Study Questions: Chapter 7
1. According to Brooks and Ménard, why must federalism be understood as a constitutional structure?
For Brooks and Ménard, federalism is a property of constitutions, not of societies. It is a division of political authority along territorial lines, distinct from other arrangements such as unitary states, confederations, and economic associations. (pp. 192–193)
2. What is the difference between nationalism and regionalism? What challenges do they pose for a federal state?
Nationalism is accompanied by territorial claims that can range from demands for independence to more moderate demands for more autonomy for the region. Nationalism makes its demands on behalf of both territory and an ethnic or linguistic community. This is more difficult to accommodate than regionalism’s complaints of unfair treatment. (pp. 194–195)
3. What were the contradictory forces faced by the Fathers of Confederation when deciding upon the type of political union they should create?
Most of the Anglophone founders favoured a unitary form of government. However, the Quebec delegates strongly supported a federal union. The Maritime delegates also preferred a federal union. Commercial interests, particularly the railroads, wanted unification because it would make it easier to raise capital. A larger union would also be better able to assist the railroads. The financial institutions also wanted unification. Commercial interests supported federalism with a strong central government, as did John A. Macdonald. Delegates from Quebec and the Maritimes wanted a federalism that provided them with adequate powers to protect their cultures. Control over education was a key Quebec demand. (pp. 196–198)
4. What were the quasi-federal provisions in the Confederation agreement?
These provisions include the federal powers of reservation and disallowance; the federal government can declare a “public work” to be in the national interest and therefore coming under federal jurisdiction; the federal government can legislate in the area of education if a provincial law abrogates the education rights of denominational minorities that they held when the province entered confederation. (pp. 197–198)
5. What are the three variants of contract theory?
One variant would restrict the right of constitutional veto to the original signatories of the constitution. A second would extend that right to all provinces, regardless of when they joined confederation. A third takes the position that substantial provincial consent is required to change the federal–provincial distribution of powers. (p. 198)
6. What two events concerning French-language education outside of Quebec contributed to the identification of French Canada only with Quebec?
The two events were the violation of the education rights of francophone Catholics in Manitoba and the decision by Ontario, in 1913, to ban French instruction from the province’s public schools. (p. 205)
7. What was René Lévesque’s strategy for achieving secession?
It consisted of these main elements: a proposed arrangement with Canada that provided for continued association; a referendum on its proposed sovereignty-association formula; a focus on providing Quebecers with good government; and continued cooperation with Canada in order to get its fair share of financial resources and to acquire as many additional powers as possible (e.g., powers over immigration). (pp. 206–208)
8. What were the major differences between the views of Trudeau and Mulroney regarding Quebec’s place in the Canadian federation?
Trudeau believed that the provinces, including Quebec, were already too powerful and he was totally opposed to special constitutional status for Quebec. Mulroney had no problem with enlarging provincial power and a decentralized federalism and he was accepting of special constitutional status for Quebec. (pp. 203–210)
9. What are the potential impacts on Canadian federalism as a result of both the federal Liberal motion recognizing Quebec as a distinct society and the federal Conservative resolution recognizing Quebec as a nation?
The effect of both motions, it may be argued, confer a de facto special status on Quebec in matters of constitutional reform. They also mark a return to a tradition of flexibility in Canadian federalism that, according to Brooks and Ménard, predates Pierre Trudeau. It is a tradition whereby constitutional change is not the result of formal amendments but of developments in policy and practice whose status is greater than that of ordinary laws but not quite that of constitutional reform. (p. 210)
10. What are some of the grievances of the peripheral provinces against Ontario and Quebec?