Essay: Canadian Social Policy

Pages: 3 (1064 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Government  ·  Buy This Paper

Canadian Social Policy

The title of the article by Gerard Boismenu and Peter Graefe provides a strong hint as to the intended message and impact of this piece. "Tool Belt" reads like something is being forced into position rather than by legislative cooperation, or that something needs mechanical manipulation; and "Attempts to Rebuild Social Policy Leadership," suggest that there is no current leadership (Boismenu, et al., 2004, p. 71). In addition, a phrase in the first sentence offers the reader the sense that this paper is going to take the Canadian government to task: "unilateral action" in reference to any government policy reads as arbitrary, undemocratic, and is not what parliamentary leadership is supposed to be about.

And as the reader continues through this scholarly piece, the initial clues become strongly worded (yet for the most part quasi-diplomatic) narrative in opposition to government policies. The salient arguments that Boismenu and colleague are very effective at making -- specifically related to health policy, child policy, and employment issues -- is that the federal government: a) is not cooperative with provinces; rather, it is "regularly circumventing" provinces; b) systems that were effective in the past in terms of government / province relationships are "unusable"; c) the federal government has cut back its funding for health, education and other needs from 25% (in the 1980s) to about 15%, hence the government's actions reflect a "retreat from leadership" (Boismenu, 73).

Strengths: There clearly are strengths within the strategy put forward by Boismenu and Graefe in this narrative. Rather than simply attacking the federal government for failing to involve the provinces in matters that pertain to the funding of health, children's issues and employment, the authors point out that institutions were created at the federal level to create a more cooperative and collaborative relationship, but those institutions are being bypassed, tossed in the trash, or reinvented with bias against provinces. The 1999 Social Union Framework Agreement (SUFA), for example, was a "capstone" because it was an agreement that supposedly required the federal government to consult with -- and gain the "consent of" -- the six provinces prior to using spending authority in any nation-wide format (Boismenu, 74). However, the collaborative system of SUFA has been shot down due to the federal government's "unilateral reflex" and this leaves the provinces without the cooperation they expected or the funding they need (Boismenu, 74).

Another strength of this article is its narrative style; nowhere will a reader discover the word "arrogant" or "indifferent" albeit that is obviously the behavioral path the federal government is following. Boismenu and Graefe tell it like it is on page 75; notwithstanding the noise from the "provincial outcry" the truth -- from those backing federal unilateralism -- is that the provinces are too weak-kneed (and lacking in legitimacy) to challenge the federal government's leverage.

When on page 76 the authors accuse the federal government of using unilateral, undemocratic action as both a tool for putting pressure on the provinces and as a way to "legitimize" its claim to leadership, that is a powerful argument, well presented. Asserting that government uses the tool of undemocratic administration (unilateralism) to prove it's power, leadership and authority is presenting… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Canadian Social Policy.  (2012, May 31).  Retrieved September 15, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/canadian-social-policy/9546097

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"Canadian Social Policy."  Essaytown.com.  May 31, 2012.  Accessed September 15, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/canadian-social-policy/9546097.