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Political Institutions and Conflict Management in Canada

R. Kent Weaver
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 538, Being and Becoming Canada (Mar., 1995), pp. 54-68
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1048326
Page Count: 15
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Political Institutions and Conflict Management in Canada
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Abstract

Several features of Canadian political institutions have contributed in important ways to Canada's constitutional discontent. The system of plurality elections in single-member districts to the House of Commons tends to exaggerate regional differences in support for political parties, leading to some regions being severely underrepresented in the governing party caucus. This perceived exclusion has heightened regional alienation, especially in western Canada. Federalism in Canada has empowered provincial majorities, but it has also created grievances among provincial minorities and increased the visibility and perceived legitimacy of provincial government leaders rather than federal politicians as spokespersons for regional interests. A veto-ridden constitutional amending formula, and the failure of the last two rounds of constitutional negotiations, strengthen the argument made by politicians favoring Quebec sovereignty that no package of reforms meeting Quebec's aspirations is likely to win approval in the rest of Canada.

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