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Partisanship, Globalization, and Canadian Labour Market Policy

Partisanship, Globalization, and Canadian Labour Market Policy: Four Provinces in Comparative Perspective

  • Book Info
    Partisanship, Globalization, and Canadian Labour Market Policy
    Book Description:

    Globalization is widely believed to have restricted the freedom of policy makers - many fear that the forces of a global economy prevent different political parties from making substantially distinctive policy choices. InPartisanship, Globalization, and Canadian Labour Market Policy, Rodney Haddow and Thomas Klassen explore this contentious issue by comparing labour market policy in Canada's most populous provinces, Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and Alberta, between 1990 and 2003.

    Using the most up-to-date theoretical approaches available, Haddow and Klassen examine industrial relations, workers' compensation, occupational health, employment standards, training, and social assistance, measuring the impact of partisanship and globalization on policy-making in these areas. They situate Canada in relation to recent international scholarship on the comparative political economy of developed democracies, and explore the role that institutions play in conditioning labour market policy.

    Partisanship, Globalization, and Canadian Labour Market Policywill not only be of interest to experts working in the field of labour market policy, but also to students and teachers of comparative political economy, partisanship, and governance in Canada.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7827-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Part 1: Context

    • 1 Partisanship, Globalization, and Political-Economic Institutions in Labour Market Policy-Making
      (pp. 3-33)

      Globalization is now widely believed to have reduced the ‘degrees of freedom’ available to policy-makers in developed capitalist nations. The present study contributes to the debate about this contention. It examines the limits of the possible in one such nation - Canada - in a policy field that represents a crucial test of globalization’s putative effect. This book compares the impact of partisan differences among governing parties on labour market policy-making from 1990 to 2003 in four Canadian provinces: Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and Alberta. Measuring partisanship’s impact on policy-making allows us to assess the room to manoeuvre now available...

    • 2 Welfare State, Production Regime, and Party System in Four Canadian Provinces
      (pp. 34-64)

      The institutional typologies developed in chapter 1 will now be applied to the four Canadian jurisdictions - Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and Alberta - addressed in this study. This is not a straightforward task, for three reasons. One of these is generic to the application of typologies to individual cases: the latter only ever ‘fit’ the former approximately. The other two reflect specific features of the cases examined here. First, it has proven particularly difficult to apply categories developed by the comparative welfare state and production regime literatures to Canada, and most studies have not done so in great detail....

    • 3 Historical and Federal Context of Provincial Labour Market Policy in Canada
      (pp. 65-90)

      Labour market policy in Canada consists of a complex set of arrangements, in terms of constitutional jurisdiction, historical developments, and institutional structures. Of particular importance is the prominent role of provinces in most aspects of labour market policy, an atypical arrangement when compared to most other nations, and the reason why this book focuses on sub-national jurisdictions. The objective of this chapter is to outline the major characteristics of this field, including key historical milestones, focusing on the specific aspects of labour market policy under study in this book. It will review the nature of labour market policy in Canada,...

  5. Part 2: Case Studies

    • 4 Ontario: Policy Continuity amid Institutional Uncertainty
      (pp. 93-122)

      Ontario’s post-1990 labour market policy setting is less easily characterized in institutional terms than is the case for the other provinces examined in this study. Its political-economic institutions overlap with national ones more than is the case elsewhere: business organizations are only partly distinguishable from their national counterparts, and use organizational outlets that are often poorly differentiated from Canadian ones; and the economic role of the Ontario state has often been closely coordinated with Ottawa’s. It is nevertheless clear that, as in other English-speaking provinces, Ontario’s social democratic-tinged liberal welfare state is complemented by a broadly liberal market economy (LME)...

    • 5 Quebec: Legacies of Political-Economic Distinctiveness
      (pp. 123-152)

      Quebec’s policy setting diverges from the Canadian norm. Its welfare state broadly reflects the Canadian pattern of liberalism tinged by social democracy.¹ But its production regime and party system possess nonliberal features that deepened during the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s. Most corporate finance in Quebec derives from equity markets or retained earnings; inter-firm relationships generally have an arm’s-length character, and industrial relations are competitive and enterprise-based (see chapter two). But these liberal features are now alloyed to others more characteristic of coordinated market economies (CMEs). The Quebec state assumed an interventionist economic role during the 1960s and 1970s; it...

    • 6 British Columbia: Right Hegemony in a Polarized Liberal Polity
      (pp. 153-177)

      British Columbia is the most institutionally consistent of the jurisdictions examined in this study: a competitive liberal market economy (LME), a mostly market-oriented welfare state and a highly polarized party system – all hallmarks of a liberal institutional setting. Canadians have long entertained an image of British Columbia politics as ‘colourful’ and ‘extreme.’ Its labour movement was historically comparatively strong and militant, and it has long had a relatively strong centre-left party. The latter nevertheless normally finds itself on the opposition benches in the provincial legislature, facing a centre-right governing party that predominates politically, based on its secure electoral and financial...

    • 7 Alberta: One-Party Dominance and Neo-liberalism
      (pp. 178-200)

      Alberta represents a unique case in that, unlike the other provinces studied in this book, the same party ruled the province from 1990 to 2003. Indeed the Conservatives have been in power continuously since 1971, with Social Credit previously having governed uninterruptedly from 1935. As analysed in this chapter, the lack of a change in governing party did not mean that labour market policy (occupational health and safety, labour relations, workers’ compensation, employment standards, and active labour market measures) has remained static during the past 13 years, or necessarily shifted in accordance with the globalization thesis. This chapter begins with...

    • 8 Social Assistance and Employment: An Anomaly?
      (pp. 201-238)

      Social assistance policy has an important impact on labour markets. The accessibility and generosity of assistance benefits, which employable Canadians often turn to after exhausting their entitlement to federally administered employment insurance, conditions the terms on which people enter or exit the labour market. Furthermore, social assistance is important, and indeed more so in the past decade, for those in the labour market who are ineligible for Employment Insurance benefits, such as new entrants and those with marginal work histories. In recent years, moreover, provincial governments have modified their assistance systems to redefine categories of recipients previously deemed unemployable (such...

  6. Part 3: Reflection

    • 9 A Perspective from Abroad: Coordinative Institutions and Labour Market Reform in Germany
      (pp. 241-268)

      The theoretical literatures discussed in chapter 1 suggest that the impact of partisanship and globalization might be greater in a liberal welfare state and production regime than elsewhere. In order to shed light on institutional effects that cannot be captured by a study that focuses exclusively on generally liberal milieus of the type examined in the preceding chapters, this chapter examines recent developments in Germany’s conservative welfare state regime and coordinated market economy. As the two nations also have very different – inter-state versus intra-state – models of federalism, the parameters of labour market policy-making in Germany differ considerably from those in...

    • 10 Conclusion: Stepping Back and Looking Forward
      (pp. 269-286)

      The extent to which partisan choice remains meaningful in capitalist democracies, and whether these polities are now undertaking similarly market-oriented transformations of their domestic policies, are much discussed issues both in contemporary political science and in popular commentary. Writing in the mid-1990s, the late Italian political scientist Norberto Bobbio noted that ‘it is nowde rigueurto quote Sartre who, it appears, was one of the first to argue that left and right were empty vessels,’¹ adding that ‘perhaps [the] most decisive... reason for rejecting the left/right distinction ... is the claim that the two labels have become purely fictitious,...

  7. Appendix: Criteria for Rating Labour Market Policy Change
    (pp. 287-312)
  8. Notes
    (pp. 313-380)
  9. Index
    (pp. 381-390)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 391-392)