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Federal Political System Defined.docx

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Political Science
POLI 1119

Federal Political System Defined (Watts 2008) o Two ore more orders of government o Formal constitutional division of powers – no single order can overturn another o Provision for representation of regions at center o Constitution not amendable unilaterally (by a single order of government) o An umpire (every federal system will have conflict/some sort of disagreement of how to interpret the constitution) o Processes of intergovernmental collaboration o Completely autonomous (eg. Federal Government cannot fire a Supreme Court judge) o Not just democracy, an alliance of the constituent units  Executive Federalism o Concentrates power at the centre within both federal and provincial order o Executive dominance over parliament with regard to intergovernmental relations at both federal and provincial levels o Multiple actors in State and Federal x 51 in states o In Canada, it is more simple because we sit everyone down so they make decisions – made over meals, chats, phone, planes etc. – more streamline form of governance o Governments coordinate activity without going to their respective legislatures o As long as the government has a majority, they don’t need to go to the rest of government to take a stand o This system gives us more often than not a majority government (although we have so many minority governments now, it is a “fluke”; this system usually gives us majority) o Allows for decisions to be made in a manner that some people argue that it is not democratic o Premiers are not directly elected from the people – indirectly from the parliament o Seen by some as undemocratic o Much of the decision making in executive federalism done through meetings of ministers or senior bureaucrats, often behind closed doors o Often done behind closed doors because if done in public, Premiers cannot compromise o Prof: problem with US is that the party system isn’t strong enough – pa
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