The Year in Review 1983: Intergovernmental Relations in Canada


155 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-88911-416-1




Reviewed by Terrence Paris

Terrence Paris is Public Services Librarian at Mount St. Vincent
University in Halifax.


The Institute of Intergovernmental Relations at Queen’s University, the only organization in Canada devoted to the promotion of research and communication in the federal system, has issued the seventh in a series of annual reviews of federal-provincial relations in Canada and related policy issues.

An objective analysis of federal-provincial interaction is set forth by topic: an overview of the state of the relationship in 1983, including a discussion of Trudeau’s New Federalism; unresolved issues arising from the patriation of the Constitution as Canada moves towards the second phase of reform; the 1983 policy agenda with respect to energy, justice, economic affairs, agriculture, and corporate affairs; the introduction of the Canada Health Act and a new formula for the allocation of federal funds to provincial health and education programs; the restructuring of the Atlantic Fishing Industry and the overhaul of the Western Grain Transportation System.

Complex issues of public policy are expanded and clarified. For example, the arguments surrounding the abolition of the Crow Rate demonstrate that the reaction by the western provinces to the federal proposals was by no means uniform, despite the impression derived from news reports. Similarly, the review of our health insurance back to its origins provides a useful context for recent debates on Medicare. The commentary cites excerpts from many public documents, departmental circulars, press releases, letters and budget reports not otherwise accessible to a general readership. Included among the appendices are economic indicators from Statistics Canada, the Conference Board of Canada, and provincial finance departments, an overview of the provincial budgets of 1983, and a summary of public wage restraint programs. An index enhances the usefulness of this book as a ready reference source.

As so little falls outside the federal-provincial relationship, this review is an essential portrait of the political life of Canada in a single year. Students concerned with external affairs and internal politics of the provinces may supplement their reading with the essays in the Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs 1983 (University of Toronto Press).


Pollard, Bruce G., “The Year in Review 1983: Intergovernmental Relations in Canada,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 21, 2024,