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You may either answer one of the following questions for your course essay or else select your own title in consultation to confirm suitability:

1. Using examples of your choice, assess the extent to which public choice theory accurately explains decision making in public sector administration.

2. Would you  expect a bureaucracy based on Weber's 8  principles  to  maximize professionalism,  efficiency,  effectiveness  and rationality within an organization?
Why/why not?

Understanding Federalism in Canada

The development of the human civilization brought with it an element of governance. People recognized that various powers and authority could be derived from the natural surrounding environment. In the event that this power is utilized by every single member of the community, it could lead to chaos and anarchy (Morales and Nichols 2018). In that respect, the people of the society recognized the need to form certain institutions of power from where authority could be derived. As a consequence of this, the institution of the government came to the forefront. The government was provided with the responsibility to manage the welfare of the people and to oversee the prevalence of peace and security in the community that it represented (Verdun 2015). This obligation of the government required its various agencies to derive their power from a particular place since, again, it had the potential threat of over stepping its given boundaries. In this context, the aspect of a federal state came in to establishment (Castro-Rea and Weller 2019). A federal state refers to a country where there is a one central government and various other constituent governments in the units that together make up that country (Collins 2016). The purpose of this essay is to understand the issue of federal government and the various ways in which the spirit and the element of a federal state can be diminished. In this regard, the essay takes in to consideration of the government of Canada and the activities carries out specifically by the Mulroney and the Cheretien government. The essay concludes with the importance of maintaining a strict check on the activities of the different governing agencies and to regularly scrutinize their impacts on the welfare of the people.

The aspect of federalism contains within itself the spirit of division of powers and jurisdiction of authority between two different levels of government. Here, it is important to note that each level of the specified government has their own specific and distinct set of laws and jurisdiction (Béland et al. 2017). They derive their powers and authority from a written Constitution and therefore, are not dependent on the other level of government for the exercise of their powers. At times, it might occur that the central government may have slightly power power than the states or that the various state governments may have more power and authority than the central government (Sommers and Naylor 2017). However, this state of affairs depends upon practice and the evolution of the political affairs within the concerned country.

Mulroney Government and Federalism


Canada has a long history of being under the control of Britain during the colonial era. However, when it gained independence, it still maintained the element of being under the Queen’s rule. In the present contemporary world order, Canada now has a federal Crown at the centre and ten different provincial Crown governments at the level of the constituent units who derive their powers and authority from the Canadian Crown (Béland et al. 2017). Each of the various jurisdictions are considered to be independent from each other and all of them derive their authority from a document known as the British North America Act of 1867, which is now known as the Constitution Act of 1867 (Béland and Kent Weaver 2019). 

Brian Mulroney was the first Conservative Prime Minister of Canada after Sir John Macdonald (Esselment 2017). He won consecutive majorities and his victory was termed as the largest landsliding victory within the politics of Canada. However, it can be observed that following his resignation from the post of Prime Minster, his entire political support was completely eliminated (Mahon and Collier 2016). This is due to the major changes that he sought to bring about within the political system of the country, which had deep entrenching effect on the country and its federal spirit.

One of the major challenges that was sought to be resolved by the government of Mulroney was that of the issue of division of national unity (Wilford 2015). Quebec in Canada was the only territory which failed to sign the new Constitution of Canada which was formulated in 1982 by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (Wyile 2017). It was the vision of Mulroney to include Quebec within the national element of Canada. In this respect, he negotiated a new agreement known as the Meech Lake Accord in the year of 1987 which consisted of special provisions and constitutional amendments solely for Quebec which would fulfill its desire for being recognized as a distinct and special society within Canada (McKenna 2015). The Meech Lake Accord also sought to delegate and give certain powers to the various provinces of Canada, further changing the federal spirit of the country. This had a severe impact on the division of powers between the Central government of Canada and the various provincial governments. The granting of a special recognition to that of Quebec meant that Quebec had more power and authority compared to the other various state territories. Furthermore, the Meech Lake Accord also sought to give wider powers and authority to the provincial governments by the way of delegation (Mahon and Collier 2016). This led to the reduction of the control of the central government over its provincial units, thereby changing the nature of division of powers.

