Rivals for Power: Ottawa and the Provinces
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Rivals for Power: Ottawa and the Provinces

The contentious history of the Canadian federation

By Ed Whitcomb

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Rivals for Power: Ottawa and the Provinces tells the story of the politicians who continually contend over the division of power (and money) between Ottawa and the provinces. The heroes and villains of this story include many of the leading lights of Canadian history, from John A. Macdonald, Wilfred Laurier, and Maurice Duplessis to Pierre Trudeau, Joe Clark, Bill Davis, Peter Lougheed and Jean Chretien. The unique feature of this book is its focus: no matter what their policies, Canadian politicians over the years have engaged in an ongoing push and pull over power, with both successes and failures. As Whitcomb sees it, the success of the provinces at preventing Ottawa from becoming the overwhelming power in Canadian life has been the key to the country's stability and its cultural cohesion. But the failure of the provinces to achieve an equal measure of power and the growing gap between the have and have-not provinces stands as an ongoing challenge — and threat — to the country's unity.



Chapter 1: Background to 1864

Chapter 2: Towards Confederation, 1864-1867

Chapter 3: Confederation

Chapter 4: Implementing Federalism, 1867-1878

Chapter 5: Macdonald's Centralism, 1878-1896

Chapter 6: Laurier and the Golden Age of Federalism, 1896-1911

Chapter 7: The First World War and the Twenties, 1911-1929

Chapter 8: The Depression, 1929-1930

Chapter 9: The Second World War and the Post-War Period, 1939-1950

Chapter 10: St. Laurent and Diefenbaker, 1948-1963

Chapter 11: The Pearson Years: 1963-1968

Chapter 12: The First Trudeau Regime, 1968-1979

Chapter 13: The Second Trudeau Regime, 1980-1984

Chapter 14: Mulroney, Meech, and Charlottetown, 1984-1993

Chapter 15: The Chrétien Era, 1993-2003

Chapter 16: Federalism in the Twenty-First Century


"This book will help anyone who wants to better understand today's Canada, by explaining how we got here and why."

- Donald Benham Winnipeg Free Press

"Rivals for Power is a meticulously researched book ... [Whitcomb lets the history tell the story, which he describes in completely accessible language."

- Geoff Norquay, Policy Magazine

"[Whitcomb] provides a concise account of British duplicity and Canadian acquiescence making Canada a land from sea to sea."

- Gar Pardy, The Hill Times

Ed Whitcomb graduated with a Ph.D. in History from the University of London. After a short university teaching career he joined the Canadian Foreign Service specializing in political, economic, strategic, and intelligence analysis. He has lived in four regions of Canada as well as in four other countries with federal constitutions. He has published numerous articles on Canadian history, and is the author of a series of ten brief histories of the Canadian provinces.

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Publication Details:

Binding: Paperback, 400 pages
Publication Date: 19th April 2017
ISBN: 9781459412385
Format: 9in x 6in

Binding: Electronic book text, 400 pages
Publication Date: 1st May 2017
ISBN: 9781459412392
Format: EPUB

BISAC Code:  HIS006010, HIS006020, POL056000
Imprint: Lorimer


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