Federalism, Regional Representation, and Parliamentary Government

AuthorKathy L. Brock/Geoffrey Hale
 
Federalism, Regional Representation,
and Parliamentary Government
Canadian federalism is a unique hybrid of British- and Amer-
ican-inf‌luenced constitutional systems. Its British-inf‌luenced ele-
ments combine unwritten “conventions” with major, long-lasting
legislative measures of constitutional or quasi-constitutional sig-
nif‌icance. Its US-inf‌luenced elements combine written constitu-
tional documents with periodic formal amendments discussed in
Chapter , whose ambiguities may be tested through judicial review,
as discussed in Chapter .
However, these categories are neither mutually exhaustive nor
exclusive they overlap with and inf‌luence one another. Various
legal and political principles associated with Canada’s federal char-
acter may be formally constitutionalized through specif‌ic constitu-
tional amendments. Others evolve as a matter of practice — although
sometimes with anomalies that ref‌lect trade-os between dierent
principles, especially in dealing with issues of political representation.
Constitutional conventions may also evolve from principles
articulated as part of judicial rulings. A series of nineteenth cen-
tury court decisions rejected a hierarchical, “quasi-imperial” view of
federalism in which Canada’s federal government claimed a relation

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