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Canadian Studies: The State of the Art- Études canadiennes : Questions de recherché

1981-2011: International Council for Canadian Studies (ICCS)- 1981-2011 : Conseil international d’études canadiennes (CIEC)


Edited By Klaus-Dieter Ertler, Stewart Gill, Susan Hodgett and Patrick James

Celebrating the 30 th anniversary of the International Council for Canadian Studies (ICCS) this collection offers an overview of the state of the art in various disciplines in Canadian Studies, such as political science, history, geography, sociology, public policy, linguistics, literature, as well as media studies and cultural studies.
À l’occasion du 30 e anniversaire du Conseil international d’études canadiennes (CIEC), nous offrons un panorama de la recherche et de ses questions dans les différentes disciplines en études canadiennes, telles que les sciences politiques, l’histoire, la géographie, la linguistique, la littérature, ainsi que les études sur les médias et sur les cultures.


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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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