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Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs

Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs: 1992

  • Book Info
    Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs
    Book Description:

    Featuring essays on parliament and politics, Ottawa and the provinces, and external affairs, the Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs provides a comprehensive account of the year?s events.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7205-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Canadian calendar 1992
    (pp. xiii-2)
    (pp. 3-10)

    As the economy began a slow recovery from the recession, governments across the country struggled to reduce deficits and cut government spending in almost every area of government policy, domestic and international. There was widespread activity in a variety of areas of social policy, involving both new policy development and restructuring, reorganization, and expenditure reduction in existing policies. Internationally, Canada signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and, as it reviewed and restructured international commitments, Canada remained an active contributor to peacekeeping activity. But the defining issue for Canadian politics and public affairs in 1992 was constitutional reform. Following...


    • Parliament and politics
      (pp. 13-58)

      For the second time in three years, efforts to enact constitutional amendments ended in rejection. The failure of the Charlottetown Accord to pass muster in an unprecedented October referendum meant that successive attempts to secure Quebec’s willing consent to the Constitution Act of 1982 had been turned back. Changes coveted by provinces and aboriginal groups, or at least deemed acceptable prices in exchange for a comprehensive agreement accommodating Quebec, also vanished. Why this happened was a matter of conjecture and perspective. Myriad clauses resulting from constant trade-offs made the Charlottetown Accord resemble either a finely woven tapestry or an artless...

    • Ottawa and the provinces
      (pp. 59-77)

      The year 1991 ended with the country embroiled in a bid by the federal government to head off another in a recurrent series of constitutional crises; this one occasioned by Quebec’s determination to hold a referendum on the province’s role in Canadian federalism no later than October 1992. Although the federal government had tried to downplay the failure of the 1987 Meech Lake Accord to receive the unanimous ratification of the provinces by its June 1990 deadline, in January 1992, the country was poised on the brink of calamity as a direct result of that failure. Forced to respond to...

    • External affairs and defence
      (pp. 78-134)

      Canadian foreign and defence policy in 1992 continued to founder between the shoals of domestic politics and budget constraints on the one hand and the continued uncertainties of the post-Cold War international system on the other. The Mulroney government’s fiscal policies, dominated by its war on the federal deficit and its fight against inflation, dictated reduced international commitments, defence cutbacks at home, and a vastly reduced military presence in Europe. Meanwhile, the crisis in the former Yugoslavia, events in Africa and Asia, and the need for expanded diplomatic contacts with the new Eastern European states and former Soviet republics demanded...


    • Ontario
      (pp. 137-165)

      Things did not improve much for the NDP during its second year of power. The economy was firmly in the grip of the recession, which severely restricted the government’s ability to implement some of its long-standing social democratic policies. Budgetary problems, strained relations with the police, and fairly minor but highly publicized ministerial mistakes dominated the political agenda.

      Premier Bob Rae went on province-wide television on 21 January to discuss the dismal state of the Ontario economy. Then, after directing government ministries in February to freeze all discretionary spending for the remainder of the fiscal year, Treasurer Floyd Laughren introduced...

    • Quebec
      (pp. 166-184)

      The year 1992 was marked by the pan-Canadian referendum on the Charlottetown Accord. Political life in Quebec was thus dominated in large part by the debate on its political and constitutional future. The report of the Bélanger-Campeau Commission, which had been tabled in March of the previous year, continued to serve as a reference point for the two main Quebec political parties. However, the parliamentary wing of the Quebec Liberal Party did not consider itself to be bound by the two main recommendations of report, any more than it had been by the party’s own constitutional program (the Allaire report),...

    • Nova Scotia
      (pp. 184-193)

      Nova Scotians were shocked in May by the tragic explosion at the Westray mine in Pictou county that left twenty-six miners dead. Already stunned by a multiple homicide at a North Sydney Macdonald’s restaurant, the province watched in sadness as exhaustive efforts by rescuers ended with the news that there were no survivors. Only fifteen bodies were recovered from the mine before the company halted the draegermen’s operations. The mine had been controversial because of allegations of special financial deals for friends of the government, and it had been plagued by production shortfalls and alleged safety violations before the accident....

