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Legislative Federalism (in Canada)

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Legislative Federalism (in Canada) 

Implies a process where legislatures and their committees will have a more direct role in reviewing and possibly altering federal-provincial agreements.

Baier et al, 2005, pp. 171-172 

 

In Canada, legislative federalism means that legislatures and their committees will have a more direct role in reviewing and possibly altering federal-provincial agreements. It is conceivable that they would also become involved at the developmental stage of law and policy making. Simply put, such reviews would likely involve the calling of witnesses and the entertainment of briefs from groups that stand to be affected. Certainly it would add a degree of transparency and publicity to intergovernmental policy making. An important dimension, however, is that many MPS (and MLAS, MNAS, and MPPS) will develop their own conceptions of what constitutes good public policy, conceptions in which the niceties of federal-provincial jurisdictions may play only a limited role. These new legislative entrepreneurs, especially federal MPS from larger urban areas, may well be inclined to do the “right thing” in areas such as health care and social policy, regardless of jurisdictional concerns. The kinds of policy issues that MPS would see as important will also be significant. Health care is one obvious area, but education and, especially, urban issues, may also be high on their agenda. Keep in mind that if MPS have any previous political experience it is most likely to be at the municipal rather than provincial level and many continue to maintain their links with local groups and municipal governments. All three policy areas - health, education and urban issues - are, needless to say, primarily under provincial jurisdiction.


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