Dilemmas of Solidarity

Rethinking Distribution in the Canadian Federation


Since the rise of the Canadian welfare state in the aftermath of the Second World War, the politics of social policy and fiscal federalism have been at the centre of federal-provincial relations. Recent events have given impetus for scholars to re-examine these issues. In 2002, the Quebec Commission on Fiscal Imbalance released its report, which introduced the term ‘vertical fiscal imbalance’ into the vocabulary of Canadian politics. Essentially, the commission determined that a disjunction between revenue-raising capacity and expenditures involving different orders of government – vertical fiscal imbalance – was an urgent problem that must be addressed. Dilemmas of Solidarity is both a reflection on and response to that finding.

Editors Sujit Choudhry, Jean-Francois Graudreault-Desbiens, and Lorne Sossin bring together an array of respected legal and political scholars to reflect on the Quebec Commission’s findings. The contributors to this volume illustrate how recent debates surrounding Canada’s equalization program suggest alternative ways to approach the issue. The goal of Dilemmas of Solidarity is to stand back from the particulars of different policy debates, to enable scholars to reflect on basic questions regarding redistribution. This fascinating collection will undoubtedly inform a more nuanced and wide-ranging debate both among academics and policy practitioners than has occurred in this past.


Paul Boothe
Katherine Boothe
Sujit Choudhry
David Duff
Jean-Francois Gaudreault-DesBiens
Andree Lajoie
Alain Noel
Peter H. Russell
Richard Simeon
Lorne Sossin
François Vaillancourt
Daniel Weinstock.