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Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs

Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs: 1997

  • 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: 978-1-4426-7210-9
    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. Canadian calendar 1997
    (pp. xi-2)
    (pp. 3-8)

    The Liberal government had been elected in 1993 on a series of promises designed to eliminate the federal deficit and build the foundation for long-term growth in an era of budget surpluses. By 1997, it appeared that era was at hand. The government was on the verge of a balanced budget, inflation seemed to have been tamed, and so the leading economic policy question was, How should the surpluses, which the government expected to begin accumulating, be spent? In this context, despite there being nearly sixteen months left in its mandate, it is not surprising that, on 27 April, Prime...


    • Parliament and politics
      (pp. 11-53)

      Trends in long-term tracking by pollsters strongly suggested that the outcome of the 1997 general election was all but sealed long before the campaign began. After earning a majority victory in 1993, the Liberal Party had maintained a degree of public support that foreshadowed an easy reprise. Although the Liberal record in power was not unblemished or uncontestable, the government of Jean Chrétien could point to accomplishments such as reducing annual budget deficits to the point where they would soon be a memory, and generally conducting its affairs in a low-key manner. The party was poised to cultivate support in...

    • Ottawa and the provinces
      (pp. 54-66)

      After many years of loud public clashes and conflicts over the Constitution, 1997 proved to be the second year in which quiet but intense struggles between Ottawa and Quebec City occurred largely outside of the public spotlight. Both sides struggled to score public relations’ points on a variety of issues, but compared with the almost-decade-long contest over the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords, and the Halloween 1995 Quebec referendum, these fights seemed picayune and pedantic.

      This lull in the storm in 1997 allowed Ottawa to continue its agenda of deficit reduction and consensual federalism. Few major new issues arose in...

    • Foreign affairs and defence
      (pp. 67-96)

      The Somalia inquiry came to a noisy, rancorous end in 1997, the government fighting with its own commissioners for the first six months of the year but later admitting that it had accepted 132 of the inquiry’s 160 recommendations. With the promising, if controversial, tenure of Doug Young cut short by his defeat in the 1997 federal election, stewardship of the largely unwanted defence portfolio fell to Art Eggleton, who had barely arrived prior to the inquiry’s final report. Amid a flurry of commissions, reports, inquiries, recommendations, and scandals, the slow recovery of the Canadian Forces from Somalia, both morally...


    • Ontario
      (pp. 99-122)

      The Conservative government of Premier Mike Harris entered the third year of its mandate during 1997, and the Thirty-sixth Legislature likewise began the third year of its first session. The Assembly was called to resume sitting on 13 January and remained in session until 6 March; it recessed until 1 April and then continued, with occasional short breaks, until 3 July. It sat again from 18 August to 9 October, and from 17 November to 18 December. The Legislature passed forty-six public bills (and nineteen private bills) in that period, including several large and complicated pieces of legislation. The pace...

    • Quebec
      (pp. 123-136)

      The year 1997 in Quebec, like 1996, was marked by the repercussions of the referendum defeat of 1995. In his second year in office, Premier Lucien Bouchard focused on the economy and relegated the promotion of sovereignty, a less and less popular option with voters, to the back burner. The federalists, on the other hand, both in Ottawa and Quebec, put more effort and energy into challenging the Parti Québécois’s plans for independence politically as well as before the courts. Economically and socially, the provincial government was facing increasing dissatisfaction from a segment of the population and the emergence of...

    • Nova Scotia
      (pp. 136-145)

      The trial of Westray Mine managers Gerald Phillips and Roger Parry was declared a mistrial because of inadequate disclosure of Crown evidence. The Supreme Court of Canada ordered a new trial and also ordered the province to pay the two men’s legal bills. Mr Phillips filed a complaint against prosecutors for mishandling evidence. Two former Westray executives who resided in Ontario, Curragh chair Clifford Frame and president Marvin Pelley, were ordered by an Ontario court to testify at the provincial inquiry. But Justice Peter Richards issued his report without their testimony in December. The report concluded that mine owners ignored...

