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Federalism, diplomacy and education, Canada's role in education-related international activities, 1960-1984

by Allison, John Daniel

Abstract (Summary)
Amongst Western nations Canada has had the rather unique distinction of not having a centralized Ministry of Education. The division of powers in the Canadian constitution assigned education to the provincial governments while constitutional responsibility for foreign affairs was assigned to the federal government. As a result of this separation of powers, there has been an mgoing and unsatisfactory effort on the part of both federal and provincial governments to address the difficult issue of who represents Canada in the field of education abroad. In the period following the end of the Second World War, indifference towards the question gave way to ad hoc treatment of the issue by the federal government. The provinces and federal government tried to insuIate themselves from divisive issues by delegating them to pan-national educational organizations. The Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) is the closest equivalent to a national, ministerial-level education orgmization in modem day Canada. Dunng the 1960s. the constitutional differences could not be regulated between the two levels of government. Instead, the continued unsatisfactory relationship combined with incipient nationalism led to conflict. The government of Quebec declared that the provinces were institutionally capable of representing their own interests in diplomacy in education. The federal response in the 1960s cm be traced from Mitchell Sharp's publication of the pamphlet Federalism and International Conferences on Education in the spring of 1968, at the height of the crisis with Quebec. This publication was as much a response to conternporary events. as it was the portent of a broader, more hands-on approach to the issue by the federal govemment. While the 1960s were punctuated by the broadsides from Ottawa and Quebec as the issue becarne tied to Quebec nationaiism, the 1970s and early 1980s were characterized by uncornfortable compromise over the question. The changing international system, the OECD Review, and the ongoing federal-provincial jockeying combined with the new presence of the CMEC, did not help in the regularization of this relationship. Since there has never been closure over this issue, diplomacy in education continues to be ad hoc and an important test of Canadian federalism. The following people have my sincere thanks for their kind and helpful support in seeing this project through to completion, My thesis supervisor, David Levine gave freely of his thoughts and provided inspiration dong the way. The members of my cornmittee, Hesh Troper and Cecilia Morgan gave me additional insights and were supportive throughout the dissertation process. Gien Jones and my external examiner, Michael Strada, both suggested some excelIent directions for Mer research. 1have also drawn inspiration from the nurnerous faculty rnembers 1have met during my time at
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Source Type:Master's Thesis

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Date of Publication:01/01/1999

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