Federalism Essay

865 words - 3 pages

Constitutional FederalismPSCI 2003A100937852TA: Dylan DilksProf: Jonathan Malloy September 30th, 2014In the year of 1987 there was a prevailing sentiment of uneasiness amongst Canadians because of Quebec's exclusion from the constitution. Quebec would also refuse to join in constitutional reforms making it difficult to progress with Aboriginal rights and the government was forced to grant Ontario a defacto vote on constitutional changes, (Parkinson, 2007). The Meech Lake Accord was a document drafted in response to this as to bring Quebec back into the constitutional framework by outlining the five demands made by then Quebec Premier, Robert Bourassa. The document was contentious for both its substance and the procedure of them being negotiated on behind closed doors by the then, First Ministers.Though the argument can be well debated by supporters of the document that open consensus is likely to have been more time consuming, costly and perhaps less chaotic than hard bargaining, it is a much more difficult task altogether to prove that hard bargaining is more democratic. As a matter of democratic principle, the hard bargaining displayed in the negotiations of Meech Lake Accord in 1987 or in modern day have no place in Canadian politics.The Meech Lake Accord was executed as the infamous, behind-the-scenes gathering of eleven white men in suits for one simple reason: because that's how it was always done, (Cochrane & Dyck, 2013). The very constitution the Accord was created to have Quebec sign was drafted in this same manner and any other means of application would have likely been conceived as atypical initially, but this was not the case for long. The Constitution and the entrenchment of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms brought along what Glen Clark and Chris Harris of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly dubbed the "Charter Era", (Clark & Harris, 1991). This era consolidated a surge of political involvement in Canadians who would no longer allow themselves to sit on the sidelines, Canadians now wanted the opportunity to have an open consensus, where their opinions would be taken into consideration. (Clark & Harris, 1991). At this juncture in constitutional history, Canadians understood and believed the Constitution belonged to them meaning mega constitutional change without their consultation would otherwise be inherently wrong - something that elite accommodation fundamentally disagreed with.By basic definition, elite accommodation is the notion that public policies emerge from the interaction of various elites, (often quietly or in secret), who share socioeconomic values making it easier for them to come to agreements, (Cochrane & Dyck, 2013). The classic elite theory applied in documents like the Meech Lake Accord through hard bargaining and backroom discussions works off...

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