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Jennifer Smith argues that federalism is part of the democratic problem now; however, reformed, it can be part of the solution. Since theorists disagree on the democratic credentials of federalism, it is essential to look at how a real federal system operates. Smith examines the origins of Canadian federalism and its special features, then analyzes it in relation to the benchmarks of the Canadian Democratic Audit project: responsiveness, inclusiveness, and participation. Finding that Canadian federalism falls short on each benchmark, she recommends changes ranging from virtual regionalism to a Council of the Federation that includes Aboriginal representatives. Democracy is about more than the House of Commons or elections. It is also about federalism. This sparkling account of Canadian federalism is a must-read for students and scholars of Canadian politics, politicians and policymakers, and those who care about Canadian democracy.

Table of Contents



1 Auditing Federalism in Canada

2 Federalism and Democracy

3 Canadian Federalism

4 Democratic Audit of Inclusiveness in the Federal System

5 Democratic Audit of Participation in the Federal System

6 Democratic Audit of Responsiveness in the Federal System

7 The Democratic Audit and Change in the Federal System

8 The Need for Change

Discussion Questions

Additional Reading

Works Cited


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