Jennifer Smith argues that federalism is part of the democratic problem now; however, reformed, it can be part of the solution. Since theorists disagree on the democratic credentials of federalism, it is essential to look at how a real federal system operates. Smith examines the origins of Canadian federalism and its special features, then analyzes it in relation to the benchmarks of the Canadian Democratic Audit project: responsiveness, inclusiveness, and participation. Finding that Canadian federalism falls short on each benchmark, she recommends changes ranging from virtual regionalism to a Council of the Federation that includes Aboriginal representatives. Democracy is about more than the House of Commons or elections. It is also about federalism. This sparkling account of Canadian federalism is a must-read for students and scholars of Canadian politics, politicians and policymakers, and those who care about Canadian democracy.
About the author
Jennifer M. Smith is an author and an adventurer. She has lived on the water with her husband aboard Green Ghost for thirteen of the past twenty-three years while travelling extensively by sail. She currently lives a land-life in Burlington, Ontario.
This is an important book that should be read by academic students and practitioners of Canadian federalism alike. It reopens important and unresolved questions about democratic federal governance in a constructive and even-handed manner.
Canadian Journal of Political Science