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Synopsis

The Canadian system of federalism divides the power to govern between the central federal parliament and the provincial and territorial legislative assemblies. In what can be seen as a double federation, power is also divided culturally, between English and French Canada. The divisions of power and responsibility, however, have not remained static since 1867. The federal language regime (1969), for example, reconfigured cultural federalism, generating constitutional tension as governments sought to make institutions more representative of the country's diversity.

In Federalism and the Constitution of Canada, award-winning author David E. Smith examines a series of royal commission and task force inquiries, a succession of federal-provincial conferences, and the competing and controversial terms of the Constitution Act of 1982 in order to evaluate both the popular and governmental understanding of federalism. In the process, Smith uncovers the reasons constitutional agreement has historically proved difficult to reach and argues that Canadian federalism 'in practice' has been more successful at accommodating foundational change than may be immediately apparent.

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