This volume continues a new series entitled "How They're Governed". Directed by Carlo Fusaro, the series aims to explore the political and institutional culture of different countries in order to understand how they're governed and organised. The entries will be written by experts in comparative constitutional law and adopt an interdisciplinary approach. The series is intended for: students and scholars eager to develop their knowledge about a specific country; people who for professional reasons have relationships with foreign countries and need to be familiar with their institutional arrangements; curious travellers; anyone concerned about democracy and its future. Each volume will share the same basic structure: a concise geographical and economic overview; elements of history, especially as regards the development of the constitution; political context since the end of World War II; power distribution (who does what and who decides); acknowledged rights and freedoms and the corresponding safeguards; essential readings and useful websites.
After having been for centuries a folkloric, icy colony of the British Empire, inhabited by nostalgic subjects of the Crown, stubborn and conquered French colonists, and remote Indian tribes, in a few decades during the second half of the 20th century Canada has become one of the most innovative and interesting countries in the world, a veritable "constitutional testing ground" and a source of inspiration for many pluralistic societies. The need for an asymmetrical federal state to overcome the "two solitudes" of French-speaking Québec and the English-speaking rest of the country, along with increasing immigration flows, has encouraged the adoption of multicultural policies. Amidst such changes, law (and constitutional law especially) has played a central role. The introduction, in 1982, of a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a collection of values hared by all Canadians regardless of their "other" identities, signals the beginning of a process and a model of integration mediated by rights.
Tania Groppi teaches Public Law and Regional Law at the University of Siena, where she heads the Interdepartmental Research and Training Centre for European and Comparative Public Law.