Canada's Century

Canada's Century: Governance in a Maturing Society

Copyright Date: 1995
Pages: 384
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  • Book Info
    Canada's Century
    Book Description:

    Governance, Quebec's place in Canada, French-English relations, multiculturalism, the party system, electoral processes, the regulatory function, and aspects of culture and social science are among the subjects addressed. Contributors include Gérard Bergeron, Edwin R. Black, Alan Cairns, R.K. Carty, Léon Dion, O.P. Dwivedi, Iain Gow, C.E.S. Franks, William P. Irvine, Jane Jenson, Jean Laponce, Vincent Lemieux, Peter Leslie, Liora Salter, Richard Schultz, Richard Simeon, H.G. Thorburn, and V. Seymour Wilson.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6533-3
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-22)
    C. E. S. FRANKS and J. E. HODGETTS

    The papers included in this volume testify to the wide-ranging, eclectic, scholarly, and practical contributions that John Meisel has made to the theory and practice of governance. His own interests and the subjects of his research and writing are so varied that they cover many areas of political studies, some of which have only tenuous connections with others. The authors of the papers presented here were chosen because of their close connection to John Meisel, not because of the consistency and coherence of their collective professional work. Not only do the papers reflect the wide range of Meisel’s interests, they...

    • 1 Globalization, Domestic Societies, and Governance
      (pp. 25-42)

      The cover story for an issue ofTimemagazine in 1989 was titled “Is Government Dead?” — and was subtitled “The Can’t Do Government.” Many academics echo this view. For Forrest Macdonald, “The Government of the United States as a whole has almost lost its capacity to govern.”¹ Cover stories in Canadian magazines have headings such as: “A Shaken Nation Bares its Anger,” or “The Breakup of Canada.” There is, in both countries, a pervasive sense of the failure of governance, of the incapacity of political institutions either to respond to citizens’ expectations for representation and responsiveness or to make coherent,...

    • 2 The Constitutional World We Have Lost
      (pp. 43-67)

      “The Constitutional World We Have Lost” may suggest a Creightonstyle lament for Macdonald’s constitution, displaced by appeasers, the historically illiterate, and Privy Council incompetents. In fact, this chapter is in no sense an attempt to turn back the clock to a constitutional garden of Eden that we have regrettably let slip from our fingers by sins such as eating the forbidden fruit of the Charter, thus elevating the status of the citizenry in the constitutional order. At the level of the individual, such nostalgia may be an effective coping mechanism, a kind of opting out from whatever aspects of constitutional...

    • 3 Representation and Policy-Making in Canada
      (pp. 68-84)
      C. E. S. FRANKS

      In this chapter, I explore the structure and functioning of representative government in Canada at the national level. I look at three major modes of decision-making in Canadian government: first, the legislative process in Parliament as part of the parliamentary-cabinet system; second, federal-provincial relations, in particular executive federalism, as part of the federal system; and third, constitutional amendment, a curious but major system which, although it overlaps the other two, also has a life of its own. These systems have been under great stress in recent years. The Meech Lake and Charlottetown efforts to amend the constitution were in themselves...

    • 4 Propos désabusés d’un fédéraliste fatigué
      (pp. 87-112)

      Je suis* dans ime position analogue à celle des collaborateurs, la plupart d’entre eux professeurs à I' université Queen’s, de I’ouvrageMust Canada Fail.¹Ils écrivaient sous le choc de la victoire électorale du Parti québécois, le 15 novembre 1976, dont le premier article du programme était la souveraineté-association. Les auteurs affirmaient leur allégeance au fédéralisme canadien. Malgré leur sympathie pour le Québec, tous concluaient que le projet de souveraineté-association était aussi inacceptable au Canada anglais que I’avait été précédemment le concept des Deux-Nations. En conséquence, ils prévenaient les Québécois qu’advenant un “oui” a la suite d’un referendum sur la...

