Responsible Government in Ontario
Published: December 1969© 1969
312 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
Ebook - PDF
By constitutional provision and judicial decision many fields of government activity which have been expanding rapidly since the Second World War fall under the jurisdiction of the provincial governments. The result has been an extraordinary growth in the scope of provincial government and a decided shift in power of the finely balanced federal system of Canada. Although there have been several studies on the federal side of the coin, little attention has been paid to the effect of growth of government activity on provincial politics.
The focus of this study is on government institutions in Ontario and, more particularly, on the effect of parliamentary changes (federal and provincial) on legislative-executive relations in the province. Ontario provides excellent material for a case study on this subject: to a large extent it establishes the trends which eventually occur in the other regions of the country.
Professor Schindeler emphasizes the importance of the role of the legislature as a check on the executive. (As Justice Frankfurter pointed out, "the history of liberty has largely been the history of observance of procedural safeguards.") He investigates the ways in which the executive branch of the Ontario government was adapted to cope with its increased responsibilities after the Second World War, and how the legislative branch was modified to allow it to understand, criticize, and so control the executive. At the same time, in order to create a standard for evaluating Ontario's institutions, the author compares this provincial set-up with the larger and more familiar models of parliamentary government at Westminster and Ottawa.
Professor Schindeler concludes that the situation in Ontario up to 1965 confirms the trend observed in other western democracies, that the legislative branch has been almost completely dominated by the executive which has been more readily modified to meet the demands of the social welfare state. A number of fundamental reforms suggested by Professor Schindeler throughout the book have now been implemented at Queen's Park.
"… will be especially welcome by students of federalism and of comparative politics since it is one of the few systematic studies extant of legislative institutions at the sub-national level." American Political Science Review