March 12, 2018 – The Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) is showcasing its innovation once again by creating the Centre d’analyse politique : Constitution et Fédéralisme (CAP-CF), a first in Canada. Taking advantage of the great interest in Quebec researchers’ work on federalism and constitutionalism, this new centre, directed by political science professor Alain G. Gagnon, offers Quebec an organization capable of putting a spotlight on them and generating real dialogue between researchers from Quebec and from elsewhere in Canada. Researchers from four universities and Canadian think tanks are already associated with it: the Université de Moncton in New Brunswick, the Mowat Centre in Ontario, the Chaire de recherche sur la francophonie et les politiques publiques of the University of Ottawa and the Centre for Constitutional Studies of the University of Alberta.
One of the goals of CAP-CF de l’UQAM is to further include Quebec in international academic networks examining issues relating to constitutionalism and federalism. It will have the privilege of being part of a well-recognized group, the International Association of Centres for Federal Studies (IACFS), as soon as it opens.
The CAP-CF de l’UQAM’s mission is to stimulate research on constitutional policy and federalism; to facilitate discussions including students and society in general within academic spaces; to promote dialogue regarding the recognition of different national groups; and to increase the knowledge and understanding of these important issues in Canada and other federations around the world. Its founding at UQAM strengthens the university’s key role in Quebec and Canadian studies, on top of confirming the value of Quebec’s efforts in university research on federalism in Canada.
One of the new centre’s big strengths lies in its interdisciplinarity, since it gathers together researchers in economics, law, political science and history. Thanks to this undeniable advantage, it can give constitutionalism and federalism studies a new impetus by getting five major research fields involved.
The creation of this first centre dedicated to constitutionalism and federalism is part of the work done by the Chaire de recherche du Canada en études québécoises et canadiennes, established at UQAM in 2003 and now starting a third seven-year mandate (2017–2024).
The Secrétariat du Québec aux relations canadiennes is financially supporting the Centre’s activities with a $100,000 subsidy for 2018–2019, granted as part of the Programme de soutien à la recherche en relations intergouvernementales et identité québécoise [Program to support research in intergovernmental relations and Quebec’s identity].
The creation of the new Centre d’analyse politique en études constitutionnelles et fédérales comes at a time when many countries, including Canada, need to tackle big obstacles relating to public policy. The Canadian federation’s constitutional silence does not help with the implementation of a just democracy. Today, it is important to mobilize researchers in all parts of society.
– Alain-G. Gagnon, Professor in the Department of Political Sciences at UQAM and Director of the CAP-CF
The Government of Quebec is very happy assist in highlighting Quebec’s voice in the field of research and thought on federalism. The CAP-CF, which relies on partnerships between researchers from Quebec and other parts of Canada to stimulate constitutionalism and federalism studies in a new way, directly mirrors the call for dialogue that was part of the Policy on Québec Affirmation and Canadian Relations. It will also promote networking and the development of discussions between Canadian students from different universities. The CAP-CF will actively build bridges between Canada’s francophone and anglophone university communities, helping different visions of Canada as a whole, including the Government of Quebec’s multinational one, to come together and be mutually understood.
– Jean-Marc Fournier, Minister responsible for Canadian Relations and the Canadian Francophonie, Government of Quebec
Fields of research
Field 1: Federalism through cooperation, asymmetry and solidarity, under the purview of Hugo Cyr, Dean, Faculty of Political Science and Law, UQAM
This field concerns the legal and political issues associated with different types and degrees of autonomy of federated states relative to the central power and the power of the federation’s other members. Questions relating to governance and the recognition of political identities, the role of institutions, the powers of federated states and their protection from central governments are some of the subjects that will be addressed.
Field 2: Energy and the environment, under the purview of Maya Jegen, Assistant Dean of Research, Faculty of Political Science and Law, UQAM
Federal systems are particularly challenged when it comes to the environment and energy policies, in trying to act coherently and concertedly towards addressing climate change and protecting biodiversity while respecting federated entities’ areas of jurisdiction.
Field 3: Fiscal federalism and decentralization, under the purview of Jean-Denis Garon, Professor, Department of Economics, ESG UQAM
Within this field of expertise, the CAP-CF aims to look at the way economic and fiscal policies established by the central state and by federated states can be harmonized and take into account the needs and specificities of each territory.
Field 4: Indigenous peoples, rights and social justice, under the purview of Doris Farget, Professor, Department of Legal Studies, Faculty of Political Science and Law, UQAM
Within this field, the centre will study institutional relations, interactions and dynamics between Indigenous groups, peoples and institutions and states and international authorities. First Nations legal traditions and political systems will be examined, as well as the renewal of relations and the elimination of colonialism.
Field 5: Political and constitutional history, under the purview of Stéphane Savard, Professor, Department of History, Faculty of Human Sciences, UQAM
The goal is to analyze the constitutional issues present since the beginning of the Canadian federation and the values and symbolic and identity representations tied to its structure. It will address conflict management and the emergence of consensus, societal transformations and challenges linked to diversity and immigration.