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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Self-government in Europe and Canada : a comparison of selected cases Kopas, Paul Sheldon


Efforts to clarify aboriginal rights in Canada have centered around the demand by aboriginal people for a constitutionally entrenched right to self-government but the substance and character of that form of government are not defined. Comparative political studies have sought to identify possible features of self-government from other political systems. This study observes that in several European countries there are regions with high degrees of local autonomy then compares them to existing Canadian developments, endeavoring to see what might be learned. From Denmark, the Faroe Islands, and from the British Isles, the Isle of Man and Guernsey, are compared with the James Bay Cree (Quebec) and the Sechelt Band (British Columbia) self-governments and the proposed Territory of Nunavut in Canada. Material was gathered from the literature, from telephone interviews with administrators in the three European jurisdictions, and from personal interviews in Canada. The nascent Canadian experience with self-government includes many of the features of self-government in the European cases and leads to some optimism. Important issues in Canada such as the multitude of cases and the paucity of resources in some aboriginal communities require further study.

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