We were delighted to engage in an informal discussion with students at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM) on the similarities and differences between the American and Canadian political systems. One of the speakers was an American Officer from the Consulate and the other was Christian Sénéchal, Canadian alumnus of a Department of State exchange program. As the Director of the newly established National Centre for Dance Therapy at Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, Christian recently traveled to the U.S. to learn about best practices in dance therapy.
Both the U.S. and Canada are among the world’s longest-lived federations. Although they are often described as having more similarities than differences, it was interesting to explore the systems’ subtle nuances since federalism in our two countries has different origins and is rooted in different values. The speakers discussed several topics from American and Canadian perspectives, ranging from provincial vs. state power and the centralization of government, to contrasting bi-party and multi-party systems and the role of the judiciary system. Students contributed their own input and questions to the open dialogue, and welcomed the opportunity to consider a broader perspective of both countries’ political cultures and systems.
We would like to thank all of the participants for contributing to the engaging dialogue, and especially professor Julien Toureille for hosting this activity in his undergraduate political science course.