The Office of Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., together with the UP Pagdumala, and the Center for Local and Regional Governance brought to the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance Dialogues on Federalism: Leaders’ Forum, with guest speaker Senator Sharon Carstairs from Canada, and Senator Aquilino Pimentel himself. Also in attendance were Senator Pia Cayetano, Congressman Antonio Cuenco and Congresswoman Faysah Dumarpa, among others.

Dean Alex B. Brillantes, Jr., of the UP NCPAG, welcomed and introduced everyone to the Leaders’ Forum. After his speech, Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. introduced the guest speaker to the audience.

Basically the main topic presented, discussed and enlightened by Senator Carstairs were the Trends and Challenges for Federalism, how it was for the Canadians, and their experiences and dealings in their own country.

Senator Carstairs was able to briefly and concisely retold the history of Canada, and how Federalism came about in their region - its evolution, major political milestones to the current issues and trends of Federalism in Canada. She also told us about their financial, educational, health, and other sectors and how it interplays in the Canadian system.

For me, she clearly painted a picture of how Canada came to progress with their system. Despite the flaws and intricacies of Canadian Federalism (Yes, they do have problems too, like the Philippines), for me, it’s ultimately about learning about these structures, and seeing if it will or will not, if it will help or will not improve our own system.

As Senator Pia Cayetano said, it’s important that we initiate these dialogues and debates in order for everyone to be challenged and think about how it will or will not affect us in the end.

Jester, on the other hand, was able to record the whole lecture, and the question and answer portion which came right after the lecture. Go and see for yourself what Senator Carstairs and the Canadian experience has for us. Enjoy! :)

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