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Silenced debate : the centralized nature of Chrétien foreign policy Gass, Philip Robert

Abstract

This thesis applies the 'government from the centre' thesis, as put forth by Donald Savoie in his book Governing from the Centre: The Concentration of Power in Canadian Politics, to the creation of foreign policy during the Chretien government. Savoie argues that the centre of Canadian government, meaning the Prime Minister and his advisors, dominated government policy and have forced other bodies, formerly involved in policy creation, into an advisory role. The thesis starts with an examination of the central theory as well as the views of its opponents; followed by a brief history of the department and its relation to the centre of government over the years. This is followed in chapters two and three by a study of Chretien himself as well as an examination of other actors in the foreign policy process. By determining the roles of each individual, and how much power each carried to formulate and initiate policy, the 'government from the centre' model is tested. Finally, the international landmine ban created during the late 1990's is used as a case study to show exactly how the centre dominated foreign policy creation when Chretien was Prime Minister. This case initially suggests that the Foreign Affairs Minister is the dominant player in foreign policy creation. Upon further study however, it is determined that the centre controlled the process. 'Governing from the centre' is alive and well in Canadian politics, and is the rule rather than the exception in foreign policy.

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