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E-Government and Local Governance in Canada: An Examination of Front Line Challenges and Federal Tensions

PAQ, Vol. 30 No. 2, (2006)

The purpose of this article is to examine the impacts of egovernment
in Canada on both inter-governmental relations and local
governance. The rationale for such an examination stems from the
emergence, over the past decade of two parallel discourses in public
sector and governance reform: first, e-government as primarily a set of
national and provincial strategies for public sector reforms, and
secondly, a discourse has focused on the rising importance of municipal
government and local governance systems. The main problem at
present remains the absence of more holistic thinking on the need for a
new enterprise, federated architecture for collaboration that entails an
overhaul of the existing political arrangements of the federation. An
additional lesson to draw at present is that the weak status and limited
capacities of Canada’s municipalities, a concern predating egovernment’s
emergence, risk amplification as a governance handicap
for both individual communities and the country in adapting to a more
digital age. However, the consequences of the weakness also depend on
how provincial and federal governments respond to the erosion of
public trust by adapting their own structures, as well as the
effectiveness of emerging top-down mechanisms being deployed to
strengthen the infrastructure of cities and communities.

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