Bringing the provinces back in: Re-evaluating the relevance of province-building to theories of Canadian federalism and multi-level governance

Matt Wilder, Michael Howlett


Three decades have passed since Canadian political scientists last seriously engaged with the concept of province-building. Popular in the 1970s as a means for explaining patterns of policy-making and constitutional politics in Canada, the currency of province-building met an abrupt end after its analytical use was questioned by Young, Faucher and Blais in 1984. Thirty years on, this discussion piece revisits their critique and, far from finding the idea void of empirical validity or theoretical utility, suggests that province-building continues to best capture the general structure of policy formulation and implementation in Canada and provides lessons for how to examine matters of authority and decision-making in multi-level settings.

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@Canadian Political Science Review (CPSR). ISSN 1911-4125