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Provinces: Canadian Provincial Politics, Second Edition

edited by Christopher Dunn
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 3
Pages: 540
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Provincesis both a study of Canadian provincial government and a review of comparative politics. As such, it represents a long overdue return to the comparative tradition with its emphasis on subject-specific studies across the country.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-0320-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-6)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 7-8)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 9-18)

    This is the second edition of a very successful work on Canada’s provinces. When it was first published, it was long overdue: a generation of students had come and gone in Canada without the benefit of comparative, subject-specific studies of provincial societies. There were, and there continue to be, a number of province-specific reviews of provincial affairs—and well done they are indeed. Yet the time had come to re-emphasize the comparative tradition in Canada.

    Now it is time to integrate into the provincial studies some of the vital concerns of the new decade and millennium: a disquiet about the...

  4. Part I: Surveying Provincial Political Landscapes

    • CHAPTER 1 Provincial Political Cultures
      (pp. 21-56)
      Nelson Wiseman

      Political culture refers to deeply rooted, popularly held beliefs, values, and attitudes about politics. Culture is pervasive, patterned, cross-generational, enduring, and relatively stable. It is more like climate than like the weather of transitory political events. It is an abstraction, an idea, and as such it is more elusive, more open to interpretive dispute, and harder to fix than a society’s composition or economic status. By the 1960s there were over 250 available definitions and uses of the concept of culture.¹ Cross-national comparative studies of political cultures and cultural change are as old as the study of politics; indeed, there...

    • CHAPTER 2 Provincial Politics in the Modern Era
      (pp. 57-94)
      Rand Dyck

      This chapter looks at a few of the prominent features of the politics of each of the ten Canadian provinces over the past 15 or 20 years. Before discussing some of the highlights in each province, however, it is worth noting what they had in common. In fact, despite their many differences, the provinces were very similar over this period, primarily in terms of public finance. They were all subject to a general consensus that the role of the provincial state should be reduced and that their budgets should be balanced on an annual basis. The distinctiveness of this set...

  5. Part II: Democracy, Provincial Style

    • CHAPTER 3 Many Political Worlds? Provincial Parties and Party Systems
      (pp. 97-114)
      David K. Stewart and R. Kenneth Carty

      In 1993, Canada’s national party system was hit by an electoral earthquake that fundamentally reshaped the country’s politics. The changes that flowed helped to usher in what Cartyet al.have described as the fourth party system.¹ In this new party system, the Liberal Party has been able to dominate its opponents and form governments despite winning little more than 40 per cent of the popular vote in an era of declining turnout. Opposition support has been divided among several parties, each with some regional strength, but none with a realistic chance of winning office. Indeed, the Liberal Party’s vote...

    • CHAPTER 4 Electoral Democracy in the Provinces and Territories
      (pp. 115-144)
      Donald E. Blake

      Canadians live in two political worlds. They are simultaneously members of the national polity and of the provincial or territorial polity in which they reside. Although part of the same federation, within the limits set out by constitutional provisions such as the parliamentary system and theCharter of Rights and Freedoms,provinces are free to vary their constitutions, including their electoral systems, arrangements for redrawing constituency boundaries, and the rules governing election campaigns. Although lacking the constitutional status of provinces, the territories of Yukon, NWT, and Nunavut have considerable authority over electoral procedures as well.

      For much of the twentieth...

    • CHAPTER 5 Legal Portrait of the 2003 Ontario General Election
      (pp. 145-174)
      Gregory Tardi

      On Tuesday, 2 September 2003, the PC premier of Ontario, Ernie Eves, announced that the province’s thirty-eighth general elections were to be held on Thursday, 2 October 2003. This call gives us an opportunity to look at elections as one of the vital components of democracy, focusing on the applicability of the rule of law and, more particularly on the role of law in matters electoral.

      The perception generally held of electoral events is that they are not only exclusively political in nature, but also that they are the highlights of the political life of a jurisdiction, recurring at regular,...

    • CHAPTER 6 Provincial Political Data Since 1900
      (pp. 175-212)
      Alan Siaroff

      The following tables provide for the period since 1900: (i) a summary of all election results; (ii) statistics on electoral concentration, competition, and bias; (iii) information on electoral systems; and (iv) a list of all premiers with related information.