Chretien Government and Federalism


Another important federal change that was brought about by the political designs of Brian Mulroney was that of privatizing several important businesses which were earlier held by the Crown corporations (McKenna 2015). For instance, in the year of 1984, the Government of Canada had authority over nearly sixty crown corporations (Mahon and Collier 2016). However, with the enactment of the new idea passed by Mulroney, around twenty three of such corporations were sold off. It included within itself the organization of Air Canada (McKenna 2015). This had a deep impact within the federal aspect of Canada. The privatization of the business organizations meant that the control of the central government of Canada over such firms diminished, leaving them with the freedom to pursue any activities that so desired by them.

The greatest political legacy left behind by Mulroney was that of the Goods and Services Tax. This mechanism sought to divide the money collected through the system of tax collection, equally between the central and the state governments (Wyile 2017). This measure proved to be essential because of the economic deficit that Canada was facing at that time in the year of 1993 (Mahon and Collier 2016). In this context. Mulroney used a rare clause in the Constitution to ensure its passing which hurt the sentiments of the state government since they could no longer take advantage of the manufacturer’s tax. They were now required to share their tax collection with the government at the centre. This further changed the spirit of the federal government since the jurisdictions were made overlapping in nature in the field of taxes (Mahon and Collier 2016).

The next Prime Minster of Canada whose actions had a deep and reverberating impact on the spirit of federalism within Canada is that of Jean Cheretian. He was elected to the post of Prime Minister in the year of 1993 and he held much liberal views as opposed to the conservative views that was held by Brian Mulroney (Gregory 2016). The first political act of Cheretian was to condemn the issue of the sovereign status that was granted to Quebec. He held the belief that Canada is a multicultural country and that people of all races and ethnicity had the right to live freely and at an equal footing within this political territory (Castro-Rea and Weller 2019). Thus, from this, it can be observed that the liberal views of Cheretian encouraged him to speak for an equal standing between the government of Canada at the centre and the various provincial governments at the constituent levels of the country. To this regard, he specified that he would not revoke the Meech Lake Accord as such but in the event that any conflicts arose between the special status granted to Quebec and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, it would be the later which would take over precedence (Gagnon 2019). As a consequence, from this it is clear that Cheretien wanted to reverse the division of powers in the favor of the provincial territories which was envisioned by Mulroney.

Conclusion


The special status that was granted to Quebec would have empowered the province to pass any law which would have allowed it to maintain its distinct identity. This clause of providing a distinct status would have empowered the province to assume more authority in the context of the powers being delegated to it. The amendments that were proposed by Cheretien aimed to give Constitutional recognition to Quebec as a distinct society, but at the same time, limit the power of Quebec to assume any special powers being delegated to it (Ames 2015). In other words, he sought a fair and equal balance of power and division of power and authority among the Government of Canada and that of the governments at the provinces.

Another major change that was sought to be brought about by the government of Cheretien was with regard to the Goods and Services Tax that was pushed so hard by Brian Mulroney (Graefe 2018). The Goods and Services Tax would have compelled the government of Canada to share its taxes equally between the provincial governments. This would posed a problem to the federal spirit as enshrined in the Constitution of Canada since there would have been significant overlapping between the two jurisdictions of the two sets of governments. Thus, in order to prevent this and to ensure the maintenance of the federal aspect of the forefathers of Canada, the Goods and Services Tax was opposed to vehemently by Cheretien (Castro-Rea and Weller 2019). From this, it needs to be observed that the liberal ideas of Cheretien encouraged him to undertake those activities where the will of the people was taken in to account. He did not want to force upon the people any kind of constitutional restrictions which would have interfered with their happiness and prosperity. On the other hand, Mulroney was more of a conservative leader. He took it upon himself to decide which laws and regulations would be convenient for the people and aim to improve their welfare intentions (Castro-Rea and Weller 2019). In this respect, the various policies which were undertaken by Brian Mulroney and that of Cheretien, had a deep reverberating impact on the diminishing of the spirit of federalism which was observed within Canada during the twentieth century.


