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The purpose of the Occasional Papers Series is to highlight research being undertaken by scholars from various academic disciplines who are interested in how decisions made at the municipal, provincial, national, and international level have advanced or compromised the public interest. These publications bring attention to key domestic and foreign policy issues, and how leaders at various levels of government have sought to address them.  In doing so, scholars are able to identify how and under what circumstances leaders were able to affect policy change.



An Uphill Battle

This study explores the relationship between several high-level US think tanks and three presidents with whom they tried to convey their ideas about multiple policy issues. In particular, it seeks to explain why presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama were far more inclined than President Trump to tap into the wealth of expertise available at some of the nation's most distinguished public policy institutes.

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Atlantic Canada in the Harper Era

This study examines tensions that arose between the Atlantic provinces and the Canadian federal government during Stephen Harper’s years as prime minister. It assesses to what degree the region’s integration within Canada was affected by these tensions, which include the expanding role of offshore resource industries in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia, labour mobility, economic-development initiatives, and the issue of political representation, particularly in the Senate. The paper also discusses intra-regional integration and the lingering impacts of the Harper legacy on current and future governments.

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Pandemic Federalism: The Case of COVID-19 Response in Canada, Australia, and the United States

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged governments around the globe. This paper examines responses to the pandemic in three countries: Canada, Australia, and the United States. These countries have similar federal systems and face comparable challenges in coordinating across jurisdictions. As part of a larger long-term project on multi-level policy synchronization in federal systems, this study addresses the question of whether federalism can deliver the appropriate coordination when the public or good policy necessitates it. In this regard, COVID-19 offers a timely and gripping test of the effectiveness of federal coordination while demarcating differences in political culture and social circumstances, and in evolving institutional dynamics.

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Wisdom of the Mundane: Explaining Regime Resilience in Multinational Federations

For decades, many English-speaking political scientists in Canada focused on the Canada–Québec relationship and probing the challenges to national unity posed by Québec nationalism. With these issues allayed to a large extent, there has been a shift in the twenty-first-century research agenda of scholars who study Canada. Yet, there remains a sub-field of research in which the Canada–Québec relationship maintains a central place: the comparative study of multinational democracies and multinational federations. With Canada having progressed into a state of “normality” and stability, but with no settled answer on what makes democratic multinational states cohere and persist, the study of political stability is still a topic to be mined. This paper argues that the legitimacy and stability of the Canadian political community and the resilience of its political regime come as the consequences of historical processes best described as “accommodative integration.” The paper outlines the political mechanisms and processes involved in the task of national integration by examining the scholarly approaches that have been developed and the debates that have ensued on what has come to be known as Canada’s “national unity” question.

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