      Note that vote percentages are based on total valid votes. In certain provinces individual voters did cast multiple votes in dual-member or multi-member districts, but it is the total votes (not voters) that matter here.

      Note also that the term Conservative is used continuously for simplicity, rather than switching to “Progressive Conservative”....

  6. Part III: Provincial Structures and Processes

    • CHAPTER 7 Premiers and Cabinets
      (pp. 215-254)
      Christopher Dunn

      Provincial government is cabinet government. It has sometimes been called “premier’s government,” but this contention is true only in a limited sense. It is possible to confuse the indisputable fact that premiers are the most important actors and determiners of consensus in provincial cabinets with dominance and “dictatorship.” In fact, premiers see their job in the modern cabinet as the establishment of teams, and teams need to be worked with, not dominated. Although premier’s government does appear in certain contexts, the move toward the institutionalized cabinet has made the dominant premier pattern not necessarily impossible but harder to achieve. Power...

    • CHAPTER 8 Evaluating Provincial and Territorial Legislatures
      (pp. 255-278)
      Graham White

      Legislatures are the central democratic institutions in Canada’s provinces and territories. Like other Canadian political institutions, however, legislatures have fallen into disrepute, in part because they are widely perceived as unresponsive and unrepresentative. Their activities are seen by many as little more than mindless, futile exercises in partisanship.

      Judgements as to provincial legislatures’ effectiveness and their realization of democratic ideals depend very much on the criteria brought to bear: Are important policy decisions actually made by legislatures, or are legislatures simply bestowing formal approval on decisions taken elsewhere, for example, in the bureaucracy or the cabinet? Are individual legislators and...

    • CHAPTER 9 Court Systems in the Provinces
      (pp. 279-300)
      Carl Baar

      Courts are fundamental elements of legal authority in Canada. They are also an essential part of the governing institutions in every province and territory. The administration of justice has been a provincial responsibility under the original terms of theConstitution Act, 1867.²Yet at the same time the courts, at the centre of the justice system, are disengaged from provincial political life.

      Of course they are, you might respond. That’s the whole point of having courts. While they are public institutions supported by taxpayers’ money, they are supposed to stand apart from politics and apart from the government of the...

    • CHAPTER 10 Intergovernmental Relations from the Local Perspective
      (pp. 301-336)
      Richard Tindal and Susan Nobes Tindal

      Local governments must get beyond the limiting mindset that they are but constitutional orphans who must constantly plead for better treatment from the provincial (and federal) government. They need to recognize their growing importance, convey that reality more forcefully to their local communities, and build their strength upward from that local foundation.

      The examination of intergovernmental relations usually begins with the traditional hierarchical approach, tracing municipal relations upward—to the province, the federal level, and even the international sphere. While these relationships are essential to an understanding of municipal operations and their scope and constraints, they certainly do not tell...

    • CHAPTER 11 A Nutshell Reminder of the Evolution of Canada’s Territories
      (pp. 337-350)
      Gregory Tardi

      It is not a coincidence that the expression “The True North, Strong and Free” is included in Canada’s national anthem. Its use is as reflective, domestically, of the significance of the territories which comprise the sizeable northern portion of the country as it is, internationally, of the northerly nature of the entire country on the world stage. While the part of Canada that is organized in the territorial, rather than the provincial, form of government carries relatively little weight in national politics, law, and society, it has been, and continues to be, of enormous geopolitical significance to the country. The...

  7. Part IV: Provincial Political Economies

    • CHAPTER 12 De-Mythologizing Provincial Political Economies: The Development of the Service Sectors in the Provinces 1911-2001
      (pp. 353-372)
      Michael Howlett

      As the chapters by David Foot, Nelson Wiseman, and others in this volume attest, the background conditions under which provincial politics play out are affected by a diverse range of phenomena. These include the common sets of ideas provincial citizens hold about such things as the nature of justice, fairness, and “good government” as well as the basic characteristics of the population, including its age structure and other demographic variables. These conditions help identify some of the issues which a populace will find important—such as pensions and health care for an aging populace or schools and education for a...

