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Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs

Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs: 1996

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    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: 978-1-4426-7209-3
    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 1996
    (pp. xiii-2)
    (pp. 3-8)

    Votes and elections dominated Canadian politics in 1996, despite there being no federal election this year. The fallout from the second Quebec referendum on sovereignty, which had been so narrowly defeated in October 1995, drifted across the year’s political landscape. At the same time, though barely halfway into its mandate from the 1993 federal election, the Liberal government in Ottawa gave every indication of gearing up for another vote in 1997, while still dealing with the consequences of the last one on the issue of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Sandwiched between these votes, 1996 saw three provincial elections,...


    • Parliament and politics
      (pp. 11-58)

      On the third anniversary of their sweeping election victory in 1993, the Liberals issued a report card on progress towards attainment of objectives contained in the famous Red Book campaign manifesto (Globe and Mail, 24 October). The document was, according to Prime Minster Jean Chrétien, ‘a lot like our government: no bells, no whistles, no bull’ (25 October). Critics agreed that there were, indeed, no bells or whistles. Veracity was another matter. The governing party claimed to have kept 78 per cent of the promises made in 1993. As for the remainder, they were variously described as partially enacted, ‘in...

    • Ottawa and the provinces
      (pp. 59-70)

      After years of tumultuous feuding over the Quebec question and federal-provincial debts and deficits, Canadian intergovernmental relations stabilized somewhat in 1996. The dispute over Quebec’s role in Confederation was by no means settled by the razor-thin federalist victory in the October 1995 provincial referendum, however. In 1996, the Supreme Court of Canada accepted the challenge of determining the legality of a unilateral declaration of provincial independence while the federal government, determined to deconstitutionalize Canadian political discourse and avoid the poisoned atmosphere of multilateral federal-provincial summitry, moved throughout the year to deal with the provinces on a bilateral basis. Similarly, on...

    • Foreign affairs and defence
      (pp. 71-98)

      The year 1996 was a peculiar mix of old problems and new prospects for Canadian foreign affairs and national defence policy. Canada’s armed forces continued to wilt under intense public and media scrutiny in 1996, most of it generated by the seemingly interminable aftermath of the 1992–3 Somalia affair. As a result, defence policy seemed increasingly unclear, even irrelevant, as revelations of inadequate leadership, improper disclosure of information, and questionable ethics dogged a defence establishment under all but continual siege for most of the previous three years. On the other hand, foreign policy practitioners, although still criticized intensely for...


    • Ontario
      (pp. 101-123)

      In June, the Conservative government of Premier Mike Harris entered its second year in office, still vigorously pursuing its aim to fundamentally restructure the provincial public sector. Opposition to that restructuring, with significant leadership from the province’s public and private sector unions, continued to be displayed through organized days of protest, culminating in a two-day September event in Toronto. In the spring, the government’s plan to reduce and reorganize the Ontario public service was the focal point for a strike by the main union representing provincial government employees. During the strike, a violent clash erupted on the grounds of the...

    • Quebec
      (pp. 123-150)

      The October referendum of 1995 cast a large shadow over the life of the province of Quebec – affecting its economic vitality, demographic situation, English-speaking communities, and the language issue. In 1996 the governments and the populations of both Quebec and the rest of Canada came to terms with the close referendum result. The issue of sovereignty was shelved while the PQ government sought to address the problem of the province’s staggering levels of indebtedness. To observe the year in its totality would be to observe a sea change in the prevailing attitudes of the Parti Québécois concerning the role...

    • Nova Scotia
      (pp. 150-159)

      The prosecution of former Westray mine managers Roger Parry and Gerald Phillips for negligence in the explosion, which killed twenty-six miners in 1992, was stalled in appeals over inadequate Crown disclosure. Miners testified before a provincial inquiry that intimidation by managers and fear of job loss prevented them from expressing safety concerns. Officials, including former premier Donald Cameron, denied that mistakes by government led to the tragedy and blamed miners for unsafe practices (Globe and Mail, 29 May). Former Curragh chairman Clifford Frame and vice-president Marvin Pelley fought interprovincial subpoenas from the inquiry. The province pledged $500,000 to hire new...

