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Political Science Environmental Policy

Passing the Buck

Federalism and Canadian Environmental Policy

by (author) Kathryn Harrison

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2011
Environmental Policy, National, Environmental Conservation & Protection
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2011
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 1996
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 1996
    List Price

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Passing the Buck is the first in-depth study of the impact of federalism on Canadian environmental policy. The book takes a detailed look at the ongoing debate on the subject and traces the evolution of the role of the federal government in environmental policy and federal-provincial relations concerning the environment from the late 1960s to the early 1990s. The author challenges the widespread assumption that federal and provincial governments invariably compete to extend their jurisdiction. Using well-researched case studies and extensive research to support her argument, the author points out that the combination of limited public attention to the environment and strong opposition from potentially regulated interests yields significant political costs and limited political benefits. As a result, for the most part, the federal government has been content to leave environmental protection to the provinces. In effect, the federal system has allowed the federal government to pass the buck to the provinces and shirk the political challenge of environmental protection.

About the author

Kathryn Harrison is Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia.

Kathryn Harrison's profile page


  • Winner, K.D. Srivastava Award, UBC Press

Editorial Reviews

Well-structured chapters with concise conclusions … For individuals working with environmental protection policy this book should provide a greater understanding of the process … Kathryn Harrison has proved an interesting look at the workings of federal government policy setting.

Canadian Field Naturalist