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Canada (508,890)
PSCI 2003 (23)
J Malloy (18)

November 6, 2012.docx

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Political Science
PSCI 2003
J Malloy

 The idea that parliament is meant to drive representation vs the idea that parliament is meant to hold the government accountable for its decisions.  Should Mps be more like Elizabeth May? Acting indepedently and autonomously?  On the other hand, the government has to make decisions at the end of the day, while the opposition bears very little real responsibility.  Passing a bill: ◦ First reading ◦ Second reading, some debate ◦ A vote (Which generally passes in a majority) ◦ Committee stage (About 15 standing committees exist) ◦ Report stage, back to HoC ◦ Third Reading, more debate ◦ Vote (Once again generally passes) ◦ Goes to Senate to repeat all stages ◦ Then goes to GG for Royal Assent and Proclamation  All dictated by a majority government, timetable, content, etc.  The question is, if it's so predictable and controllable, then what is the point of this entire process? By the logic of representation, it's just a rubber stamp, but, by the logic of governance....  Well, even in a majority, if a bill is too controversial, like Toews Internet Security bill, it will be highly criticized and stopped.  In this way, the process provides scrutiny to improve bills or catch horrible ones through the mobilization of consent rather than working to change peoples' minds.  If the government did decide to go through with a controversial bill and push it through, they would very clearly be taking responsibility for it.  Question Period ◦ Unique process to Canada ◦ PM doesn't necessarily know what questions he will get, though he can guess and has a staff whose job it is to guess ◦ “Not answer period” Don't get real answers ◦ Questions controlled by parties, backbenchers don't have freedom to make their own ◦ Heckling, too much yelling, too much back and forth ◦ QP in Britain has a little more autonomy and is a little more civil ◦ Representation:QP is insubstantive, futile ◦ Governance: QP acts as a deterrent to bad policies, because governments know they have to be ready to answer questions  Committees and Scrutiny ◦ Committees consider bills, amendments ◦ Also initiate studies, inquiries ◦ Committees became more autonomous under Chretien and Mulroney, working together behind party lines and occasionally causing trouble for the government ◦ Not so much these days, paralyzed by partisanship? ◦ Logics of rep. And gov. Arguements apply here as well.  Party Discipline ◦ Role of individual MP ▪ Representing party? ▪ Representing constituency? ▪ Example, NDP want gun control, but rural MPs didn't want to comply. ▪ Representing themselves? Aren't they meant to look at bills and use their critical thinking? ▪ Should MPs be free to represent themselves and their constituents or does party discipline ensure that things get done with clear accountability?  Will technology change parliament?  Will social media engagement enhance or surpass parliamentary reprsentation  By the logic of representation, it allows more communication and dialogue and is therefore a good thing  By the logic of governance, party discipline and the need for accountability will still prevail  In fact, Malloy sees social media as strengthening party lines rather than cutting across them  Used to enforce party discipline by keeping tabs on MPs and giving orders, even in committees  Ministers' offices are way more controlled by the PMO through technology like cell phones The Senate  Book “Protecting Canadian Democracy The Senate You Never Knew
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