Municipal Consolidation Quebec Style: A Comparative North American Perspective (1)

By Vengroff, Richard; Whelan, Robert K. | Canadian-American Public Policy, April 2005 | Go to article overview

Municipal Consolidation Quebec Style: A Comparative North American Perspective (1)


Vengroff, Richard, Whelan, Robert K., Canadian-American Public Policy


I. INTRODUCTION

In the United States, interest in consolidation of urban governments is cyclical. Many of the existing city-county consolidations occurred in the 1950's and 1960's. Recently, the successful city- government consolidations in Kansas City-Wyandotte County, Kansas in 1997 and Louisville-Jefferson County, Kentucky in 2000 renewed interest among urban reformers and academics. In most major U.S. metropolitan areas, a combination of suburban activism and central city minority political control makes metropolitan government a non-starter. The literature in recent years (e.g., Rusk 1999 and Stephens and Wikstrom 2000) emphasizes "governance" rather than "government." Nelson Wikstrom, a leading academic expert writes that "given the rise, recognition and institutionalization of regional governance, the concept of one comprehensive metropolitan government has become a somewhat archaic intellectual relic, identified with the past century" (Wikstrom, 2002). It is fair to say that no existing city-county consolidation, on either side of the border, can really be called a comprehensive metropolitan government.

Despite these recent differences, we think that a U.S.-Canadian contrast is very important, feasible and useful, for at lease two reasons. First, these are strong local government similarities. City governments in both countries exist in the context of federal systems. Local governments are legal creatures of the state (or province) in both countries. Municipal governments share a common heritage based upon the English system (even in Quebec). Many of the reforms associated with the Progressive Era in the early 20th century United States crossed the border. These include the city-manager system, and the practice of nonpartisan local elections. Both countries lack strong socialist parties, especially at the local level. In recent years, both countries have devolved and downloaded governmental functions to the local level. Both countries have shown evidence of an active neighborhood movement. Some experiments in U. S. local democracy, such as Chicago's Local School Councils and Alternative Policing Strategy (Fung, 2004) can be viewed as parallels to developments in Canadian cities, such as the Montreal borough system.

Second, many of our academic colleagues have made such comparisons previously. The most explicit comparison appears in Rothblatt and Sancton's (1998) edited volume on metropolitan governance. In this rich, detailed work, a Canadian metropolitan area (i.e., Montreal) is implicitly paired with a single U.S. metropolitan area (i.e., Boston). Laura Reese's (1997) study of local economic development policy compares cities in Michigan and Ontario. A recent volume on city-county consolidation (Carr and Feiock, 2004) includes a chapter on the Ottawa amalgamation. Donald Phares's recently edited volume (2004) on metropolitan governance presents an overview chapter on the U.S. and Canada, as well as a case study of the Vancouver region. Interestingly, this book also includes a case study of Mexico City, and a survey chapter on Europe.

Overall, this literature concludes that Canadian cities have more highly developed metropolitan planning and government systems than their U.S. counterparts. Rothblatt and Sancton (1998) consider the differences and similarities in terms of political culture influences, policymaking influences, and the global social and economic situation. The political culture argument, in brief, is that the U.S. is more individualistic and privatistic than Canada. Thus, Canadian metropolitan areas have a political and social climate more sympathetic to metropolitan government. The lengthy, tragic history of U.S. racism also comes into play. Policymaking influences include the interplay of these levels of government; we will have more to say about this below. The global forces argument is that jobs and people have decentralized, and that a common competitiveness is important to any metropolitan area today. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Municipal Consolidation Quebec Style: A Comparative North American Perspective (1)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.