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Reforming the economic union : the agreement on internal trade and intergovernmental relations in Canada Crandall, Erin Lynn

Abstract

Significant interest in reforming Canada’s economic union emerged in the late 1970s when businesses began pointing to barriers to interprovincial trade as negative impediments to efficiency and growth potential. The process between agreeing that reforms were necessary and their actual implementation, however, proved challenging for the federal and provincial governments and significant progress was not made until the Agreement on Internal Trade in 1995. During this time, reform attempts changed considerably both in terms of method (constitutional vs. intergovernmental agreement) and leadership (federal government vs. provinces). By reviewing past and ongoing attempts to reform the economic union, this thesis analyzes the state of intergovernmental relations and Canadian federalism more generally. This analysis will demonstrate that intergovernmental relations have become increasingly decentralized - appearing to transition to a more confederal model of collective government action. Provincial leadership, since the creation of the Council of the Federation in 2003, indicates a defacto principle of subsidiarity has developed.

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