Federalism and the Organization of Political Life: Canada in Comparative Perspective

By Herman Bakvis | Go to book overview

Footnotes
1.
An examination of all the submissions made in the hearings held by the Task Force on Canadian Unity in 1977 and 1978 revealed that virtually no one made reference to the experiences of nations other than Canada. One of the few exceptions was the brief submitted by Gordon Gibson ( 1977) commending the institutions of Germany and Switzerland as examples Canada might like to follow. The lack of interest in comparative political experience is ironic because in other sectors there is considerable interest in what happens outside of Canada. Canadian businessmen constantly look at developments abroad, and policy-makers in Canadian government (both civil servants and politicians) often use the experiences of other nations when designing policy. In these instances, the charge that outside experiences are irrelevant is heard much less frequently.
2.It should be emphasized that my approach differs from others'. Anthony Birch ( 1955, 1967), for example, argues in favour of a "most similar" approach in doing research in comparative federalism: "My own belief is that the kind of comparative study most likely to be fruitful is that which takes as its starting point the existence of somewhat similar arrangements which have evolved or have been devised in a limited number of countries themselves not entirely dissimilar to meet similar needs." ( 1967, p. 77).
3.
One of the finest examples of this approach is J. R. Mallory "Five Faces of Federalism" ( 1965).
4.Not too long ago, it was generally thought that the single-member constituency electoral system in Canada had either the effect of helping to create a two-party brokerage system ( Corry and Hodgetts, 1946), or had no effects whatsoever ( Meisel, 1963). Cairns ( 1968) argued that these views were inaccurate and cites the work of Lipset and Duverger with regard to the incentives for sectionalism inherent in the single-member constituency system. Thus, these effects were not unknown previous to Cairns' article, though perhaps not in Canada.
5.
In the Austro-Hungarian Empire, there were two experiments with linguistic corporatism in 1897 and 1900, whereby individuals enjoyed government services (primarily education) and privileges in their own language, administered by the "Curia" of their own nationality. Individuals could opt to identify with a national community. If they exercised their option to affiliate, they would be registered on a special list; and instead of voting for the national assembly, they would vote for the Curia of their choice. These experiments were not extended to the whole empire and lasted only a short time: they were last minute efforts to save a crumbling empire. For details, see Robert Kann ( 1950) and Carl Friedrich ( 1973). The "Federation des Francophones horsy" has proposed a limited form of linguistic corporatism in Canada. See footnote 7, below.
6.
See also Levitt ( 1970) and Williams ( 1979). Glen Williams in an interesting analysis has compared the Canadian industrial strategy (the National Policy, high tariffs, etc.) to those pursued by many Latin American countries and many African countries as well. Rather than focussing on developing large-scale export-oriented industries, these countries concentrate on Import Substitution Industrialization (ISI), establishing industries whose goods substitute for imported products in the home markets. Williams argues that Canada can be placed in the IS] category, thereby explaining Canada's industrial backwardness.

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Federalism and the Organization of Political Life: Canada in Comparative Perspective
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents V
  • Foreword VII
  • Preface VIII
  • 1 - Learning from Comparative Experience 1
  • Footnotes 12
  • 2 - Cleavages, Institutions and Political Communities 14
  • 3 - Canada and the Consociational Model 62
  • Footnotes 88
  • Bibliography 90
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