    • New Brunswick
      (pp. 193-201)

      With his second electoral victory behind him and facing a weak and divided opposition, Liberal Premier Frank McKenna used the first year of his new term to address a bloated public service and an even larger public debt. His style was often imperious and undemocratic, but this was offset by his well-founded confidence that his goals were supported by most other New Brunswickers. And the results from the national referendum held 26 October showed that a majority of New Brunswickers agreed with his stand on the Charlottetown Accord. At the same time, there was little McKenna could do about the...

    • Manitoba
      (pp. 201-210)

      The summer told the story for 1992: unsettled, wet, and the coldest on record. Manitobans lacked the usual comforting warmth lingering from the long and sunny summer days and faced the winter with grim determination. The political agenda was similarly troubled and bereft of comforting news. The public voted overwhelmingly against the constitutional reform package proposed by the country’s political elite. The economy continued to be unpredictable and stagnant, with only a slow recovery in the offing. The legislative session was one of the most active of the Tory years, dominated by a budget that provided some small consolation in...

    • British Columbia
      (pp. 210-223)

      1992 marked the first full year of significant changes in British Columbia’s political landscape. Elected in October 1991, Mike Harcourt’s NDP government would be a model of political moderation, and not, as with the last NDP government of 1972–5, the vanguard of rapid and controversial changes. In a province where the politics of polarization allows for precious little ideological ‘middle ground,’ a moderate, deficit-conscious NDP would be an interesting creature, to say the least.

      Given the polarized nature of British Columbian politics and the longevity of its one-party-dominant system (with only a brief NDP interregnum in the early-to-mid 1970s),...

    • Prince Edward Island
      (pp. 223-231)

      Twice in 1992 it seemed as if the entire country had descended on Charlottetown. In late May and early June, members of over eighty academic associations in the humanities and social sciences met at the University of Prince Edward Island for the annual Learned Societies Conference. The University of PEI is the smallest institution to host the Learneds in many years and the six thousand individuals who registered for the conference taxed its resources to the full. However, the Learneds was a huge success for individual visitors, participating societies, academic publishers, and the university. What was most important to the...

    • Saskatchewan
      (pp. 231-242)

      Although the ins and outs had traded places in the Saskatchewan legislature in October 1991, the tone and content of the province’s politics remained remarkably unaltered in the new year. The sobering truth for politicians and the governments they lead was that little fundamental change is possible when the economy is depressed, the debt high, and the options for renewal few.

      The acrimony that infected the Saskatchewan legislature during the Devine years continued into the Romanow regime. The issues were distressingly familiar as well. Saskatchewan’s first budget in over a year came down in May. In the interval, the NDP...

    • Alberta
      (pp. 242-257)

      If there was a basic motif for Alberta politics and public affairs in 1992, it would be something along the lines of ‘Tories in trouble.’ At the federal level, opinion polls suggested that the Conservatives, who had dominated the province since 1958, were facing a strong challenge from the new Reform Party of Canada. The gradual disintegration of the Charlottetown constitutional referendum dramatically underlined this challenge. At the provincial level, the Conservative dynasty that had dominated the province under Lougheed and Getty since 1971 had seen a gradual erosion of its once-sterling reputation for fiscal and managerial competence, and looked...

    • Newfoundland and Labrador
      (pp. 257-266)

      After three years of steady economic decline, Newfoundland and Labrador had little reason for optimism as 1992 began. Further quota reductions loomed in the fishery, the world demand for newsprint and iron ore remained weak, and uncertainty continued to surround the Hibernia project. It proved, in fact, to be another difficult year that saw a further decline of over 3 per cent in real economic growth. And again, Ottawa provided much-needed help, this time with a compensation package for fishers and plant workers that limited the decline in total wages salaries to 1.2 per cent despite such a sharp drop...

    • Yukon and the Northwest Territories
      (pp. 266-282)

      The federal constitutional reform committee visited Whitehorse on 28 January. While many of the presentations recognized Quebec as a ‘distinct society,’ the other issues raised were revealing. For instance, the Yukon government demanded a new bilateral amending formula for the creation of new provinces. This demand would prove a major distraction from the NDP’s re-election campaign in the fall. Already having hosted the First Nations Circle on the Constitution in early January, the Council of Yukon Indians (CYI) wanted aboriginal peoples recognized as ‘distinct societies’ with inherent rights. During the year, the emergence of land and self-government agreements weakened CYI...

  9. Obituaries 1992
    (pp. 283-286)
  10. Index of names
    (pp. 287-298)
  11. Index of subjects
    (pp. 299-315)