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Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs 2008

Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs 2008

Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 320
  • Book Info
    Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs 2008
    Book Description:

    This installment of theCanadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairsreviews 2008: one of the most dramatic years in recent Canadian political history.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-2021-6
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-xii)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  4. Canadian calendar 2008
    (pp. xv-2)
    (pp. 3-12)

    2007 had appeared to be a year-in-waiting, but there are few who would have been able to predict just how significant and tumultuous a year it turned out we were waiting for! 2008 was marked by a global economic crisis that many compared to the Great Depression of the 1930s, while in Canada the year ended with a stunning constitutional crisis to rival, if not surpass, the King-Byng affair from the same era.

    As the year began there was good reason for thinking that there would not be a federal election in 2008. One of the Harper Conservatives’ early pieces...

  6. Parliament and politics
    (pp. 13-55)

    Just weeks after his party lost a significant number of seats while finishing a distant second in Canada’s fortieth general election, and already publicly committed to resigning as leader of the Liberals by May 2009, Stéphane Dion stood poised to become, improbably, the country’s next prime minister. Flanked by the leaders of the New Democratic Party and the Bloc Québécois at a press conference held on 1 December, Dion revealed the terms of agreements that would result in formation of a Liberal-NDP coalition government, propped up by the Bloc from outside in return for policy concessions, once the three parties...

  7. Foreign affairs and defence
    (pp. 56-91)

    The year 2008 featured several changes in significant Canadian foreign and defence affairs posts. On the civilian side, Maxime Bernier resigned as foreign affairs minister on 26 May. During 2008, criticism of Minister Bernier had grown because of a series of gaffes: the so-called Khalid and NAFTA-gate affairs and Canada’s response to Cyclone Nargis in Burma (see below). What finally ended his tenure in Cabinet, however, was more salacious. In mid-April he left confidential ministerial briefing notes in the residence of his then girlfriend Julie Couillard, who returned them to the government only on 25 May. National security concerns arose...

  8. Municipal affairs
    (pp. 92-104)

    At the beginning of the year there was cautious optimism about the Canadian economy, despite signs of a slowdown in the United States. As American difficulties accumulated and the collapse of Bear Stearns in March and Lehman Brothers in September exposed the fragility of the global financial system, forecasters kept revising downward their estimates of Canadian economic performance. The political crisis in Ottawa at the end of the year added to the uncertainty. Although there were municipal elections in three provinces, including British Columbia, they were overshadowed by the federal election in October and the drama of the American presidential...

  9. First Nations
    (pp. 105-120)

    Finance minister Jim Flaherty tabled the budget on 26 February. The Conservative government described the budget as balanced and prudent. Over the next two years the federal government pledged to provide $70 million to support educational agreements between all levels of government and First Nations communities, $147 million to integrate First Nations and Inuit health programs with those of the provinces, $330 million to improve access to safe drinking water in communities, and $43 million to improve child and family services on reserves (CBC News, 27 Feb.). The modest budget passed with the support of the Liberals and opposition from...

  10. British Columbia
    (pp. 121-136)

    2008 marked the 150th anniversary of the founding of British Columbia as a Crown colony. However, it was on the future rather than the past that the Liberal government of Gordon Campbell set its sights as it sought to burnish its credentials as a leader in the fight against climate change. To that end it unveiled a series of legislative measures designed to give effect to the green commitments the Premier had made the previous year. The most controversial of these was the introduction of a provincial carbon tax, which formed part of the February budget. In a curious reversal...

  11. Alberta
    (pp. 137-150)

    In the decade or so leading up to 2008, Alberta had experienced unprecedented growth and economic prosperity. As oil and gas prices climbed, the province was seemingly awash in money. Although this made Alberta the envy of Canada, the dramatic economic growth came with its share of challenges. The province’s employers found it difficult to attract and retain skilled employees, despite record numbers of people moving to the province. The rapid population growth also strained provincial infrastructure, even though the provincial government also saw record revenue and huge surplus budgets. Finally, the cost of living shot up, not only through...

  12. Saskatchewan
    (pp. 151-160)

    In 2008 Saskatchewan continued to experience the economic boom that had started to take hold approximately one year earlier. The boom produced unexpected and welcomed prosperity for Saskatchewan, which in turn altered its status from a have-not to a have province within the context of the Canadian fiscal equalization system. The boom made news well beyond the province as major media outlets in Canada and in the United States became intrigued by this dramatic historic occurrence. It seemed that Saskatchewan was finally emerging out of the stymieing shadow of Alberta, its economically privileged neighbour to the west that, through a...