    • New Brunswick
      (pp. 146-156)

      Shortly after he led his Liberal Party to power a decade ago, sweeping all before him, Frank McKenna said publicly that ten years was ‘long enough’ for any politician to be premier. In April he denied rumours that he would leave, but come 10 October, ten years to the day after his 1987 triumph over Richard Hatfield, he did just that. Few New Brunswick premiers had tried as hard to turn the old province away from its have-not image and lessen its economic dependency on the resource sector. While his policies did not significantly reduce the unemployment rate, Mr McKenna...

    • Manitoba
      (pp. 156-164)

      The major event in the province in 1997 was undoubtedly the flooding that took place in much of the Red River Valley in April and May. The provincial economy continued to expand and, while the Progressive Conservative government suffered from a few slings and arrows, it seemed reasonably entrenched. The Liberal Party in Manitoba, however, seemed bent on self-immolation.

      Most economic statistics were encouraging. The economy, by most indicators, grew at least as fast as the national average. There were some less impressive aspects, however. Population increased by only about 4,000, to 1.142 million. For the first time in a...

    • British Columbia
      (pp. 164-178)

      Asian horoscopes named 1997 as the year of the bull. For British Columbians, however, it was the year of the fish – the year of the Pacific salmon. International and federal-provincial relations seemed to swirl around discussions and disagreements about fish, fishing regulations, and resource protection. It was a year in which Premier Glen Clark went from being a minnow on the national and international stages to being a changeling who was sometimes a fierce shark, and at other times a helpless seal. The federal government, Pacific Rim states, and even the U.S. president appeared to wonder at which moment...

    • Prince Edward Island
      (pp. 178-187)

      The year 1997 in Prince Edward Island saw a relatively slow-growing economy, a huge celebration associated with the opening of the Confederation Bridge, and legislative sessions that showed that political patronage was the single biggest domestic political problem for the Binns administration. The economy was affected by the ending of construction on the Confederation Bridge and the changes the bridge made in transportation to and from the Island. It was the first year of the Conservative government’s mandate and the provincial legislature was fraught with raucous debate.

      Predictions early in the year for PEI’s economy were that the province would...

    • Saskatchewan
      (pp. 188-204)

      In Saskatchewan, 1997 was an eventful year in politics and public affairs. There were major developments on the political front at the local, provincial, and federal levels. The provincial government continued to govern in ways that made it an interesting case study in progressive neo-conservatism as it tried to balance its socialist roots with the conservative demands of current political winds. Its ability to do so was facilitated by gods who continued to smile on the province by providing it with the fundamentals for an expanding economy. An indication of this was that the economy could still sustain the ‘Pride...

    • Alberta
      (pp. 204-220)

      It would be difficult to identify a period in recent memory where Alberta politics went through more upheaval than between 1993 and 1996. After cutbacks, layoffs, hospital closures, and protests, residents of Alberta emerged in 1997 with surplus budgets, a rapidly diminishing debt, some modest restoration of funding cut from the province’s education and health-care systems, and a provincial economy that was growing at levels not seen since the oil boom of the 1970s and early 1980s. This was a year of reflection, of taking stock of what the province had been through, and the beginning of a debate over...

    • Newfoundland and Labrador
      (pp. 221-231)

      In 1997, Newfoundland celebrated its history and welcomed new beginnings. The province marked the 500th anniversary of John Cabot’s landing in the New World, and Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were on hand at Bonavista on 24 June to greet a replica of Cabot’s shipThe Matthew, which had set out from Bristol, England, in May to recreate the historic voyage of 1497, when England laid claim to Newfoundland. Not surprisingly, it was a good year for tourism. It was also, finally, a year for the promoters of the Hibernia project to celebrate, as the long wait for oil...

    • Yukon and the Northwest Territories
      (pp. 231-242)

      Territorial decentralization, devolution, and aboriginal land settlements had been interlocked forces in the North over decades of negotiations. In 1997, while Yukon politics were dominated by a new government and the closure of its leading mine, NWT politics were dominated by pending division and the maturation of a new diamond sector.

      The Yukon government had promised in 1996 to assume more province-like powers from Ottawa and to complete final aboriginal land settlements. Both goals were at the centre of NWT politics. For its part, Ottawa maintained the controversial trend of cuts to First Nations and the transfer-dependent territories, while devolving...

  8. Obituaries
    (pp. 243-246)
  9. Index of names
    (pp. 247-258)
  10. Index of subjects
    (pp. 259-268)