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The United States and CanadaHow Two Democracies Differ and Why It Matters$
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Paul J. Quirk

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190870829

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190870829.001.0001

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Lessons of Comparison

Lessons of Comparison

Institutions and Governance

(p.323) 13 Lessons of Comparison
The United States and Canada

Paul J. Quirk

Oxford University Press

This concluding chapter synthesizes the main lessons of the book. Overall, the book suggests that effects of institutions—including those of parliamentary versus presidential or separation-of-powers systems—are contingent on other political circumstances, especially the state of the political party system, and yet that these effects will often shape important outcomes. The chapter reviews the book’s comparisons between the United States (U.S.) and Canada on political values and culture; electoral and party systems; executive leadership and legislative processes; bureaucratic influence; and federalism. It then reviews the comparisons of several policy areas—economic policy, environmental policy (climate change); social policy (healthcare); morality policy (abortion and gay rights); and diversity and inclusion (immigration and civil rights)—and of selected societal outcomes. It discusses the Trump presidency as both an indication and a cause of deterioration in American political institutions, and closes by considering the challenges facing both the U.S. and Canadian political systems.

Keywords:   United States, Canada, political institutions, parliamentary government, separation of powers, public policy, Trump presidency

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