  13. Manitoba
    (pp. 161-166)

    The growth rate for Winnipeg in 2008 was around 4 per cent, putting it first in the country. Average unemployment was 3.6 per cent, the best for all provinces, and especially important to fifteen-to twenty-four-year-old residents. As a group, the latter were the focus of attention by politicians and others who put great emphasis on keeping members of that age group in the province so that it could continue to compete. Retail sales and international trade were in good shape, and the construction drive generated spinoffs in manufacturing and finance. The number of building permits issued was down a little...

  14. The Territories
    (pp. 167-183)

    The steady political and economic emergence of the North persisted through 2008, continuing a trend that had accelerated since the election of the Conservative Party of Canada in 2006 and that had been under development for more than a decade. In years past the North had drawn national and international attention only rarely, often in association with environmental questions, issues relating to Aboriginal living conditions and land claims processes, and occasionally (largely unachieved) visions of subarctic and arctic resource-based prosperity. The federal election of 2008 resulted in the appointment of the first Inuit cabinet minister in Canadian history. More generally,...

  15. Ontario
    (pp. 184-201)

    At the beginning of 2008 the Ontario Liberal government was only a few months into its second term. Many of the issues that had been so critical in its first term – energy, health care, and education – received less legislative attention as the term progressed, since much of the government’s focus was directed to other concerns, including federal-provincial financing and First Nations (not least the continued occupation of a housing development in Caledonia). In addition, the decision of the federal Conservatives to call a fall general election distracted many voters from provincial affairs, although the Ontario government sought to use the...

  16. Quebec
    (pp. 202-220)

    The political rockiness of 2007 in Quebec continued largely unabated in 2008, as the main themes and issues that had preoccupied Quebecers stayed persistently at the forefront of public affairs.

    The conclusion of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission hearings (on practices of reasonable accommodation) in the last weeks of 2007 had seemed to calm down the often emotional, wide-ranging, and by then drawn out socio-political debates over the affirmation of Quebec’s key social values and the integration of immigrants and members of racialized minorities. However, the release of the Commission’s report in May brought the controversy back into the public arena. The...

  17. New Brunswick
    (pp. 221-231)

    The year was less than two weeks old when news of a New Brunswick tragedy spread across the land, the kind of news that every parent dreads. Shortly before midnight and less than five minutes away from their home town of Bathurst, a van carrying members of a local boys basketball team, returning from a tournament in Moncton, collided with a transport truck. Seven students were killed instantly, along with a female teacher, whose husband, also a teacher and the team’s coach, was at the wheel. Road conditions were treacherous from an all-day snow and sleet storm and the 1997...

  18. Prince Edward Island
    (pp. 232-238)

    In 2008 Prince Edward Island celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of the publication of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s bookAnne of Green Gables. PEI’s economy grew moderately, but more slowly than in the previous two years. Three Liberals and one Conservative candidate were elected in the federal election. The year brought an ice storm in the last week of January, causing widespread power outages, and record-breaking rainfall in August negatively affected the potato crop.

    In 2008 PEI’s economy expanded 0.9 per cent and the provincial GDP was estimated to be $4.7 billion.²³ Personal income grew an estimated 3.4 per cent to...

  19. Nova Scotia
    (pp. 239-250)

    In 2008 Nova Scotia marked the 250th anniversary of the first responsible elected legislative assembly in British North America. The cochairs, former premiers John Hamm and Russell MacLellan, led the Democracy 250 celebrations. Democracy 250 had a high profile at festivals, using education programs and a rock concert to teach citizens about this historical milestone and to encourage young people to enter political life. MLAs and other notables dressed in period costumes at a ball to celebrate the first sitting of the Legislature in 1758. That legislature of twenty members was selected by male British Protestant landowners and remained subordinate...

  20. Newfoundland and Labrador
    (pp. 251-264)

    In Newfoundland and Labrador 2008 began with a continuation of federal-provincial sniping over equalization and the Atlantic Accord. Following his meeting with Stephen Harper in St John’s on 30 November 2007, Premier Danny Williams (Humber West) peppered the Prime Minister with letters (dated 3, 11, and 18 December 2007 and 3 January 2008). The first letter made the case that Ottawa’s breaking its promise not to include non-renewable resource revenue in the equalization formula would cost the province $10 billion up to 2020–21, and that in compensation the federal government’s 8.5 per cent equity position and its net profits...

  21. Obituaries
    (pp. 265-270)
  22. Voting tables
    (pp. 271-272)
  23. Index of names
    (pp. 273-282)
  24. Index of subjects
    (pp. 283-300)