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Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs

Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs: 1990

Copyright Date: 1997
Pages: 344
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  • Book Info
    Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs
    Book Description:

    The Canadian Annual Reviewhas long been praised for its excellence. Known for its accuracy, readability, and insight, it offers a synoptic appraisal of the year's crises, controversies, and developments from both federal and provincial perspectives.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7203-1
    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)
    David Leyton-Brown
  5. Canadian calendar 1990
    (pp. xiii-2)
    (pp. 3-8)

    For Canadians, 1990 was a year of increasing political and economic disaffection. The principal culprit was the Meech Lake Constitutional Accord, including both some of its provisions and the process by which it was considered. The public’s disillusionment also extended generally to politics and politicians. While there were some significant successes in the area of aboriginal rights, there was also increasing aboriginal activism in the wake of Meech Lake, and the Oka confrontation erupted into violence. Economic decline moved into recession, and governments across the country struggled with growing deficits. In the environmental policy area, which might have been expected...


    • Parliament and politics
      (pp. 11-54)

      As 1990 came to a close, it was clear that many Canadians were anxious about the country’s political and economic outlook, and could be forgiven for surrendering to a mood of uncertainty. In the wake of the failed Meech Lake Accord, there were fears about the unity of the country, inspired by the prospect of revitalized separatism in Quebec. Not everyone mourned the accord itself, and still less the process behind it, but the possibility of a national split was dismaying. Meanwhile economic prospects had grown dim. While parliamentarians and economists debated whether a recession had taken hold, or disputed...

    • Ottawa and the provinces
      (pp. 55-73)

      The slow, painful demise of the Meech Lake Constitutional Accord completely dominated federal-provincial relations in 1990. The failure of the accord to be ratified by the Manitoba and Newfoundland legislatures by the 23 June deadline reverberated in virtually every other sphere of Canadian intergovernmental relations. Among the major initiatives that fell victim to the demise of the accord were ongoing talks on interprovincial free trade and national education standards, which collapsed as the government of Quebec refused to participate without having its constitutional concerns addressed. The consequences of the Meech Lake failure were felt much more broadly, however, in renewed...

    • External affairs and national defence
      (pp. 74-126)

      If 1989 was anannus mirabilis, marking the end of the Cold War, 1990 was the year for celebrating and taking stock of the miracles. Countries – Canada among them – struggled to cope with the changes and redefine the world and their place in it. In a speech on 13 September, titled ‘Canada in the World: Foreign Policy in the New Era,’ External Affairs Minister Joe Clark marvelled at the transformation of the world and at how completely it had structured foreign policy in 1990:

      The last year has brought into focus a revolution in global affairs, a transformation...


    • Ontario
      (pp. 129-157)

      Ontario voters did two highly unpredictable things in 1990: they defeated the previously popular Peterson Liberal government, and in its place elected the New Democratic Party for the first time in the province’s history. Against a backdrop of increasing economic distress, Ontario politics and public affairs in 1990 thus divide into two major parts, Liberal and NDP, separated by the summer election campaign.

      Even though the previous election had been held as recently as September 1987, Premier Peterson began in 1989 to lean towards going to the polls after only three years into his mandate, largely because of economic and...

    • Quebec
      (pp. 158-169)

      1990 was marked indelibly by the promise and failure of the Meech Lake Constitutional Accord. Hailed in 1987 as a new beginning for Canada and an emphatic yes to Quebec, the unravelling and eventual demise of the accord on 22 June was portrayed by many as a thunderous no to the province’s constitutional aspirations. The failure of the accord unleashed powerful nationalist sentiments throughout the province which had profound ramifications in all areas of Quebec life. That date stands as a watershed in Quebec’s relations within the federation, and once again brought the interminable constitutional crisis to the fore.


    • Nova Scotia
      (pp. 169-178)

      Nova Scotians contemplated life without ‘Honest John’ as Premier Buchanan resigned to accept a Senate appointment. Within the climate of political scandal, his potential successors for the Conservative leadership pledged a future without patronage. There was concern over the collapse of the Meech Lake Constitutional Accord and its possible fallout for the province. The royal commission on the Donald Marshall prosecution made recommendations to counter racism in the Nova Scotia criminal justice system. A major study on battered women and domestic violence was released, with new guidelines for police enforcement. Nova Scotia announced that its Medical Services Insurance (MSI) plan...

