Rivals for Power: Ottawa and the Provinces
The contentious history of the Canadian federation
by Ed Whitcomb
Rivals for Power: Ottawa and the Provinces tells the story of the politicians who continually contend over the division of power (and money) between Ottawa and the provinces. The heroes and villains of this story include many of the leading lights of Canadian history, from John A. Macdonald, Wilfred Laurier, and Maurice Duplessis to Pierre Trudeau, Joe Clark, Bill Davis, Peter Lougheed and Jean Chretien. The unique feature of this book is its focus: no matter what their policies, Canadian politicians over the years have engaged in an ongoing push and pull over power, with both successes and failures. As Whitcomb sees it, the success of the provinces at preventing Ottawa from becoming the overwhelming power in Canadian life has been the key to the country's stability and its cultural cohesion. But the failure of the provinces to achieve an equal measure of power and the growing gap between the have and have-not provinces stands as an ongoing challenge — and threat — to the country's unity.