Federalism

The House of Commons: Introduction to Canada's Premier Legislative Body

Feature by Jay Makarenko || Oct 22, 2010

While Canada has two legislatures at the federal level, the House of Commons constitutes the centre of political power. To hold power, the Prime Minister and his/her Cabinet must maintain the support of a majority of the elected members in the House. The House also holds the government accountable through public debate, questioning, and review of government legislation and action. This feature provides an introduction to the functions, composition, and operation of the House of Commons.

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Canada’s Health Care System: An Overview of Public and Private Participation

In Canada, one issue that tends to prevail — arguably more than any other in Canadian public policy debate — is the issue of health care and health care delivery. At the heart of this issue is the debate over public versus private health care. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of

public and private sector participation in health care.

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Immigration Policy in Canada: History, Administration and Debates

Feature by Jay Makarenko || Aug 12, 2010

A geographically large country with a relatively small population, Canada has traditionally viewed immigration as a key instrument of population and economic growth. Over its history, however, immigration priorities and strategies have changed significantly, from an open border approach in Canada’s early history, to policy that could be characterized as explicitly discriminatory, to an economically focused approach.

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Harmonized Sales Tax: Overview, History and Debates

Feature by Jay Makarenko || Jan 19, 2010

An issue of some contention — one that has resulted in an intersection between the areas of federal government tax policy and Canadian federalism — is the merging of separate federal and provincial sales taxes into a single tax, known as the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). The HST represents an important form of cooperation between different levels of government and, at the same time, a source of debate — particularly in the realms of provincial politics. This article provides an introduction to the HST and explores topics including its origins/history and key debates.

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Provincial Government in Canada: Organization, Institutions & Issues

Feature by Jay Makarenko || Mar 4, 2009

Canada’s provinces are an integral layer of the nation’s governmental system. Under Canada’s Constitution, provincial governments have many key powers and jurisdictions, such as the provision of fundamental social services (for example, health, education and welfare), control over civil and property rights, and power over local government. This article explores provincial government in Canada, focusing on the key topics of the provinces as a level of government; provincial political, financial and administrative institutions; and issues and debates in provincial government.

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Federal Government in Canada: Organization, Institutions & Issues

Feature by Jay Makarenko || Mar 4, 2009

The federal or national government is the central level of government in Canada, and is involved in many aspects of Canadians’ lives. The federal government plays a role in such things as the provision of social services, the economy, national defence and security, criminal law, foreign affairs and First Nations policy. This article provides an overview of the federal government in Canada, including its role and powers, its central political, financial and administrative processes, as well as key issues and debates in federal government.

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The Canada-US Softwood Lumber Dispute

Feature by Jay Makarenko || Jun 10, 2008

The Canada-US softwood lumber dispute has been one of the longest and most significant trade disputes between the two countries in modern history. Central to the dispute is not only competition between Canadian and US softwood lumber companies, but also conflict over basic forestry management styles. This article discusses the North American softwood lumber industry and explains the nature of the dispute, including its basic issues, its history and the signing of the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement.

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Auto Insurance in Canada: Overview and Issues

Feature by Jay Makarenko || May 2, 2008

Auto insurance is a central issue in provincial and territorial politics, and a highly complex area of public policy. In Canada, the industry reflects a collection of provincial and territorial systems, each differing significantly in how auto insurance is delivered and regulated. This article offers an introduction into auto insurance policy in Canada, and includes a look at auto insurance in the context of federalism, alternative models of auto insurance, provincial/territorial auto insurance systems, and key issues and debates in this public policy area.

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Equalization Program in Canada: Overview and Contemporary Issues

Feature by Jay Makarenko || Apr 24, 2008

The Equalization Program is an important component of Canadian federalism and the notion of equality between provinces regarding the social services they provide. Moreover, the principle of equalization has been a major source of debate in Canadian politics, between the federal and provincial levels of government, as well as between provinces. This article provides an overview of the purpose, operation and history of the Equalization Program, including a summary of key contemporary issues and debates.

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Cartoon: Flaherty's Comments on Ontario Create a Problem for PM Harper

Find a political cartoon depicting Finance Minister Jim Flaherty causing problems for Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ontario.

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Federalism and the Atlantic Provinces: Contemporary Issues and Debates

Feature by Jay Makarenko || Feb 6, 2008

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p>Traditionally, Atlantic Canada has proven to be a strong ally of both Canadian federalism and of federal government involvement in its economic, social, and financial life. Nevertheless, the relations between the federal government and the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island have been strained at times. This article provides an introduction to key issues and debates in Canadian federalism by looking through the lens of Atlantic Canada.

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Canadian Federalism and Public Health Care: The Evolution of Federal-Provincial Relations

One of the most critical issues in Canadian federalism since the 1950s has been the delivery of public health care. This article provides an introduction to the nature and evolution of federal and provincial relations in the area of health care policy, with particular focus on the fiscal and policy aspects and their impact. Included is a discussion of the basic division of powers in health care, Canadian federalism and the introduction of public health care, and shifts in this federal-provincial relationship since the 1950s.

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Federalism in Canada: Basic Framework and Operation

Feature by Jay Makarenko || Jan 11, 2008

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p>Central to the organization of government in Canada is the principle of federalism. Under this principle, Canada is divided into two constitutionally autonomous levels of government: the federal or central government, and the provincial governments. The nation’s basic division of government plays an important role in public finances and public policy.

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Fiscal Imbalance Debate: Origins and Perspectives

Feature by Brian Doody || Dec 18, 2007

Federal-provincial relations in Canada have been dominated in recent years by debate over the “fiscal imbalance,” defined as the apparent shortfall of provincial government revenues compared to the federal government’s surpluses, relative to the spending requirements of each level of government under the Constitution.  This article gives an overview of debate on the fiscal imbalance in Canada, including a summary of its origins, as well as discussions of alternative perspectives on the issue.

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The Canadian Constitution: Introduction to Canada’s Constitutional Framework

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p>The Constitution is Canada’s premier political institution, representing the basic “rulebook” by which Canadian politics operate.

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