“Government Can Do Whatever It Wants”: Moral Regulation in Ralph Klein's Alberta*

Authors


  • *This research was supported by a 1994 Summer Research Grant from the Faculté Saint-Jean, University of Alberta. I wish to thank my two research assistants, Chantale Breton and, especially, Hanae Kiyooka. Also, the comments of Gordon Laxer and three anonymous reviewers were most helpful, as were those of David Cameron on an early version of this work. The manuscript of this article was received in October 1994 and accepted for publication in January 1995.

Abstract

Cet article offre une analyse des pratiques étatiques du gouvernement Klein en Alberta en vue de contribuer à la compréhension de la place de l'État dans le contexte actuel de mondialisation de l'économie. Le gouvernement Klein est d'abord situé au sein du projet politico-culturel de la nouvelle droite, puis le concept de «régulation morale» est introduit comme principe d'interprétation de la pratique gouverne-mentale. La restructuration des secteurs de la santé, de l'éducation et des services sociaux est ensuite analysée, de même que l'intérêt que porte le gouvernement Klein aux enjeux de «la loi et l'ordre» ainsi que ceux des droits de la personne. L'article prétend que, en Alberta comme ailleurs> alors même que sa pratique est profondément restructurée, l'État demeure le partenaire irremplaçable du capital.

The state practices of Alberta's Klein government are analysed with respect to the issue of whether the state becomes powerless in the current wave of capitalist globalization. The Klein government is first situated within the political/cultural project of the new right, and the concept of “moral regulation” is introduced to make sense of the government's overall practice. The restructuration of education, health care and social services in the province is then analysed, along with the government's interest in law and order, and human rights issues. It is claimed that, in Alberta as elsewhere, while the state is undergoing a deep restructuring, it retains its importance as capital's irreplaceable partner.

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