Book Review: Federalism and the Constitution of Canada

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Jennifer Mussell


In his recent book, Federalism and the Constitution of Canada, David E. Smith characterizes Canada’s federalism as existing on two planes.  Horizontally, Canada consists of a territorial federalism- divided among ten provinces with equal jurisdiction and three territories, united by a common central government.  Vertically, Canada is a cultural federation: two distinct nations, the English and the French, again connected by a common central government.  Using this schema, Smith reevaluates some of the key questions in Canadian federalism.  In particular, he analyses the relationship between Canada’s constitution and its variant of federalism. While Smith’s analysis provides a novel approach to the study of Canadian federalism, this review highlights some of the difficulties with his framework of dual federalism; in particular that his conception of cultural federalism is too rigid to accommodate Canada’s broad cultural composition.

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How to Cite
MUSSELL, Jennifer. Book Review: Federalism and the Constitution of Canada. Federal Governance, [S.l.], v. 10, n. 1, feb. 2013. ISSN 1923-6158. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 25 july 2017.
federalism; constitutionalism; Canadian politics
Book Reviews / Research Commentary