This monograph is concerned with three questions: What kinds of communities make up Canada? How and where are these communities to be given political expression? How can the conflicting interests of these communities be reconciled?
These questions are very much related to the current Canadian dilemma of choosing among alternatives for constitutional change; but they also have wider relevance since the Canadian dilemma is, in many respects, a universal one: other nations, both past and present, federal and non-federal, have faced similar difficulties in searching for appropriate means of giving diverse communities political expression and in mitigating the consequences of conflicting communal interests. This study, therefore, deliberately draws not only on Canadian material but also on the experiences of other countries. My intent is to alter and replace some of the commonplace notions many people have about the nature of political communities -- whether based on territory, language, religion, or class -- and about the form that political representation and integration should take.
During the past few years several people have helped in shaping the substance of this study. First and foremost, let me thank Ronald L. Watts, Principal of Queen's University, and Richard Simeon, Director of the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations, for inviting me to Queen's for the year 1978-79 to participate in the Future of the Canadian Communities project and, more importantly, for encouraging me to examine critically certain assumptions about federalism. Ronald Watts showed me that it is possible to integrate the old with the new, and that the experiences of the third world can be relevant indeed to understanding Canadian federalism.
Other people at Queen's whom I found both stimulating and good