‘1867 and All That’: ‘Federalism’ and Union in Britain and Canada

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Abstract

This article contends that the specific character of the political unions of Canada and Britain can tell us much about the ebb and flow of sub-state political nationalism in these states, and especially in Scotland and Quebec. In particular, the quality of ‘federalism’ employed by these unions is identified as key to explaining the relative success of these states in accommodating national minorities. The form that federalism takes is found to be particularly determinative of the demands made by political nationalists. Crudely, Scotland has enjoyed an informal federalism arising from a cultural recognition of its national status; in contrast a formal, constitutional federalism has given Quebec significant political voice within the Canadian Confederation, yet recognition of its cultural distinctiveness has been fraught.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-308
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Irish and Scottish Studies
Volume1
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008

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