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Canadian Federalism and Its Future: Actors and Institutions

Alain-G. Gagnon et Johanne Poirier
McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020.


The time is ripe to revisit Canada’s past and redress its historical wrongs. Yet in our urgency to imagine roads to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, it is important to keep in sight the many other forms of diversity which Canadian federalism has historically been designed to accommodate, or could also reflect more effectively. Canadian Federalism and Its Future brings together international experts to assess four fundamental institutions: bicameralism, the judiciary as “final arbiter” of the federal deal, the electoral system and party politics, and finally, intergovernmental relations. The contributors use comparative and critical lenses to appraise the repercussions of these four dimensions of Canadian federalism on key actors, including member states, constitutive units, internal nations, Indigenous peoples, and linguistic minorities. Pursuing the work of The Constitutions That Shaped Us (2015) and The Quebec Conference of 1864 (2018), this third volume is a testimony to Canada’s successes and failures in constitutional design. Reflecting on the cultural pluralism inherent in this country, Canadian Federalism and Its Future offers thought-provoking lessons for a world in search of concrete institutional solutions, within and beyond the traditional nation-state.

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