New Horizons in Environmental Economics series
Edited by Albert Breton, Giorgio Brosio, Silvana Dalmazzone and Giovanna Garrone
Chapter 4: Interdependence and Coordination in the Canadian Environmental Policy Process
Marcia Valiante 1. INTRODUCTION Canada is a large, industrialized country with a relatively small population and a highly decentralized governance structure. It has an image, both inside and outside the country, of the active pursuit of environmental protection and sustainable development. This study reviews the development and implementation of environmental and sustainable development policies in Canada, with an emphasis on the legal, political and institutional framework within which such policies are adopted and carried out. It is not intended as a comprehensive treatment of all aspects of environmental policy but as a general overview. It is hoped that this will provide both a general understanding of how the structures inﬂuence the direction of environmental policies and some assessment of the eﬀectiveness of those policies. 2. STRUCTURAL FOUNDATIONS OF CANADIAN ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY 2.1 The Constitution The usual starting point for an understanding of Canadian environmental policy-making structures is the Constitution.1 In the Canadian Constitution, the power to legislate over all subjects is divided between two levels of government, federal and provincial.2 Although it was last amended in 1982, the Constitution does not refer to the environment. Rather, ‘the environment’ is viewed by the courts broadly, as a ‘diﬀuse subject matter’ that touches on many powers of both the federal and the ten provincial governments. Thus, it is ‘not an independent matter of legislation under the Constitution Act, 1867 . . . it is a constitutionally abstruse matter which does 77 78 Federal and supranational systems not comfortably ﬁt within the existing...
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