Passing the Buck: Federalism and Canadian Environmental Policy


238 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7748-0557-9
DDC 363.7'00971





Reviewed by Simon Dalby

Simon Dalby is an assistant professor of geography at Carleton
University in Ottawa.


Based on detailed interviews and documentary research, this scholarly
review of Canadian environmental policy since the late 1960s paints a
depressing picture of a federal government willing to take strong action
to protect the environment only in periods of fairly intense public
concern about environmental issues. Thus, in both the early 1970s and
the early 1990s, environmental concerns took a back seat to economic
concerns on the national political agenda. In economically insecure
times, the federal government is less likely to risk antagonizing
provincial governments that claim jurisdiction over particular natural

Scholars of Canadian politics and environmental policy will find this
book a useful contribution to research in the field (nonacademics may
find daunting the detailed discussions of jurisdiction, court action,
and intergovernmental disputes), while environmentalists may gain some
useful insights into how to play different levels of government off
against each other.


Harrison, Kathryn., “Passing the Buck: Federalism and Canadian Environmental Policy,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 17, 2024,