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Federal-Provincial Diplomacy

Federal-Provincial Diplomacy: The Making of Recent Policy in Canada

Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 380
  • Book Info
    Federal-Provincial Diplomacy
    Book Description:

    Back in Print. Winner of the Martha Derthick Best Book Award from the Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations Section of the American Political Science Asscociation.

    Federal-provincial negotiation is a central feature of Canadian policy making, however much of this process takes place outside public view and goes unreported in the press. InFederal-ProvincialDiplomacy, Richard Simeon uncovers the mechanisms behind the policy negotiations taking place amongst Canada's political leaders and bureaucrats. Simeon undertakes case studies exploring the creation of the Canadian and Quebec Pension Plan, the negotiations around financial and educational policies, and the early steps of putting together a new constitution. He then goes on to form a framework adapted from the literature of bargaining in international relations.First published in 1972 and reprinted in 1973,Federal-Provincial Diplomacyhas become a classic of Canadian policy studies with an influence stretching far beyond Canada's borders. Its importance was confirmed in 2005 when it was awarded the American Political Science Association's prestigious Martha Derthick Award for the best book in federalism and intergovernmental relations published at least ten years earlier. Featuring a new afterword, Simeon's work lives again for a new generation of policy analysts and students of federalism to enjoy and ponder.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7482-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-ix)
    John Meisel

    Federal-Provincial Diplomacyis the most apposite of the studies to be included so far in the series of books on decision-making sponsored by the Social Science Research Council of Canada. It makes a major contribution to our understanding of how Canada's eleven governments, trying to act together, responded to the country's regional and ethnic, political and economic differences, when attempting to formulate policies dealing with pensions, taxation, and constitutional change. At the same time, its fruitful theoretical framework permits generalizations to be made about decision-making in other instances and in other federations than those explored here.

    The vast majority of...

  4. Preface to the 2006 Edition
    (pp. x-xii)
    Richard Simeon
  5. Preface to the 1973 Edition
    (pp. xiii-xiii)
  6. Preface to the 1971 Edition
    (pp. xiv-xv)
  7. Chronology
    (pp. xvi-2)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 3-19)

    What is the relationship between federal and unit governments in federal systems? What factors shape this relationship? What are the consequences of federal structures and institutions for the processes of policy-making? And what part does negotiation among governments play in shaping policy? These are basic questions for understanding the nature of federalism. Yet the answers are elusive. For while federalism is one of the most common ways in which nations have organized their political institutions, the relationship of federal structures to the behaviour of decision-makers and ultimately to the kinds of policy which result is largely uncharted territory. This study...

  9. CHAPTER TWO The social and institutional context
    (pp. 20-42)

    The basic social and institutional underpinnings of federalism in Canada have many implications for the pattern of negotiation. In the previous chapter I suggested that the broad pattern of adjustment in federal systems is a product of the interaction of three levels of factors: first, the basic social structure of the system (is it what W.S. Livingston calls a ‘federal society’?¹ ); second, the institutional arrangements in the system – to a large extent these are products of the social structure, but they also have an independent life and effect of their own; finally, the particular goals, perceptions, and attitudes of...

  10. CHAPTER THREE ‘Better pensions for all’
    (pp. 43-65)

    Development of the Canada and Quebec, pension plans, working out the federal-provincial financial arrangements in 1966, and the constitutional debates are three of the most important issues for intergovernmental negotiation in recent years. Together these examples span a critical period in Canadian political history, therefore providing valuable insights into the operation of the negotiation process and, more broadly, the dynamics of the Canadian federal system. Before analysing the principal elements of the process in detail we need to set the stage by describing how the negotiations unfolded.

    Broadly, each negotiation proceeds through several stages. First the issue is raised and...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR The financial negotiations
    (pp. 66-87)

    ‘The holy spirit seems to have a marked horror for those mortal men who occupy themselves with the tax system,’ wrote a Quebec journalist during the confused Federal-Provincial Conference in October 1966.¹ Many would agree with him. The conference was the climax of the negotiations for the 1967–72 federal-provincial financial arrangements. They had begun, in a sense, with the hasty proposal to establish the Tax Structure Committee at the Quebec Conference in 1964.

    Negotiations on pensions and other issues in 1964 had shown how vulnerable Ottawa was to provincial pressures. The status of the federal government had been weakened,...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE The constitution
    (pp. 88-123)

    Both pensions and finances involved fundamental constitutional principles and basic questions about the sharing of responsibility in a federal state. By 1967 an explicit discussion of these problems could no longer be ignored and the process of constitutional review became the chief preoccupation of federal-provincial negotiation. Four years later the Constitutional Charter, 1971, emerged from the constitutional conference in Victoria. For a brief moment a limited consensus appeared imminent. A few days after it appeared, the charter was rejected. The discussions seemed certain to continue, but much less intensively. The eventual outcome seemed as distant and shadowy as ever. The...

