Canadian Political Landscape

The tensions between federal and provincial governments in Canada have varied over time and led to various types of dialogues between them. It could be a more cooperation-oriented conversation, or it could result in serious disagreements and discrepancies between the governments (Simeon, 2015). I believe that while the independent actions of provinces might not be a problem per se, there is still a need for coherence and coordination between the federal and provincial governments.

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As Wood (2013) points out, due to the fact that federal politicians have more executive power and provincial governments’ influence is limited, such a system leads to weak federal-provincial coordination. Moreover, the discrepancies and even rivalry in the federal-provincial relations can also adversely affect the transparency of those due to the lack of any coordination. Using the labor market as an example, Wood (2013) notices that since provinces provide their own reports on employment data, there is no opportunity to create a national report. It is true that the effectiveness of the political system is significantly affected by the non-existent coherence between the actions of the governments.

Another evidence of the inefficient federal-provincial relations is the study conducted by Craft, Howlett, Crawford, and McNutt (2013), who points out that the lower engagement in the issue of climate change on the organizational level is also linked to the ineffective policy capacity. The lacking coordination between the governments will only lead to the decreased efficiency of specific programs, policies, and governance in Canada. Province-by-province reporting can also adversely influence the assessment of national data related to any major themes such as labor, health care, education, welfare, etc. It is not the limited independence of provinces per se that makes the relations ineffective but rather the inability of the governments to establish and maintain effective communication and action coordination.


Craft, J., Howlett, M., Crawford, M., & McNutt, K. (2013). Assessing policy capacity for climate change adaptation: Governance arrangements, resource deployments, and analytical skills in Canadian infrastructure policy making. Review of Policy Research, 30(1), 42-65.

Simeon, R. (2015). Federal-provincial relations.

Wood, D. E. (2013). Comparing employment policy governance regimes in Canada and the European Union. Canadian Public Administration, 56(2), 286-303.

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