Canada's representative democracy is confronting important challenges. At the top of the list is the growing inability of the national government to perform its most important roles: namely mapping out collective actions that resonate in all regions as well as enforcing these measures. Others include Parliament's failure to carry out important responsibilities, an activist judiciary, incessant calls for greater transparency, the media's rapidly changing role, and a federal government bureaucracy that has lost both its way and its standing.
Arguing that Canadians must reconsider the origins of their country in order to understand why change is difficult and why they continue to embrace regional identities, Democracy in Canada explains how Canada's national institutions were shaped by British historical experiences, and why there was little effort to bring Canadian realities into the mix. As a result, the scope and size of government and Canadian federalism have taken on new forms largely outside the Constitution. Parliament and now even Cabinet have been pushed aside so that policy makers can design and manage the modern state. This also accounts for the average citizen's belief that national institutions cater to economic elites, to these institutions' own members, and to interest groups at citizens' own expense.
A masterwork analysis, Democracy in Canada investigates the forces shaping the workings of Canadian federalism and the country's national political and bureaucratic institutions.
Donald J. Savoie is the Canada Research Chair in public administration and governance at the Université de Moncton and the author of numerous books including What Is Government Good At? A Canadian Answer and Whatever Happened to the Music Teacher? How Government Decides and Why.
"Nobody else but Savoie could have written such an exhaustive and authoritative critique of Canada's institutions – the culmination of all his other work." The National Post
"Impressive, bold, audacious, and monumental, Democracy in Canada is an ambitious compendium of public sector information spanning 1867 to today." Alex Marland, Memorial University of Newfoundland and co-editor of First among Unequals