Canada: The Unresolved Federal Bargain
The constitutions created in 1791 for francophone Lower Canada and anglophone Upper Canada established a system of strong executive power vested in a crown-appointed governor-general. During the first part of the 19th century Canada developed into three distinctive economic and social units: anglophone Upper Canada centred on Ontario, francophone Lower Canada centred on Quebec, and the maritime colonies, which were predominantly anglophone hut constituted separate and fragmented political communities. Given the continuing distinctiveness not only of Quebec but also the western provinces, and the absence of central institutions for the representation of provincial interests, it is not surprising that grievances are aired and positions negotiated through the First Ministers Conference. The fact that such a body has become so crucial to mediating disputes speaks volumes for the status of Canadian federalism. Such institutions are more typical of interstate bargaining in confederations or in such bodies as the European Union than they are of mature federations.
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