    • New Brunswick
      (pp. 159-169)

      From a general perspective, this year seemed very much like its predecessor, with more cutbacks in the public sector both in terms of jobs and services. At the same time, still more firms either established or expanded existing call centres while a new finance minister seemed to be making progress in reducing New Brunswick’s horrendous debt. The new factor was a very angry and frustrated electorate, notably francophones, who erupted in sometimes spontaneous and other times carefully orchestrated protests against reduced UI benefits and more stringent rules for welfare recipients. Despite another easy electoral victory in 1995 and conspicuous support...

    • Manitoba
      (pp. 169-177)

      The Filmon government could (and did) take pride in the province’s economic performance in 1996. Their political base, however, eroded somewhat as the continued programs of restraint alienated the worst affected groups. Moreover, tempers in the Legislature flared as partisanship deepened. Speaker Louise Dacquay was the centre of controversy at the end of the legislative session in November, her impartiality being called into question by the Opposition. The Liberal Party selected a new leader this year.

      This was a comparatively busy session, resuming on 2 April and continuing (with a summer break) until 28 November. The budget was brought down...

    • British Columbia
      (pp. 178-188)

      The British Columbia political landscape in 1996 was coloured by confusion and surprise. There was confusion on the part of the public which had been duped into believing the NDP government had balanced the budget two years in a row. Surprise was evident on two accounts. First, in a come-from-behind election victory, the NDP was restored to power. In addition, the public was forced to realize that though the leader may have changed, the party, and its penchant for scandal, endured. In the Speech from the Throne, the government proffered its vision: ‘It will be BC’s second balanced budget in...

    • Prince Edward Island
      (pp. 189-197)

      The year 1996 in Prince Edward Island saw continued stable economic prosperity along with sweeping changes to the political landscape. The economy and fiscal climate tended to reflect the generally steady improvements found in the rest of Canada, while a revised electoral system, new political leadership, and a provincial election set the stage for more political change than PEI had experienced over the previous decade.

      A report by Statistics Canada in May pegged the economic growth in 1995 at 2.6 per cent, the second highest among Canadian provinces, due to the fixed-link bridge construction and a record potato crop. statistics...

    • Saskatchewan
      (pp. 197-212)

      It was a heady year for Saskatchewan in 1996. The United Nations rated it as the best province in the best country in which to live. A poll revealed that a majority of the people in the province expressed satisfaction with the quality of their lives. Those ratings and polls failed to note, however, that while the majority of the population was doing well and enjoying it, a significant portion was struggling. Other polls revealed that the province and some of its cities had some of the highest poverty rates in the country. While the government and the majority of...

    • Alberta
      (pp. 212-224)

      The year 1996 represented an important turning point in Alberta politics. In many ways, it marked the end of the ‘Klein revolution’ and the beginning of the post-revolutionary era. After three years of fiscal austerity, 1996 saw Alberta balance its budget. The budget was the first that was truly balanced through cuts to program spending. Although the province had reported a surplus in the previous year, Provincial Treasurer Jim Dinning suggested that this was due to unexpected energy revenues. Indeed, higher-than-expected energy revenues throughout the year created a steady flow of revenue into provincial coffers.

      This dramatic improvement in the...

    • Newfoundland and Labrador
      (pp. 224-235)

      The process of transition that has marked Newfoundland and Labrador for the past several years continued in 1996. In previous years, the transition was primarily an economic one, but in 1996 it reached into politics and education as first, Premier Clyde Wells stepped aside and second, the province pushed ahead with its plan to restructure the denominational education system that had been in place since the midnineteenth century. Still, the province continued to rebuild and restructure economically following the collapse of the cod stocks in the early 1990s, as other sectors, particularly oil and gas and mineral exploration, continued to...

    • Yukon and Northwest Territories
      (pp. 235-248)

      Sharp cuts to the all-important federal transfers to Canada’s two territorial governments dominated all areas of their economic and political development, but especially the long-discussed plans to divide the Northwest Territories (NWT). Other important northern institutions like CBC North were under similar pressure. In April, mounting financial and organizational problems engulfed the Inuit Tapirisat, the federal representative and advocacy group. Vice-president Mary Sillett replaced president Rosemarie Kuptana, who remained head of the international Inuit Circumpolar Conference.

      The federal presence, though essential, had an ambiguous history. The legacy of historical cooperation with the major Canadian churches in the maintenance of underfunded...

  9. Obituaries 1996
    (pp. 249-252)
  10. Index of names
    (pp. 253-268)
  11. Index of subjects
    (pp. 269-279)