    • 5 Qui a peur ... du monstre du Lac Meech?
      (pp. 113-138)

      Qui a peur ... non pas de Virginia Woolf, cette romancière à la passion devorante et qui allait s’abîmer dans le suicide par crainte de la folie,¹ mais plutôt de ce “monstre” autrement plus mythique² qui aurait émergé, au printemps 1987, d’un lac fédéralisé de la vallée de I’Outaouais?* Quel que soit le sort statutaire qui adviendra finalement à I’Accord constitutionnel du 3 juin 1987, il s’agit d’ores et déjà d’un événement historique mais qui, continuant à s’imposer à I’analyse d’actualité, a pris avec le temps un tour passablement passionné. Au moment d’écrire³ cette étude, I’auteur ignore comme tout le...

    • 6 Canada’s Dilemmas and Public Opinion
      (pp. 139-149)

      Liberalism, distinctiveness, decentralization, openness, and bilingualism are nouns that, in their adjectival form, perfectly describe the man we are honouring with this book. Some of them also describe the elements that will have to be present in the resolution of the current challenges to Canadian unity, a goal that has marked Meisel’s professional life, at least recently. What John Meisel will find discouraging is the implied premiss: that public opinion on public policy is inconsistent and unstable — a poor guide to what should be done. What, I hope, he will find more encouraging are my proposals for establishing the occasions...

    • 7 Separating the Cultural from the Economic for Quebec and Canada
      (pp. 150-164)

      Among languages, as among people, equality is not the norm. Languages form hierarchies, with some languages being dominant while others have minority status; and all languages are engaged in a com petition for survival that has intensified following the increase in the density of communication the world over. Languages in contact are not necessarily, however, in conflict with one another. Many if not most of the 4,000 to 7,000 languages spoken in the world today are expected to die in the next few centuries, but most will probably die in the next few countries, but most will probably die peacefully....

    • 8 Canada’s Evolving Multicultural Policy
      (pp. 165-184)

      Since its inception by Pierre Trudeau’s government in 1971, Canada’s official multiculturalism policy has meant different things to different people, partly because of its incremental nature, and partly also because it contained a mixed bag of objectives — a compendium of ideas, ideals, programs, and policies.¹ Evelyn Kallen, in assessing the policy, argued that it was a virtual pot-pourri of vague and ambiguous policy objectives that further undermined the foundations of national unity.² Kas Mazurek concurred, noting that “as with ‘justice,’ ‘beauty’ and ‘love,’ everyone seems to approve of multiculturalism, everyone seems to know what it is, yet everyone seems to...

    • 9 On the Road Again: “The Stalled Omnibus” Revisited
      (pp. 187-202)
      R. K. CARTY

      At the end of a striking essay penned amid the parliamentary confusion that marked the Diefenbaker-Pearson years, John Meisel made what will surely go down as one of the most famous predictions of Canadian political science. Famous because it was so startling, because it exploited an explicitly functionalist model to interpret the impact of ongoing social change on the working of the national party system, and because it proved to be so prescient.

      Consider this last point first. Despite a tradition of relatively long periods of one-party rule and stable parliamentary majorities, a wholly new pattern of government would become...

    • 10 Prime Minister, Party, and policy
      (pp. 203-216)
      H. G. THORBURN

      What drives the policy systems in Canadian federal politics? The answer proposed here is the prime minister and his or her coterie, working through a disciplined majority in Parliament, steering the public service, and maintaining a close lobbying (elite accommodation) relationship with the country’s business leaders. Stable governments are assured only when one party has a majority of seats in the House of Commons. The capacity of the governing party to rule through Parliament depends on party discipline. However, as the system has developed, power has gravitated to the prime minister and to the few ministers and other advisers around...

    • 11 The Costs of Political Elitism
      (pp. 217-237)

      As this century draws to a close, relations between two of Canada’s founding groups, among immigrants and native-born, between Aboriginal peoples and newcomers, and among women and men are as troubled as they were at its opening. Debates over the meaning of ‘Canadian’ and the best future for the country are no less heated now then they were in the first decades of the century that Sir Wilfrid Laurier pronounced as Canada’s own. At that time, the rights of citizenship were in dispute — around women’s claims for access to suffrage, in debates over the ‘social question’ as well as the...