    • New Brunswick
      (pp. 178-185)

      This was a year with few highs and lows as New Brunswickers coped with their old adversary: a depressed economy. Despite calling three separate legislative sessions, the McKenna administration came up with just one major proposal, a universal public kindergarten program. The premier’s preoccupation with the Meech Lake proposals brought a collective yawn from an electorate faced with ever higher taxes and licence fees. The leaders of the three opposition parties, who still did not hold seats in the legislature, turned to the media to voice their disapproval of government policies and actions. Once again the NDP, led by Elizabeth...

    • Manitoba
      (pp. 185-192)

      The second session of the 34th legislature of the province of Manitoba turned out to be its last. After reconvening in January, the legislature sat until March. The dramatic negotiations over the Meech Lake Accord forced the legislature to reconvene in June, when Elijah Harper became the hero of the many Canadians who opposed the accord. Ironically, Gary Filmon, who had been an unenthusiastic supporter of the accord, was able to turn the events of 1990 in his favour, whereas Sharon Carstairs, the sworn enemy of Meech Lake, lost ground. In the September elections that followed, Mr Filmon won the...

    • British Columbia
      (pp. 192-204)

      1990 was a troubled year for British Columbia on both the political and the economic fronts. While declining political fortunes were nothing new, the province’s slide into recession compounded the government’s difficulties. During 1990, the governing Socreds entered the last year of their mandate, but events conspired to make it impossible for them to call a general election without facing certain defeat.

      As the year progressed, the deepening recession in central Canada prompted a flow of job seekers to move west, with net in-migration reaching a record total of 64,400. British Columbia​’s population reached 3,127,000 on 1 June, an increase...

    • Prince Edward Island
      (pp. 204-211)

      Despite the background of apparent national disintegration, declining transfer payments from the federal government, and economic recession, it was possible to say that things were not too bad in Prince Edward Island in 1990. Most of the key economic indicators showed little change over 1989. The fishery and tourism each had a sluggish year, but agriculture, buoyed by stong potato prices, and construction, led by several non-residential projects, had relatively good years. The provincial government was not particularly innovative in its policy development, so most public policy was routine. Only a handful of policy debates are likely to prove memorable,...

    • Saskatchewan
      (pp. 212-222)

      After the legislative fireworks of 1989, the Devine government adopted a policy of legislative avoidance in 1990. This was reflected in the short session (67 days versus 105), a 50 per cent reduction in the number of government bills introduced, greater use of order-in-council, and a new respect for public consultation to determine priorities. October 1990 marked the fourth anniversary of the last Conservative victory and, by tradition, should have witnessed another campaign. Despite much speculation over the most propitious date for a contest, none was called, conditions all round being deemed unfavourable for a Tory victory. The erosion of...

    • Alberta
      (pp. 222-235)

      Alberta spent 1990 in the shadow of federal politics. First, there were the unfolding events of Meech Lake. Second, there was the impact on provincial resource development policies of the federal judiciary’s increasingly robust reading of the national governmenti’s environmental responsibilities. Third, there was the steady growth of the Reform Party, whose popularity leaked into provincial politics, eroding the Conservative hegemony. Domestic politics were far more desultory and inconclusive.

      Like all Canadian jurisdictions, the Alberta government was confronted with a growing deficit. The problem was especially poignant in Alberta, however, where once-buoyant resource revenues had accustomed the government and electorate...

    • Newfoundland and Labrador
      (pp. 235-243)

      The year 1990 was an intense one in many respects for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It was a year of continued crisis for the province’s critical fishery resource. It was a year of heightened debate over the merging of community identities through municipal amalgamation. It was a year of acute economic concern as a projected $10 million surplus on current account transformed itself into a $120 million deficit at year’s end. Overshadowing all else, however, was the strong provincial stance assumed by Premier Clyde Wells on the Meech Lake Constitutional Accord.

      Keen provincial interest was aroused on 6...

    • The Yukon and the Northwest Territories
      (pp. 243-256)

      With the rest of Canada, the two northern territories shared a number of great themes in 1990. Indeed, the issues of fiscal restraint, recession, and the environment played with even greater force north of 60°, imposing change on two of the territories’ institutional pillars: resource extraction for export and centralized government services. As many of the territories’ great land claims moved towards settlement, these themes served to highlight the specific character of each territory and their shared differences from their provincial neighbours. As was often noted, both territories’ state centralism and capital-intensive resource extraction were in jarring, often painful coexistence...

  9. Obituaries
    (pp. 257-258)
  10. Index of names
    (pp. 259-270)
  11. Index of subjects
    (pp. 271-283)