreement among regional components that the benefts of being a
union exceed costs of membership
" Consensus of regions
" Compromise
! Pierre Trudeau federalism has all along been a product of reason in
politicsits an attempt to find a rational compromise b/w divergent
interest groups which history has thrown together
! Pacts, contracts, bargains
! Soviet Union
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" Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, were made members of the Soviet
federal state against their will
(a) Post WWII deal b/w US and USSR
" Everyone split at the first sight of weakness
! Quebec wants to leave
" Sold out by cannibal kings
" Exploited for the benefit of other regions
! Once establish, federal state takes on a new dynamic
! Existence of national government
! National citizenship
! Sustained by sense of political nationality
" Reciprocal moral and legal claims on one another that have no
counterparts in their relations with others
! Loss of sense of unity ! state withers away
! The most stable federalist states are those where regional communities
share in a sense of political nationality that dampens the
decentralizing tendencies produced by regional differences
! What determines the strength of political nationality?
! Why do regional divisions acquire the status of independence
movements only some of the time?
" Regional inequality ! strains the sense of political nationality
" Ontario 2x as likely to feel the province is equal
! No direct correlation b/w answer to this question and level of
affection and loyalty that provinces feel towards Canada
! Regional grievances that threaten the stability of federalism
national movement
! Nationalism ! claims on behalf of both regions as well
communities that share ethnic, linguistic or other cultural traits
The Origins of Canadian Federalism
! Federal constitution was a Compromise
! Anglophones
" Much less enthusiastic about federalism
" George Brown thought it was beneficial to ease tensions b/w
French and English communities
! Francophone ! George-Etienne Cartier, wanted constitutional
protection fro cultural community
" Federal union that gave exclusive jurisdiction over linguistic
and cultural matters to the provincial governments
! Maritimes
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" Developed strong local identities
" Retain control over important resources
! Ottawa deals with matters of national interests (trade and commerce,
immigration, defense & transportation)
! Naïve to think that sectional rivalries and local interest would not
! Commercial interest wanted unification b/c easier to raise
investment capital
" Railroad contractors
! Needed a strong central government to carry burden of own
military defence and expansion
! John A. Macdonald (first PM)
! Thought provincial governments would be glorified municipalities
subordinate to Ottawa
! Ottawas responsibility
! Trade, commerce, shipping, fisheries, interprovincial
transportation, currency & banking, postal service
! Immigration and agriculture split b/w Ottawa and provinces
! Duty to build intercolonial railway (connect Montréal to Halifax)
! Military defence
! Maintain public order
" Split with provincials
! Taxation front superiority
! Quasi-federal
! Ottawa allowed to disallow laws passed by provincial legislatures
! Colonial relationship between Ottawa and the provinces by
permitting the federal government to disallow laws passed by
provincial laws
! Section 93- 3,4- the power to pass laws concerning education !
" When minority rights are abrogated by provinces
! Courts tend to ignore claims about the founding fathers of
confederations intentions
! Arguments from history do not lead to any consistent view or any
singly view of the nature of the BNA act
" Little profit in parading them
! Legally intentions dont matter
! Politically they do
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