Federalism in Canada: Contested Concepts and Uneasy Balances

By Thomas O. Hueglin

© 2021

Federalism in Canada tells the turbulent story of shared sovereignty and divided governance from Confederation to the present time. It does so with three main objectives in mind. The first objective is to convince readers that federalism is the primary animating force in Canadian politics, and that it is therefore worth engaging with its complex nature and dynamic. The second objective is to bring into closer focus the contested concepts about the meaning and operation of federalism that all along have been at the root of the divide between English Canada and Quebec in particular. The third objective is to give recognition to the trajectory of Canada’s Indigenous peoples in the context of Canadian federalism, from years of abusive neglect to belated efforts of inclusion. The book focuses on the constitution with its ambiguous allocation of divided powers, the pivotal role of the courts in balancing these powers, and the political leaders whose interactions oscillate between intergovernmental conflict and cooperation. This focus on executive leadership and judicial supervision is framed by considerations of Canada’s regionalized political economy and cultural diversity, giving students an interesting and nuanced view of federalism in Canada.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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With a focus on the dynamics of actors, institutions, and the processes embedded in considerations of regional and cultural diversity, this book traces Canada’s sovereignty journey.


Federalism in Canada: Contested Concepts and Uneasy Balances

By Thomas O. Hueglin

© 2021

Federalism in Canada tells the turbulent story of shared sovereignty and divided governance from Confederation to the present time. It does so with three main objectives in mind. The first objective is to convince readers that federalism is the primary animating force in Canadian politics, and that it is therefore worth engaging with its complex nature and dynamic. The second objective is to bring into closer focus the contested concepts about the meaning and operation of federalism that all along have been at the root of the divide between English Canada and Quebec in particular. The third objective is to give recognition to the trajectory of Canada’s Indigenous peoples in the context of Canadian federalism, from years of abusive neglect to belated efforts of inclusion. The book focuses on the constitution with its ambiguous allocation of divided powers, the pivotal role of the courts in balancing these powers, and the political leaders whose interactions oscillate between intergovernmental conflict and cooperation. This focus on executive leadership and judicial supervision is framed by considerations of Canada’s regionalized political economy and cultural diversity, giving students an interesting and nuanced view of federalism in Canada.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 336 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Author Information

    Thomas O. Hueglin Thomas O. Hueglin is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Wilfrid Laurier University.
  • Table of contents

    Prologue: Approaches to Canadian Federalism
    A Personal Account by Means of Acknowledgement
    Contested Concepts as the Underlying Dynamic and Central Theme
    Organization and Outline

    1 An Introductory Understanding of Canadian Federalism
    Shared Sovereignty
    Power of the Courts
    Sunny Ways of Compromise
    Fiscal Imbalance
    Executive Dominance
    Imperfection

    2 Confederation
    Coming Together Lately
    Relics of Empire
    Unitary Impositions
    Federal Accommodations
    Parliamentary Concessions
    “Indians”
    An Incomplete Contract

    3 Judicial Interpretations
    Pith and Substance
    From Need to Necessity
    Beyond Provincial Concern
    Federalism Demands Nothing Less
    Law and Politics

    4 From a Crisis of Capitalism to a Crisis of Federalism
    Dramatic Crisis and BNA Act Federalism at a Loss
    Prairie Populism
    Enlightened Reactionaries
    Rowell-Sirois Commission
    Reversal of Functions

    5 Mostly Fiscal Relations
    Tax Sharing
    Cost Sharing
    Fiscal Equalization
    Under the Indian Act
    Fiscal Imbalance and the Spending Power

    6 Difference, Dependency, and Displacement
    Quebec Nationalism
    Western Alienation
    Eastern Dependencies
    Indigenous Displacement
    Regionalism and Federalism

    7 Patriation and the Constitution Act, 1982
    The Long Road to Patriation
    Amendment
    Charter
    Aboriginal Rights
    Flexible Renewal

    8 The Unfinished Business of Canadian Federalism
    Constitutional Politics
    Secession and Clarity
    Interstate Federalism and Intrastate Federalism
    Indigenous Land Rights and Self-Government
    Shifting Identities

    9 Contested Concepts of Canadian Federalism
    A Plural Compact of Provinces or a Dual Compact of Nationalities?
    How Much Autonomy or Interdependence?
    Treaty Federalism

    Epilogue: Still a Federal Country
    Bibliography
    Index

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