Courtesy Reuters

The Canadian Federal System Under Review

FOR the past two and a half years a Royal Commission[i] has been conducting an inquiry into the working of the Canadian federal system. The Report of this body has now been made public by the Dominion Government.

The inquiry had a very wide range. Public hearings were held in the various Canadian capitals, at which the provincial governments were given an opportunity to present their views and offer their suggestions; and research of the most varied kind was carried out by a staff of experts representing the best scholarship of Canada. The resulting Report is in three volumes. With its annexes and appendices containing studies made for the Commission by economists, accountants, historians, political scientists, and constitutional authorities, it includes some twenty-eight titles and forms a vast compendium of information about present Canadian conditions and their background. One of the three volumes comprising the Report itself gives specific findings and recommendations, makes suggestions as to alternative solutions, and candidly discusses conditions for which no solution is offered. The Report is supported by a book of statistics, tables and documents, and by another which reviews Canadian history since the Dominion was created in 1867.

The inquiry was planned in peacetime and for peacetime purposes. The Dominion Government which appointed the Commission hoped that the facts and documents collected by the Commission and the recommendations made by it would lay the groundwork for a conference between the Dominion and the provinces at which the relations between these governments, which have been accompanied with ever-increasing friction in recent years, could be put on a more satisfactory basis. Though the main findings of the Commission were reached before the outbreak of war, it was deemed unwise to try to adjust them to a wartime situation. Nevertheless, since the major recommendations were framed with the possibility of emergencies in mind, the Dominion and the provinces may possibly find in them some suggestions worthy of early consideration. Certainly, many of the difficulties dealt with in the Report

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