The Case for Decentralized Federalism
Publication Year: 2011
The Case for Decentralized Federalism and its sister volume The Case for Centralized Federalism are the outcome of the Federalism Redux Project, created to stimulate a serious and useful conversation on federalism in Canada. They provide the vocabulary and arguments needed to articulate the case for a centralized or a decentralized Canadian federalism.
The Case for Decentralized Federalism brings together experts who believe decentralized federalism is the optimal arrangement for governing the contextual diversity and cultural pluralism in Canada. Using different approaches, they argue that by dividing the work of public governance among different levels of government, it is easier to address the needs and aspirations of the diverse groups that make up Canada.
Published by: University of Ottawa Press
Series: Governance Series
Table of Contents
This volume is one of a pair of books published in the Governance Series by the University of Ottawa Press as the outcome of the Federalism Redux Project. These two books provide the requisite vocabulary and schemes of arguments ...
Introduction: Federalism as a Philosophy of Governance
... Federalism is a philosophy of governance, a social technology, and a mode of public governance. It proposes ways to cope with contextual diversity and cultural pluralism through a division of the work of public governing among different levels of government. It strikes a compromise between centralization and decentralization―with each ...
Part I: The Positive Case
CHAPTER 1 Federalism, Decentralization and Canadian Nation Building
Federations come in all varieties: some are parliamentary (Canada, Australia), others are presidential (United States, Mexico); some have two constituted levels of government (Canada), others include municipal/local governments in their constitutions (Mexico, Germany); some are common law federations (Canada, Australia, United States), others are ...
CHAPTER 2 The Practical Defence of Decentralization
I am not a dyed-in-the-wool, ideological decentralizer. Indeed, as the son of a career federal civil servant, the idea that national politics and a federal role in making national policy matters could be said to be bred in the bone. I am also, however, someone who has spent most of his career in the service of provincial and territorial governments, either ...
CHAPTER 3 The Theoretical Defence of Decentralization
By its very nature, a federal system of government embodies a contradiction. In a federal state (such as Canada, the United States or Germany), authority is constitutionally divided, with legal jurisdiction being given to the national government over some matters, to sub-national governments for others, while some are shared. As a result, a federal system amounts ...
Part II: The Normative Case
CHAPTER 4 Beyond Centralization: How to Liberate Federalism?
Bargains reached between accountable politicians often include elements that reflect their accountabilities. In Canada, that has meant, in a fashion utterly indicative of our multinational history, demographics and geography, that federalism was not simply optional for the shaping of a ...
CHAPTER 5 Re-Federalizing Canada: Refocusing the Debate on Decentralization
In both the academic literature and political discourse, the conventional wisdom holds that Canadian federalism is the most decentralized anywhere in the world. We wish to call this highly contestable proposition into question for two reasons. Firstly, it is based on a partial, fragmented and distorted concept of federalism that reveals the ideological biases of the authors and political actors with regard ...
CHAPTER 6 Toward an Autopoietic Federalism
In democratic confederal systems, the debate about centralization and decentralization is a debate about means― about different ways in which a particular governance regime might crystallize structurally, arguing in favour of one form over the other. But such a discussion makes little sense unless one can identify, ever so loosely, the long-run ...
Conclusion: Decentralized Federalism as Baroque Experiment
Decentralization is consubstantial with federalism. Building on principles of subsidiarity, a federal culture of shared sovereignty, and an empowerment of the citizenry would appear to be not only workable, but desirable, and the way of the future in a world of ever greater diversity. But such an apparatus must be conceived around new units of analysis: sustainable ...