Constitutional Change in the 21st Century

“Constitutional Change in the 21st Century: A New Debate over the Spending Power” (2008) 34 Queen’s L.J. 375-390 (reprinted in P. H. Russell et al., eds., Essential Readings in Canadian Government and Politics (Toronto: Emond Montgomery, 2010) 293-296.)

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The author offers his views on the future of the federal spending power debate in Canada. First, he explores the original purposes of Canada’s 19th century federal constitution and its evolution in the evolution in the 20th century in response to a changed sense of what a modern state should be and Canada’s place in the world. He contends that the debates over the federal spending power grow out of the friction between Canada 19th century political constitution and its 20th century fiscal constitution. Turning to the 21st century, the author posits that demographic shifts will drive future debates about the federal spending power. These shifts will bring political representation to the fore and raise issues about the appropriate role of federal spending on economic and social policy.