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PSCI 2003 Lecture Notes - Lower Canada, John Locke, Patriation

Political Science
Course Code
PSCI 2003
J Malloy

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September 18, 2012
Historical and Institutional Foundations
Living Institutions
How do they shape us?
Our electoral system?
How does the Federal-Provincial division of powers shape things? Universities =
provincial, canals = federal
1. The Partly Written Constitution
Constitution: The underlying rules and norms or a society or organization
May not always be written down
Canadian constitution is not one document
Two types of constitution-making styles (P. Russel Chapter 54 in Essential Readings)
Lockean contractual and agreed upon (America)
Burkean -Traditional, organic, evolving, lots of unwritten agreements (Britain)
Constitutions may be written, unwritten, or partly written (Canada)
Single, written constitution (1789)
Constitution is venerated, often brought up in rhetoric (Video of Senator Robert Byrd on
why the US shouldn't go to war with Iran)
Centre of political environment
Partly written constitution of Canada p. 424 Dyck
Multiple constitutional documents
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Constitution Act 1867 (British North America Act)
Constitution Act 1982 (Charter of Rights and Freedoms included)
Many others
Unwritten conventions
Eg. formation of government (Are coalition governments legitimate?)
Prime Minister No job description
Interpreted by the judiciary branch
2008 Coalition/Prorogation incident, Pg 550
Oct. 2008 General Election, results in second Harper minority
Nov. 2008 Economic Update, sudden and controversial proposals, austerity program,
wage freezes for public servants, get rid of subsidies to political parties
Opposition planned to defeat gov. In HoC and form coalition government
PM argued this was not legitimate, no electoral mandate for coalition
PM asked GG to prorogue Parliament to avoid non-confidence vote
An example of a political situation with no written guidelines or rules due to our
unwritten constitution
2. Canada as a Historic Accident
Aboriginal Origins
French and British colonialism
Canada as part of a global imperial game
British victory over France in 1763
Growing discontent in 13 colonies (USA)
Founding documents/events
1763 - Royal proclamation (Appeased Aboriginals. Most important document for
aboriginal land claim rights, Britain wanted the Aboriginals to side against the
Americans. It gave Aboriginals a direct relationship with the crown that promised to
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