Canadian Politics/open federalism



Why may open federalism be controversial? Is it controversial because it is used as a tactic to get more support from Quebec? It is controversial because it supports Quebec autonomy?

Hello Arjun,

Thank you for your question.

The issue of how our country deals with its federalist nature always seems to have some controversy. It stems from the very idea of how we are to govern ourselves.

Some people believe that we are a partnership of 10 provinces and the federal government and that therefore what one province gets, all should receive.

Others view us as a compact between the two founding nations: French and English.

Still others believe that provincial governments should really be the ones running the country.

The conception of "open federalism" has a lot to do with decentralizing power from the federal government to the provinces. It's not necessarily solely about Quebec, but la belle province has certainly been more aggressive than other provinces about acquiring decentralized powers.

I don't think there's a single reason for its controversial nature, but if I had to offer one, I would say that open federalism is often controversial because it challenges our ideas of what it means to be Canadian.

I hope this helps.


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Adam McDonald


I can answer any questions about Canadian politics. More specifically, I have expertise in parliamentary procedure, the Constitution, and Ontario politics.


I have a B.A.(Hons) and an M.A. in Political Science, as well as practical work experience in academia, professional politics, government relations, and work at a provincial legislature.

Canadian Parliamentary Review Federal Governance Canadian Political Science Association Annual Meeting, 2005.

B.A. (Hons): History and Political Science. M.A.: Political Science

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