Federalism in Canada Essay

“Federalism is understood as a principle of government that seeks to reconcile unity and diversity through the exercise of political power along multiple autonomous level” (Tremblay, Lecours, Nikolenyi, Salloukh and Scala, 2007). Federalism is usually found in countries which have different religion, language, culture and economics and works best in states which are multicultural or multinational. Federalism provides protection against domination by the majority, an opportunity for self fulfillment and self development for the minority, through institutions that it controls, while maintaining the ability of both groups to pursue common goals” (Simeon and Conway, 2001) Federalism is found in Canada as well as the United States however each of these countries uses it differently. Canada uses federalism in a more decentralized manner.This means that in Canada each individual province and territory carries more power then the federal government does. In Canada most of the money which each province receives from the federal government is unconditional. This means that each province or territory is able to allocate the resources as they see fit (Trembley et al, 2007).

The United States, however uses a different approach. The U. S. has a more centralized approach to Federalism. This means that the national government has more control and power then each individual state.When each state receives resources from the national government the national government has one hundred percent of the control meaning that they can reserve the right to say who gets the resources and how they resources can be used.

(Trembley et al, 2007). However the main question is does Federalism threaten to break up multinational states? In Canada, the province of Quebec has been seeking sovereignty for many years. “The people of Quebec took pride in their separateness, in their sense of nationality.They wished to preserve their faith, their language, their laws and their culture, all essential constituting elements of their distinctiveness, of their existence as a separate people; above anything else, these components they wished to preserve and to safeguard in the future” (Claude Belanger, 2000).

Without a decentralized approach to federalism, Quebec would not have such great control over their province. They would not have such things as their own pension plans, their own tax collection or hold such power over immigration policies and human resource training then any other province (Trembley et al, 2007).If Quebec ever does achieve to be separate from the rest of Canada then it will reduce the sense of equality among the rest of the provinces and territories. This could cause other provinces and territories to wish to leave Canada and take control over their own province. This problem of wanting to secede is not seen in the United States because of their centralized approach to federalism. This approach allows each state to be equal and no one state to feel the need to overpower another state. The tension which has been created in Canada by Quebec trying to separate is not seen in the United States for this reason.

Belanger, C. (2000). Readings in Quebec History: Federalsim.

Retrieved February 7, 2010 from http://faculty. marianopolis. edu/c. belanger/QuebecHistory/readings/federal. html. Simeon, R. & Conway, D. (2001).

Federalism and the Management of Conflict in Multinational Societies. ” Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. Trembley, R.

, Lecours, A. , Nikolenyi, C. , Salloukh, B. , & Scala, F. ,(2007).

Mapping the Polictical Landscape: An Introduction to Political Science 2nd Edition. Nelson: United States of America.