    • 12 Stabilité, changement et instabilité dans les systèmes de partis
      (pp. 238-256)

      Les systèmes de partis provinciaux au Canada, quand on les considère depuis les années 1940, présentent une structuration plus ou moins stable, dont nous aliens montrer qu’elle dépend de la plus ou moins grande complexité du dispositionnement des partis dans trois espaces significatifs pour les électeurs¹.

      Aprés avoir présenté un modèle et des définitions des principaux concepts de notre démarche, nous aliens d’abord les appliquer au système des partis provinciaux du Québec pour les étendre ensuite, de facon moins élaborée, à des systèmes de partis d’autres provinces. En conclusion, nous verrons comment certains travaux de John Meisel sur les partis...

    • 13 Paradigm Lost: Explaining the Canadian Politics of Deregulation
      (pp. 259-277)

      With these words, in a vigorous and eloquent defence of regulation delivered in April 1982, John Meisel predicted that deregulation would come to Canada. Few analysts, however, agreed with the prediction because of the apparently entrenched role of regulation in the allocation, production, and distribution of goods and services in Canada. Nor was there much evidence to suggest that this role would be threatened.

      Only a few years earlier, while the United States was in the throes of deregulatory initiatives, the Canadian government had proposed to roll back the limited measure of deregulation in the railway sector as well as...

    • 14 Accountability and Capture of Agencies: Proposals for Change
      (pp. 278-297)

      With all that has taken place since deregulation began, it is easy to forget that two critiques of regulation impelled it.’ The first, the most familiar and most forceful, focuses on the negative roles played by state agencies within the marketplace. It has resulted in dramatic shifts in regulatory jurisdiction and in the scope and intent of regulatory action in virtually all agencies, tribunals, and boards. The second takes two forms — a commentary on regulatory accountability and an analysis of the potential capture of the agency by those it seeks to regulate. A number of reports and studies, originally primarily...

    • 15 Reflections on an Administrative Tribunal
      (pp. 298-310)
      O. P. DWIVEDI

      John Meisel, reminiscing about his experience as chairman of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) in the early 1980s, wrote in 1985s: “Sometime ago, when the existence of the CRTC was suddenly thrust into my awareness more forcibly than before, I started looking at what Canadian political science could teach me about regulatory agencies in this country and the CRTC in particular. The pickings were, with one or two notable exceptions, disappointingly slim.”¹ This chapter represents an extremely modest attempt to add to “the pickings” that Meisel found so slim. Like Meisel, I have had brief, first-hand exposure to...

    • 16 Intuition and Reason in Social Science and Action
      (pp. 313-328)
      J. I. GOW

      Taking my inspiration from the rich variety of John Meisel’s experience as academic, public servant, and citizen of the world, I explore in this chapter the links between empirical social science and other forms of knowledge. I claim here that social science, reflecting widespread beliefs in our society, has wrongly scorned intuition and creativity.¹ In contrast, quantitative social science owes its successes to its capacity to test hypotheses and to judge probabilites in certain types of situations. I wish to explore the relationship between the two approaches — qualitative and quantitative — by referring first to some findings of comparative ethnology and...

    • 17 The Bias of Communications and Their Technologies
      (pp. 329-339)

      While many have questioned the influence of the mass media on politics, not many have seriously examined the influence of mass communication technologies on politics. Among the peoples of the highly developed countries, few others than the Americans have adopted communications technologies so enthusiastically as have the Canadians, and certainly none has worried so about its national or political identity. The potential influences of the one on the other have, however, been totally ignored. To explore those implications leads appropriately into some contemporary versions of classic questions posed by one of Canada’s greatest social scientists, Harold A. Innis¹. (1) What...

    • 18 The Most Important phenomenon in politics
      (pp. 340-356)

      “The most important phenomenon in politics” is John Meisel’s phrase. I found it in his 1980 article “The Fear of Conflict and Other Failings,”¹ an autobiographical essay in which he wrote (among other things) of the importation of American perspectives and methods into the study of politics in Canada and of his own role in bringing about the change. It is clear from this article that Meisel was not unreservedly committed to us-style political science, with its pretense to being valuefree, and that he was even less attracted to the emerging Marxist counter-orthodoxy. He took his distance from both when...

  10. Index
    (pp. 357-366)
  11. Contributors
    (pp. 367-369)