The student who would understand the government of a country can only obtain a complete knowledge of it if he knows something of the government of its local subdivisions. Yet the Canadian student will find studies of Canadian local government almost non-existent. Similarly the citizen or municipal officer looking for details of the organization and operation of the several systems of local government in Canada needs, but has not yet had, one single source with all the information on the subject gathered together in readily available form. Mr. Crawford meets both needs in his excellent study, the sixth volume in the Canadian Government Series.
Since local government in Canada comes under provincial jurisdiction, there are ten distinct systems having many similarities and diversities. Mr. Crawford's aim is to show how various Canadian municipal systems function, rather than to present a critical analysis of existing institutions and practices. But first he discusses the necessity of local government, its practical and political importance, the degree of self-government involved in local government and the factors contributing to this, and the weak constitutional position of local government, a position offset by the needs of the community, needs which can be best met by local government and which assure the continuance of that government despite the tightening of central control by province and nation.