Federalism and Fraternité: Formalizing Arrangements to Foster Federal Dialogue in the Institutions of Canada’s Central Government

IAN PEACH

Federalism and Fraternité: Formalizing Arrangements to Foster Federal Dialogue in the Institutions of Canada’s Central Government

Le fédéralisme et la fraternité : Formaliser les arrangements pour favoriser le dialogue fédéral dans les institutions du gouvernement central canadien

In Canada, federalism was weakly reflected in the design of the institutions of the central government, including the Senate, and attempts to reform the Senate, or even to establish a strong, broadly popular agenda for reform, have failed. Thus, unlike other federations, Canada’s central institutions continue to exhibit a weak commitment to federalism and federal dialogue. An upper chamber that provides a voice for the constituent units of the federation within the institutions of the central government is an ideal, but Canada’s experience with attempts to reform the Senate leave one wondering whether it is possible to achieve an adequate national consensus on a model of Senate reform. Instead, a strategy to, first, abolish the existing Senate and, thereafter, seek to replace it with new institutional arrangements would seem to have the best chance of establishing a formal place for the constituent units of the federation and federal dialogue within the institutions of Canada’s central government.

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