Author: Christopher Alcantara
Published online on March 2013 in Canadian Journal of Political Science.
Abstract: Official participation in Canadian First Ministers’ Conferences has long been exclusive to federal and provincial first ministers. In March 1992, however, the membership of this intergovernmental arena was expanded permanently to include territorial premiers. Using the tools of historical institutionalism and drawing upon relevant literature and eleven elite interviews with former first ministers and senior civil servants, this paper seeks to explain why this instance of incremental institutional change occurred. It finds that significant friction between the institutional and ideational layers of the Canadian federation during a period of mega-constitutional reform allowed federal, provincial and territorial actors to draw upon ideas about democracy and the political and constitutional maturation of the territorial North to expand permanently the membership of First Ministers’ Conferences.
Published June 20, 2013, in The Waterloo Region Record.
Aboriginal people are one of the most impoverished demographic groups in Canada, and over the last several years, there has been a vigorous debate on how to address this seemingly unending cycle of poverty.
Recently, a consensus has emerged that the solution to the “aboriginal problem” is not to be found in market-based solutions, such as private property reform. Instead, it’s argued that aboriginal communities must more actively assert their treaty and self-government rights by using conventional and protest-style political action to force Canada to treat them fairly. Indeed, these were some of the key messages that came out of the Idle No More movement that dominated the headlines last year.
To some extent, these experts are right. Aboriginal groups must be more assertive in protecting their rights and interests. As well, market forces have sometimes wreaked havoc on aboriginal communities in Canada and the United States, leaving behind an awful legacy of poverty and political disengagement.
Broadcasted Jan. 22, 2013, in TVO.
LISPOP Associate Christopher Alcantara examines the key concerns coming out of the Idle No More movement and how to go about amending or scrapping the Indian Act altogether in an effort to improve the lives of First Nations in Canada.
Published Jan. 11, 2013, on CBC Radio.
LISPOP Associate Christopher Alcantara discusses proposed law that would extend individual property rights to first nations living on reserves. Supporters say it’s a tool for economic prosperity. Critics say it’s an attack on sovereignty.
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