  13. CHAPTER SIX Sites and procedures
    (pp. 124-145)

    The Canadian constitution did not envisage the need for extensive federalprovincial negotiations. It was not expected that the various governments' functions would overlap much; and, in case they did, the constitution tried to make sure there was no doubt who would win by granting Ottawa the power to disallow provincial legislation, to appoint senators, and to appoint lieutenant governors.¹ But with the demands of the modern state and the resulting increase in federal-provincial interaction, the need to develop a set of institutions within which adjustment could take place became crucial. This was especially true because of the failure of parliamentary...

  14. CHAPTER SEVEN The issues
    (pp. 146-161)

    Pensions, dollars, and the constitution represent just three of many issues that have arisen for negotiation in the federal-provincial arena in recent years. We have already touched on a few of these. Others include the development of a comprehensive welfare programme (the Canada Assistance Plan), comprehensive medical insurance, and even some foreign policy questions. Why do such issues arise? What do they have in common? What are the stakes and how are they defined? Along what dimensions do the issues vary, and what consequences do these variations have for the operation of the negotiations and for the results? In this...

  15. CHAPTER EIGHT Goals and objectives: the bases of conflict
    (pp. 162-200)

    Should the pension plan be funded or 'pay-as-you-go'? Should the federal government increase tax abatements to the provinces or let them raise their own money? Equal treatment for all provinces or a 'statut particulier' for Quebec? One equalization formula or another? A new constitution? If so, what will it be? On these and many other issues the federal government and the provinces have disagreed. This chapter investigates the goals and objectives each government brought to the negotiations and explores intergovernmental patterns of conflict.

    Several questions underlie the chapter. First, what are the bases of conflict? Is it rooted in party...

  16. CHAPTER NINE Political resources
    (pp. 201-227)

    Given their goals and objectives the actors try to achieve them through the expenditure of political resources. But what kinds of resources do they have? What are they based on? What are their characteristics and limitations? Robert Dahl has stressed the rich variety of things which can provide the basis for political resources. He also noted that many participants do not fully exploit their potential resources; there is much slack hi the system.¹ I shall concentrate on another vital aspect of political resources: their distribution is highly variable and relative to both the issues and the time. More important, resources...

  17. CHAPTER TEN Strategies and tactics
    (pp. 228-255)

    The mere possession of political resources does not ensure success, for they must be exploited in various strategies and tactics. This chapter examines some of the techniques used by the Canadian decision-makers. In the first section are suggested some of the factors which condition the kinds of tactics used. For while the potential range of actions may range the gamut from armed conflict to amicable discussion, in fact a series of constraints - some self-imposed by the decision-makers' own values, others stemming from the structure of the bargaining situation - places important limits on the kinds of behaviour that can...

  18. CHAPTER ELEVEN The outcomes
    (pp. 256-277)

    What is the result of the negotiating process? How can different cases be explained? Does the federal-provincial bargaining process we have described really make a difference for the kinds of policies that get made? The answers are of great significance for understanding the effects of a particular form of policy-making on actual policy results. The outcomes described in this chapter differ in some important ways. These differences arise from variations in the patterns of the central variables – issues, procedures, goals, resources, and tactics – which have been previously considered.

    The pension plan which emerged after two years of negotiations was very...

  19. CHAPTER TWELVE Consequences
    (pp. 278-297)

    The process of federal-provincial negotiation depends broadly on some of the basic social and institutional characteristics of Canadian federalism. The process, in turn, shapes policy outcomes in some important ways. Finally the process and its outcomes have consequences for the system and for particular groups within it. There is a feed-back process, and through it some of the broader implications of federal-provincial negotiations for Canadian federalism may be examined. It is difficult to measure such effects, since they mingle inextricably with other complex factors, and since one or two incidents may make little discernible impact in themselves.

    Furthermore, the impact...

  20. CHAPTER THIRTEEN Conclusion: federal-provincial diplomacy
    (pp. 298-313)

    This study has shown that negotiation between federal and provincial governments is a central feature of the Canadian federal system. I have tried to suggest some of the reasons why this process is so important, how it works, and what some of its consequences are. What can we conclude about the nature of this process? What implications does the study have for some basic questions about relations between central and state governments in federal countries? How does the Canadian case help in understanding the relationship between broad structural characteristics of political systems and the process of policy-making? What does it...

  21. Postscript
    (pp. 314-332)

    Federal-Provincial Diplomacy:The Making of Recent Policy in Canadaexplores the dynamics of intergovernmental relations as they played out through the 1960s, on issues such as the development of the Canada and Quebec pension plans, fiscal arrangements, and the constitution. These were dramatic years for the federation. There was the Quiet Revolution in Quebec and its aspiration to be‘maîtres chez nous.’The postwar welfare state was completed, not only with pension reform, but also with passage of Medicare, the Canada Assistance Plan, and other measures. Fiscal federalism was dramatically reshaped, with large tax transfers to the provinces and the...

  22. Index
    (pp. 333-342)