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The Oxford Handbook of the Canadian Constitution edited by Oliver, Peter; Macklem, Patrick; Des Rosiers, Nathalie (19th October 2017)

Part IV Federalism, A Federalism in Canada, Ch.18 From Dualism to Cooperative Federalism and Back?: Evolving and Competing Conceptions of Canadian Federalism

Jean-François Gaudreault-DesBiens, et Johanne Poirier

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Canadian Constitution

Edited By: Peter Oliver, Patrick Macklem, Nathalie Des Rosiers

This chapter documents the evolution from a dualist—“watertight compartments”—conception of Canadian federalism, to one that must acknowledge an increased number of intergovernmental cooperative ventures. It first examines Canada’s fundamentally dualist federal architecture before looking at the empirical reality of cooperative federalism which frequently challenges this structural dualism. It then considers how the rise of cooperative federalism influenced the evolution of the interpretive doctrines underpinning the law of Canadian federalism. Finally, it analyses the normative strength and scope of cooperative federalism, concluding that the impact of cooperative federalism in Canadian constitutional law remains tamed by the dualist conception of federalism that still underlies the Supreme Court of Canada’s federalism case law.

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