Does Government Digitalization Lead to Greater Centralization in Federations?

SPECIAL SERIES: Digitalization of Public Administration in Federal Countries – Author: Éric Desrochers: During the Digitalization of Public Administration in Federal Countries workshop, scholars and practitioners of government digitalization presented case studies touching on various aspects of the relationship between e-government and centralization in federal and quasi-federal countries.

Has Decentralizing Governance in the MENA Region Increased Women’s Empowerment?

Author: Simone Clarke – Ensuring adequate representation for women in governance realms remains a global challenge. This challenge is especially prevalent in the MENA region, which since the early 2010s has been faced with both the beginning and aftermath of the Arab Spring protests. These protests originated in Tunisia and soon spread to other countries in the region as calls for more equal governance grew in size and scale. The desire for increased opportunities for political participation resulted in some countries, including Tunisia and Morocco, moving toward decentralization. Despite their geographic proximity, these two countries took different approaches to decentralization. The outcomes of these two approaches provides for a compelling comparative analysis.

Acting on Alienation? Federal Political Culture and the Case of Alberta

Author: Jamie M. Thomas – Concepts of regionalism, alienation, secession, and separation are not new in federal studies. These ideas have been discussed at length in the Canadian case, especially concerning Quebec, and highlight the tension between shared-rule and self-rule in federal countries. In an extremely decentralized and geographically dispersed federation like Canada, it is important to understand the dynamics behind these concepts and how they present differently across the country. Examining how these sentiments differ from each other and have developed within the same federal system can contribute to a greater understanding of the complexities of ‘togetherness and apartness’ in Canada – and by extension – in other federal countries too. Using political culture to explore the origins of and continued support for these concepts in provinces outside Quebec provides an opportunity to assess the current state of federalism in Canada, as well as what actions can be undertaken to improve relationships between the provinces and the federal government.

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.  

Digitalization in Federal Governments: Impacts on Service Delivery

Author: Soumaya Marhnouj – In the age of digital technology, it has become the norm to rely more upon online applications for access to public services and programs as internet connectivity has proliferated. In Canada, 98% of households have access to fixed broadband internet access, and more than 87% have a home Internet subscription. Furthermore, over 88% of the population have a smartphone and 45% of them check their smartphone every 30 minutes. Not only are people more interconnected than ever, but technology is increasingly relied upon in a manner that would have been unimaginable just a few decades ago. We see this technological shift in almost every aspect of life; government actors, government services, and public information should be no exception. Federal and unitary governments worldwide are embracing – and being expected to embrace – technology in the exercise of their functions. Central and subnational governments can use these technologies to fulfill primary goals in service provision, including “improving efficiency and service quality by reducing service lead times, increasing transparency, and offering seamless service provision across organizations.” This practice is known as digital government.   

Federalism: a Viable Peacebuilding Tool?

Author: Victoria Rose King – Since the end of the Cold War, the frequency with which federalism has been adopted as a peacebuilding tool in deeply divided states has increased. This is due to its perceived “ability to satisfy the aspirations and demands of both minority and majority groups: giving minority groups (limited) control over their own economic, political and social affairs, while also sustaining the territorial integrity of the extant state” (Anderson & Keil, 2017).

Protest in Melbourne, Australia for Invasion Day 2020 Photo by Johan Mouchet on Unsplash

Movements Toward Reconciliation? Federalism and Indigenous Rights in Australia and Canada

Author: K. Hunter – Canada and Australia have long faced scrutiny for human rights abuses against their Indigenous populations since colonization. Consequently, Indigenous communities continue to struggle with gaining recognition and respect of their rights as colonial structures persist in the present day. However, efforts in both these countries by their Indigenous populations seek to change the way these relationships are viewed and interpreted, amid calls for both constitutional reform and greater recognition of Indigenous rights.

Pandemic Policing and Federal Pathways for Democratization

Author: Asma Zribi – The outbreak of COVID-19 impacted how governments operate and deliver services, including security. The pandemic shone a spotlight on governance shortcomings in supporting the most vulnerable and underrepresented populations, who have been disproportionately impacted in health and economic terms. State security providers, in their turn, have been required to cooperate with public health authorities, adapt to rapidly changing emergency regulations, and provide services that are not generally within their mandates.

Decentralized Governance to Reinforce Women’s Political Participation in the MENA Region

Author: Laurie-Ève Beauchamp – The Middle East and North African (MENA) region is characterized by low participation of women in decision-making processes. Women face multiple challenges when they seek recognition as active political actors. This article examines the obstacles to women’s political participation in the MENA region and how the mechanisms of decentralized and multilevel governance can better support their political participation.