A Federalism Identity Crisis? Separatist Movements in Federations

Author: Emilie Patry – The province of Quebec is well known for political movements which have, at various points in Canada’s history, expressed a desire to separate from the federation. The government of Quebec has on two distinct occasions asked its citizens if they wished to become independent. Following the last referendum held in 1995, when 50.58% of the Quebec population answered “no”, separatist claims did not simply disappear (Bellerose, 2021, S.d). While it is true that over the years the ideal of an independent Quebec has lost some of its relevance among the population as a whole, it nevertheless is still an electoral promise of a number of political parties within the province. In this sense, it is certain that a Quebec nationalist sentiment remains present.

Les dilemmes du fédéralisme face à la pandémie de COVID-19

Auteure: Marie Bettega – Depuis Janvier 2020, la pandémie de COVID-19 marque une crise sanitaire internationale sans précédent. La propagation accélérée du virus dans un monde globalisé a nécessité des réponses inédites de la part des gouvernements. L’efficacité des actions engagées dépend du système politique des différents États. Cet article se concentre sur les États fédéraux, et plus particulièrement le Canada et l’Allemagne.  

Canadian Fiscal Federalism – The Question of Intergovernmental Transfers

Special Series: Fiscal Federalism in Canada – Author: Aracelly Denise Granja – The effectiveness of fiscal transfers between the federal and provincial governments continues to be a topic of debate amongst scholars and public officials alike. As such, the sixth and final panel of the Fiscal Federalism in Canada virtual conference culminated with a discussion regarding the Canadian fiscal transfer system. The panel was moderated by Linda Cardinal and was composed of three academics who specialize in the field of fiscal federalism: James Feehan, Kyle Hanniman and Geneviève Tellier. As the closing panel of the conference, the dialogue centred around the programs and institutions that could be implemented in order to improve the fiscal intergovernmental relationship between the federal and provincial governments.

Canadian Fiscal Federalism – The Ebb and Flow of the Canadian Transfer System

Special Series: Fiscal Federalism in Canada – Author: Silvana Gomes – Balance, fairness, and equality are the key ideas behind the Canadian transfer system, which is structured around three main components: the Canada Health Transfer (CHT), the Canada Social Transfer (CST), and the Equalization program. These components are the building blocks of an intergovernmental framework that governs the federal-provincial flow of resources that supports funding for many policies.

Exploring the Role of Emerging Actors in the Canadian Fiscal Federal System

Special Series: Fiscal Federalism in Canada – Author: Lydia Zhou – In Canada, the constitutional allocation of powers gives federal and provincial governments the most important and broad-based sources of taxation. As a result, the federal and provincial governments are the most influential and studied players in the arena—but they are not alone. It was, therefore, interesting to see speakers highlight the importance of actors such as Indigenous peoples and municipal governments at the Fiscal Federalism in Canada Conference’s second panel on Emerging Issues.

The Road Ahead: Fiscal Federalism in Canada and the Challenges of Multi-Level Governance, Population Aging and Universal Education Financing

Special Series: Fiscal Federalism in Canada – Author: Pauliana Borgella – The cohesion of collective action remains a constant quest for any government concerned with results. This search for cohesion is an essential lever of public management and is increasingly important in a federation such as Canada, where public powers are shared between the federal government, the provinces and territories and the municipalities. It is visible in the institutional arrangements linking the different tiers of Canadian public governance, of which fiscal federalism is an essential element.

Provincial and Regional Perspectives on Fiscal Federalism in Canada

Special Series: Fiscal Federalism in Canada – Author: Jackson Reggie – According to former senior federal public servant and academic Matthew Mendelsohn, equalization and other fiscal transfers are the “primary way we ensure that many of the social benefits of Canadian citizenship are enjoyed by residents of all regions, including those that are less prosperous” (2013, p. 7). Payments from the federal government distributes revenue collected from “have provinces” to “have not provinces” to support the provision of public services at “reasonably comparable” levels between provinces (Flanagan, 2021; Dahlby, 2014).

Do Past Compromises Ensure Future Ones? Fiscal Federalism in Canada Under Challenge

Special Series: Fiscal Federalism in Canada – Author: Julien Doris – Since the beginning of the pandemic, the federal government has had to resort largely to its spending power to support the provinces and territories. In opening the first panel of the Conference on Fiscal Federalism, Gilbert Charland, Quebec’s Deputy Minister for Canadian Relations, highlighted two central issues for the future: the anticipated imbalance in health care spending (Conseil de la Fédération, 2021) and the updating of equalization parameters (The Globe and Mail, 2021). While discussing the constitutional elements and historical advancements of fiscal federalism, the following sections will also highlight some short- and longer-term economic issues.

Enduring and Contemporary Challenges to Fiscal Federalism in Canada

Special Series: Fiscal Federalism in Canada – Author: Éric Desrochers – Opening session: Wednesday, April 21 (1:00 pm to 2:30 pm ET)
The opening session of the “Fiscal federalism in Canada” virtual conference was a panel of scholars and practitioners of fiscal federalism, featuring Louis Lévesque, Richard Bird, and Jim Dinning as panellists, and Madeleine Drohan as moderator. The panel centred on current issues in Canadian fiscal federalism and their interactions with the COVID-19 pandemic, serving as an introduction to two full days of discussions about fiscal federalism.