Thus, in conclusion, it can be observed that in the context of a federal country, the division of powers is usually outlined in the Constitution of the concerned countries. It is the obligation and the responsibility of the politicians at the helm of affairs to ensure that the exercise of such powers and authorities are carried out in a just and fair manner. The government at the centre and at the various constituent levels have their own specified jurisdictions. They derive their own powers from the Constitution, which prevents the overlapping of their authorities. However, in the real world scenario, it can be seen that often times, there comes along a politician who wants to change the course of the Constitution. They feel that certain necessary changes needs to be brought about in the society for the sake of maintenance of the welfare of the citizens. For instance, the division of taxes is the main issue since it determines the amount of financial resources available with the state governments to ensure that their citizens are taken well care of. Under the wider scope of a welfare state, such changes are deemed to be necessary and vital. However, care needs to be taken that they do not adversely diminish the very spirit of the Constitution. The advantage of a federal government is that there are laws present which prevent the governments from over stepping their boundaries.

References:

Ames, A., 2015. Executive Federalism in Canada: Competition or Collaboration?. Public Policy and Governance Review, 7(1), p.38. 

Béland, D. and Kent Weaver, R., 2019. Federalism and the politics of the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans. Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy, 35(1), pp.25-40.

Béland, D., Lecours, A., Marchildon, G.P., Mou, H. and Olfert, M.R., 2017. Fiscal federalism and equalization policy in Canada: Political and economic dimensions. University of Toronto Press.

Castro-Rea, J. and Weller, J., 2019. Is the Québec Secession Movement Dead? Perspectives After Canada’s 2015 Federal Election. In Claims for Secession and Federalism (pp. 97-111). Springer, Cham.

Collins, E.L., 2016. Why Can't We Be Friends? Informal Relations, Public Policy, and Federalism in Canada (Doctoral dissertation, Carleton University).

Esselment, A., 2017. 13 Federal Feet and Provincial Pools: The Conservatives and Federalism in Canada. The Blueprint: Conservative Parties and their Impact on Canadian Politics, p.290.

Gagnon, A.G., 2019. Competing Claims for Federalism in Complex Political Settings. A Canadian Exploration. In Claims for Secession and Federalism (pp. 85-96). Springer, Cham.

Graefe, P., 2018. State rescaling, institutionalized state-citizen relationships, and Canadian health policy. Studies in Political Economy, 99(2), pp.175-193.

Gregory, S., 2016. Chrétien and Iraq: Explaining Canada’s Decision to Say No to the War and the Role of International Law. McGill Journal of Political Studies, 7, pp.24-31.

Mahon, R. and Collier, C., 2016. Navigating the shoals of Canadian federalism: Childcare advocacy. In Federalism, Feminism and Multilevel Governance (pp. 51-66). Routledge.

McKenna, E., 2015. “The Freedom to Choose”: Neoliberalism, Feminism, and Childcare in Canada. Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, 37(1), pp.41-52.

Morales, S. and Nichols, J., 2018. Reconciliation Beyond the Box: The UN Declaration and Plurinational Federalism in Canada.

Sommers, B.D. and Naylor, C.D., 2017. Medicaid block grants and federalism: lessons from Canada. Jama, 317(16), pp.1619-1620.

Verdun, A., 2015. Federalism in the EU and Canada. Understanding federalism and federation, pp.233-244.

Wilford, G., 2015. Deferential Federalism: The Politics and Policy Implications of ‘Collaborative’Federalism Since 1994. Federalism-E, 16(1), pp.22-29.

Wyile, H., 2017. Towards a Genealogy of Reconciliation in Canada. Journal of Canadian Studies, 51(3), pp.601-635.

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