The Integrity Gap: Canada's Environmental Policy and Institutions

By Jackson, Tony | British Journal of Canadian Studies, September 2004 | Go to article overview

The Integrity Gap: Canada's Environmental Policy and Institutions


Jackson, Tony, British Journal of Canadian Studies


Eugene Lee and Anthony Perl (eds), The Integrity Gap: Canada's Environmental Policy and Institutions (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2003), xi + 288pp. Cloth. £64.95. ISBN: 0-7748-0985-X.

The eight case studies in this volume, topped and tailed by editorial chapters, were initially presented at a Canadian Studies conference held at Seoul in 1998. They illuminate Canada's weak record in converting environmental rhetoric into effective policy initiatives. The contributors include political scientists, land use and transport planners, sociologists and risk managers. The chief lesson drawn by the editors is that 'Canada can do much better regarding its environment if institutional arrangements are changed' (p. 267; authors' italics).

A useful matrix in the introductory chapter identifies the institutional constraints that prevent Canadian governments delivering stated environmental goals. The three principle determinants are taken to be whether the cost of enforcement is concentrated or diffuse; whether accountability for performance is direct or indirect; and whether jurisdiction governing environmental policy is single or multiple. In cases where jurisdiction is either single or co-operative, accountability for performance is direct and the cost of enforcement falls on a diffuse constituency, the integrity gap is liable to be small. Equally, where there are conflicting jurisdictions, enforcement costs fall predominantly on a single constituency and accountability is indirect, a large integrity gap is likely to be found.

The case studies offer useful support for this hypothesis. …

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