    • CHAPTER 13 Balancing Autonomy and Responsibility: The Politics of Provincial Fiscal and Tax Policies
      (pp. 373-412)
      Geoffrey E. Hale

      Canada’s ten provinces wield greater power and discretion through the working of their fiscal and tax policies than do the subnational governments of almost any other federal system of government. Provincial and territorial governments have accounted for a larger share of total government spending than the federal government since the early 1990s. Since the mid-1990s, provinces have also raised a larger overall share of public sector revenues than the federal government.

      However, these figures conceal considerable differences in the political priorities which guide tax and spending decisions in individual provinces, the level of fiscal autonomy—the capacity of provinces to...

  8. Part V: Provincial Public Policy

    • CHAPTER 14 The Realignment of Government in the Provinces
      (pp. 415-434)
      Karen Bridget Murray

      Among political scientists in Canada and elsewhere, the question of the changing role of “the state” has been a central research theme. Especially since the mid-1990s, a large body of research has attempted to evaluate the extent and causes of government retrenchment, a focus captured in phrases such as the “retreating,” “shrinking,” “hollowing out,” or “dismantling” of the state. Others have questioned theories of retrenchment, emphasizing what they argue to be the development of a “new kind of state.”³

      Canadian researchers, as one study suggests, have been particularly influential in enhancing our understanding of the role of federalism in shaping...

    • CHAPTER 15 The Policy Implications of Provincial Demographics
      (pp. 435-466)
      David K. Foot

      Demographers study human populations, including their characteristics, needs, and behaviour. People are the cornerstone of all government. In a democracy, they vote for the members that constitute the government. They pay taxes that provide the means by which government can initiate and implement policies and deliver programs, and they are the beneficiaries of these government services. They constitute the workforce of government. In many jurisdictions, including Canada, population numbers are used to define electoral boundaries. In all of these aspects, therefore, demographic analysis provides useful insights into the workings of government.

      Variations in demographic profiles are likely to result in...

    • CHAPTER 16 Women’s Status Across the Canadian Provinces, 1999-2002: Exploring Differences and Possible Explanations
      (pp. 467-486)
      Brenda O’Neill

      To what extent does the status of Canadian women vary across the provinces? Much attention has been devoted to the economic restructuring brought on by the federal government’s offloading of social program financial obligations onto the provinces, and some attention has been directed to evaluating how this offloading has specifically affected women in Canada.² The shift from targeted funding under the Canada Assistance Plan (CAP) and Established Program Financing (EPF) to block funding under the Canada Health and Social Transfer (CHST) in 1996 and the overall reduction in funding accompanying the shift have necessarily had negative consequences for provincially based...

    • CHAPTER 17 Comparative State and Provincial Public Policy
      (pp. 487-506)
      Debora L. VanNijnatten and Gerard W. Boychuk

      Deepening continental economic integration has brought the issue of Canada’s ability to maintain distinctive public policies relative to the US again to the forefront of Canadian political debates. While economic integration and globalization augur in favour of policy convergence, they are also, simultaneously, argued to favour decentralization, further heightening the importance of the Canadian provinces in public policy. Concerns about Canadian distinctivenessvis-à-visthe USandissues of growing provincial policy distinctiveness are, to some degree, two sides of the same coin.

      American states also are becoming increasingly important policy actors in numerous policy fields, raising the possibility of significant...

    • CHAPTER 18 Provincial Policies Concerning Collective Bargaining
      (pp. 507-536)
      Gene Swimmer and Tim Bartkiw

      Unlike the US and most Western countries, the federal government in Canada has a limited role in private and public sector collective bargaining. Collective bargaining refers to the process by which unions and employers negotiate the wages, hours, and working conditions that apply in an employment relationship. According to theBritish North America Act,barring exceptional circumstances (like wartime), the federal jurisdiction for labour relations legislation is limited to a handful of interprovincial industries—transportation, finance, and communications—as well as federal government employees. Although that does not preclude the federal government from attempting to set an example through its...

  9. Contributors
    (pp. 537-540)