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Provincial and Territorial Politics in Canada and Beyond

J01 - Territorial Political Systems and Provincial Administrative Tribunals

Date: Jun 4 | Time: 08:45am to 10:15am | Location: SWING 110

Chair/Président/Présidente : Christopher Adams (University of Manitoba)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Jerald Sabin (Bishop's University)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Adam Harmes (Univesity of Western Ontario)

Comparing Consensus and Party-Based Systems: Deliberative Quality in Canada’s Northern Legislatures: Michael MacKenzie (University of Pittsburgh), Eléonore Fournier-Tombs (McGill University), André Bächtiger (University of Stuttgart)
Abstract: This paper uses the Deliberative Quality Index (DQI) to compare legislative debates in Canada’s three northern territories: the Yukon, Northwest Territories (NWT), and Nunavut. The legislatures in these territories are similar in many ways. They have approximately the same number of members, they represent northern populations, and they routinely deal with similar issues (e.g., natural resource management, education, community policing, substance abuse, and the protection of indigenous cultures). But there is at least one important institutional difference: the legislatures in Nunavut and NWT operate on a non-partisan consensus model, while the Yukon legislature uses a party-based system. This situation creates a useful natural experiment. In this paper, we employ and adapt Fournier-Tombs’ DelibAnalysis, an innovative machine-learning, computational technique designed to automatically code transcripts according to the specifications of the Deliberative Quality Index. This program allows us to conduct detailed analyses of legislative debates on a large number of topics without relying solely on manual analysis. Our expectation is that legislative debates in Nunavut and NWT will be more deliberative than those in the Yukon precisely when it matters most (i.e., when contentious political issues such as natural resource management and the legalization of marijuana are being discussed). DelibAnalysis will allow us to examine subtleties in debating and consensus-building approaches, and these analyses will provide insight into how institutional and cultural differences affect deliberative quality in these different (but comparable) legislative arenas.


The Mention of Political Parties in the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut: Alex Norman (University of Leeds)
Abstract: The Legislative Assembly of Nunavut is presented to have no political parties. In fact, the absence of political parties at a territorial level is one of the distinctions of Nunavut, along with the Northwest territories, from the rest of the Canadian provinces and territories. Yet, before the creation of the territory a number of politicians and civil servants expected the rise of political parties in the new territory. Some advanced that the specificity of Nunavut creates campaign-related challenges for territorial political parties. Still, the absence of political parties is claimed by academics and MLAs to be explained by the Inuit tradition within the territory. This paper is not about how their absence affects the proceedings of the legislature. Rather, it analyses the mentions of political parties by Members of the Nunavut Legislative Assembly in parliamentary debates through analysis of Hansard. It investigates how MLAs are constructing their discourse on political parties. Using Saward's theory of representative claim (2006; 2010), the paper maps the different claims that MLAs are making on political parties. Finally, the paper will conclude in a discussion between the explanation of the absence of political parties by the literature and the different claims made by MLAs on political parties.


Mapping the Adjudicative Tribunal Landscape in Canada: A Bird's Eye View to an Understudies Aspect of Agencification: Sule Tomkinson (Université Laval)
Abstract: The role of adjudicative tribunals in policy and politics is a blind spot in Canadian political science scholarship. As arms-length agencies that are responsible for adjudication and a significant portion of legal decisions made in Canada, they attend to claims in various areas of social concern. Canadian administrative law scholarship tends to treat adjudicative tribunals as an ad hoc solution to the disputes and claims in particular policy areas in an independent, inexpensive, accessible and a swift manner. Similarly, public management scholarship infrequently includes adjudicative tribunals within agencification movement. The contribution of this article is twofold. First, it maps the policy landscape of all Canadian federal and provincial adjudicative tribunals and demonstrates that most were established in the 1990s and 2000s. Second, it argues that adjudicative tribunals should be conceptualized as an object of public sector reform efforts instead of being viewed from an ad hoc, fragmented, and dispute resolution outlook.


The Debt State and Fiscal Federalism: Canada and Germany in Comparative Perspective: Brent Toye (York University)
Abstract: This paper looks at how the ‘financialization’ of modern economies and the emergence of what Streeck (2013; 2016) has referred to as the ‘debt state’ has influenced the trajectory of fiscal federalism reform in Canada and Germany. It argues that despite distinct institutional starting points and logics, fiscal federalism arrangements in Germany and Canada have increasingly functioned to assure financial markets of the ability of national and subnational governments to service (sub)sovereign debt-loads. In Canada this has occurred through the devolution of fiscal autonomy to the subnational level to promote segregated provincial responsibility and capacity for debt-service. Meanwhile, the centralized, highly integrated German federation, having been unable to download fiscal responsibility as a result of its infamous joint-decision trap (Scharpf 1988), has implemented procedural constraints in-line with the broader Maastricht Criteria framework in order to manage subnational spending and borrowing. In doing so the German federation has centralized fiscal responsibility and discipline within the national government.