Canadian Confederation

Canadian Confederation: A Decision-Making Analysis

Copyright Date: 1979
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  • Book Info
    Canadian Confederation
    Book Description:

    The Canadian federal system is a product of a complex decision taken by the Fathers of Confederation in the 1860s. That decision, the political elite who took it, and the milieu in which it was taken are the focus of this volume.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-9558-3
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. viii-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
    R. H. Wagenberg, R. C. Nelson and W. C. Soderlund
  5. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-7)

    One hundred and thirteen years after the debates in the Parliament of the Province of Canada regarding Confederation, the question of the basic constitutional structure of the country is again a main preoccupation of political leaders and citizens alike. The increased demands on the part of western provinces, particularly, for greater control over their resources through self-regulation of pricing or nationalization, has been no doubt overshadowed by the election in 1976 of the Parti Québécois, which is committed to the separation of Quebec from Confederation. Both, however, are indicators that the Canadian federal system is going through a centrifugal phase...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Research Framework
    (pp. 8-17)

    The focus of this work is an empirical study of Confederation, that is, of the decision by a political elite in the mid-1860s to adopt a federal system of government for the British North American Provinces. Confederation, of course, was not the result of a single decision, but rather the culmination of a long series of incremental decisions made by a number of different political elites both in British North America and in Great Britain.¹ While there are a number of ways to study this decision-making process, we have decided to break into the process at one critical point and...

  7. CHAPTER THREE The Operational Environment
    (pp. 18-43)

    The decision to inaugurate a new political system in the mid-1860s occurred in an environment which was an important influence not only on the decision to press forward for Confederation at that particular time, but on the type of political system that was to emerge as well. For although Confederation was a political decision reached by a particular political elite, it was from this environment that various stimuli or inputs were filtered through the value structure of this political elite, and eventually led to the realization of Confederation in 1867.

    Systematic studies of the political environment are not tasks which...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR The Political Elite: Socio-political Characteristics
    (pp. 44-50)

    Turning from an examination of the operational environment to the psychological environment in which our decision-makers operated, the first dimension which we need to consider is the “attitudinal prism” of the political elite. The method by which we intend to probe this particular aspect is through an examination of the social political backgrounds of the elite.

    While for many years the social backgrounds approach to elite studies operated on the assumption that social background categories were indeed related to attitudes and behaviour, Donald Searing and Lewis Edinger have systematically examined different background variables in order to appraise their utility in...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Elite Images of Confederation
    (pp. 51-81)

    Following Brecher’s research design for decision-making study, content analysis is employed to tap the dimension of “elite image” — the actual perceptions of the “operational environment” which the decision-making elite held. As with Brecher, our assumption is that the more the decision-making elite talk about a given factor of the operational environment, the more important they consider that dimension in arriving at their decision.¹

    Table 5:1 presents data showing the relative frequency with which elites commented on the four major components of the environment, Culture, Politics, Economics, and Geopolitics, in contexts both favourable and unfavourable to Confederation.

    If we...

  10. CHAPTER SIX Socio-Political Correlates of Support and Opposition to Confederation
    (pp. 82-108)

    In the preceding chapter we sketched the main lines of argument regarding the Confederation question in order to gain an understanding of how the various attendant issues were actually perceived by the elite which had to render the decision. In this chapter we would like to carry this analysis further by attempting to identify the socio-political characteristics which distinguish supporters and opponents of Confederation overall, as well as with regard to its specific provisions. To this end, the socio-political variables discussed in Chapter 4 have been cross-tabulated with two sets of dependent variables: 1) the actual vote recorded for or...

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN The Confederation Decision: The Legacy for the Political System
    (pp. 109-135)

    Our main purpose in pursuing this study has been to understand better the actual dynamics of the decision-making process which led to Canadian Confederation. At this point, therefore, it remains for us to summarize the major elements which contributed to the decision the Parliament of Canada leading directly to the establishment of a federal political system. Moreover, we cannot conclude this study without attempting two tasks. The first involves an assessment of Fathers of Confederation as political thinkers, while the second evaluates the relevance of our findings to a number of interpretations, only of Confederation, but more generally of Canadian...

  12. APPENDIX Sample of Parliamentary Debators
    (pp. 136-137)
  13. Notes
    (pp. 138-154)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 155-164)