1981-2011: International Council for Canadian Studies (ICCS)- 1981-2011 : Conseil international d’études canadiennes (CIEC)
À l’occasion du 30
POLITICAL SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS /SCIENCES POLITIQUES ET RELATIONS INTERNATIONALES
POLITICAL SCIENCE AND INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS / SCIENCES POLITIQUES ET RELATIONS INTERNATIONALES Constitutional Politics in Canada: The State of the Art Patrick James (University of Southern California) Overview Constitutional politics are fundamental to understanding any country and Can- ada is no exception. The range of issues involved is vast. Processes range from routine and dull to intense and even frightening – at times, it seems, the very fu- ture of Canada as a political entity is on the line. This essay will explore the state of the art in scholarship on Canadian constitutional politics. It unfolds in four additional sections. The first section identifies contemporary developments in Canadian politics. Theories about Canadian constitutional politics are enu- merated in the second section. The third section assesses the contemporary po- litical developments from Canada in light of the theories just described. Conclu- sions are offered in the fourth and final section. Contemporary Developments in Canadian Politics One way to assess the relevance of theories developed over a long period is to focus directly on current events. Are the well-established theories useful in as- sessing recent developments in Canadian politics? In an insightful treatment, Eagles and Manna (2008: 81-96) identify several characteristics of Canadian politics today: a concentration of power in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO); a more complex party system; a contracting level of voter turnout; and an expan- sion of activity among citizens in social movements. While these traits are not meant as an exhaustive list, they pertain to basic matters in Canadian...
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