Federal-provincial relations and the environment : attaining sustainable development through cooperation /
MetadataShow full item record
A study of intergovernmental relations in the area of the environment will determine whether the current Canadian federal structure represents a dangerous impediment to the promotion of sustainable development. This paper examines the interjurisdictional quagmire that has developed from the fact that authority over the environment is a functionally concurrent field for the two orders of government. A history of federal-provincial relations in the area of environmental protection is followed by an analysis of the advantages and disadvantages associated with competitive and cooperative federalism. For the purpose of this paper, cooperative federalism is characterized by the presence of a formal institutional system to facilitate interaction between politicians and bureaucrats from both orders of government. Competitive federalism is defined as a system that lacks a formal institutional structure to promote discussion and coordination between federal and provincial officials in a specific field of interest. Last, I examine thirty sustainable development issues following the structure established in Agenda 21 to determine the impact of the present federal system on the development of these objectives. This study concludes that Canadian federalism is not a dangerous impediment to the promotion of sustainable development. Cooperative federalism in a form that does not eliminate the ability of governments to revert to competition promotes the emergence of an institutional system that facilitates information-sharing and discussion between the two orders of government, thus leading to coordinated efforts in the field of the environment. Respect for the current division of powers in this area is also essential to the cohesiveness of Canadian society. Policy-makers and advocates for a sustainable society should focus on working within the present system.