Canadian Federalism: Double Update

13 01 2016

As long-time readers of this blog will know, the economic dimensions of Canada’s federal system remains one of my research interests. In fact, the role of British business in the creation of the Canadian federation in 1867 was the subject of my PhD thesis long ago.

I now want to share two important pieces of news related to the theme of Canadian federalism.

First, the Institute for Research on Public Policy, which is probably Canada’s most respected economic think-tank, has just published a new “Policy Options Podcast”that is an interview with my co-author Jatinder Mann. In the interview, Jatinder talks about our new Queen’s University IIGR  working paper, “Federalism and Sub-National Protectionism: a Comparison of the Internal Trade Regimes of Canada and Australia.” The paper seeks to explain why Australia’s has had greater success than Canada in achieving internal free trade. (As many Canadian business people will know, there are many internal trade barriers that restrict commerce between the constituent units of the Canadian federation). You can read the full paper here.  Here is a link to Jatinder’s academic profile.

Second, Ged Martin, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Edinburgh, has published a thought-provoking paper on the concept of the Fathers of Confederation. When Canadians talk about the architects of the 1867 constitution, they often use this term, which has a meaning that is somewhat similar to that of “the Founding Fathers” is US political and legal discourse. The provocative argument of Professor Martin’s paper is that this term no longer serves any worthwhile purpose and should be abandoned. Historian Christopher Moore, who uses this term Fathers of Confederation is his new book on Confederation, has written a robust response to Martin’s argument.






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