In October 2015, the federal Liberals came to power with sweeping plans to revamp Canada's democratic and federal institutions - a modernizing agenda intended to revitalize Canada's democratic architecture. The centrepiece of the agenda was the replacement of Canada's first-past-the-post electoral system, but they also promised to revitalize relations with the provinces, bring Indigenous Peoples into the intergovernmental fold, and to change the ways in which senators and Supreme Court justices are appointed. How has the reform agenda faired? Has it resulted in a more effective and democratic set of political and federal institutions? Or has it largely failed to deliver on these objectives? What, more broadly, is the state of Canada's democratic and federal institutions? The Queen's Institute of Intergovernmental Relations used the occasion of Canada's 150th birthday to examine these pressing issues. The 2017 volume in the State of the Federation series focuses on enduring questions about the functioning of federalism and intergovernmental relations in Canada, including how we should evaluate the quality of Canada's institutions and practices in light of our federal structure, and how current institutional arrangements and their possible alternatives fare according to these criteria.
About the authors
Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant is associate professor of political science at Queen's University and the director of the Queen's Institute of Intergovernmental Relations and the Canadian Opinion Research Archive.
Kyle Hanniman is associate director of the Institute of Intergovernmental Relations at Queen’s University.