Federalism under pressure: Federal ‘health’ factors and ‘co-morbidities’
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The Covid-19 pandemic has been a ‘focusing event’ (Béland et al. 2020) for federalism like no other, placing it under the microscope and giving rise to the three questions set out in the introduction of this book. Each gives rise to a number of subquestions. First, how did federal systems respond to the pandemic during the first critical period of 2020, when quick, concerted, and effective action was necessary to limit the virus and its dire socio-economic consequences? What were the modalities of action? How did they impact on the constitutional distribution of powers – did they lead to an increase in centralisation or decentralisation? Did intergovernmental relations (IGR), the lifeblood of federal systems, work efficiently or at all? What happened to intergovernmental fiscal relations?