POLI 221 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Distinct Society, Responsible Government

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Lecture #3- Topic #2: Constitution as Master Institution
-Purposes:
1)Rule book for the conduct of political life
2) Defines key relationships between executie,legislatue and judicial institutions
3)Between levels of government(provinces and federal government)
4)Between citizens and their government
5)Represents basic values of political system
-System of rules that define the roles of the actors in those institution. Actors like
the governor general, senators, cabinet ministers, members of the judiciary)
-These rules govern their roles. What role can they play? And to what extent those
roles have changed. The rules have changed as well.
-We had a system of checks and balances but it has largely lost it’s effectiveness. In
many cases, the rules are not clear or well written, and as a result, actors can exploit
lupe holes and ambiguities. They use these rules and this process has undermined
the system of checks and balances.
-The mobile is imbalanced, the parts are not equal or the same size. This leeds to
Mallorys conclusion that political institutions are not as effective as they should be
in terms of preforming their roles in the system of checks and balances.
-They do not perform their role because we’ve moved from the efficient ppart of
government to the symbolic and dignified.
-The governor general still has power but it is not excersized as much as it should
be, like many other parts of government.
-The constitution is supposed to be the major political institution that overarches
and falls over all others. It is the most fundamental and comprehensive rule book for
public life.
-Establishes the parameters of power. It is not coherent and clear.
-Constitution can’t be too strict but should still set out the basic powers. It must be
malleable enough to change over generations as society changes but it is too
general.
3 Types of Relationships it deals with:
1) Citizens and their government
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2) Between the two orders of government(federal&provincial)-Establishes the
split of powers
3) Relationship between branches of government-executive and legislative and
judicial branch
-Gives us an understanding of the rules governing these relationships.
-Ours does not do the first relationship well or explicitly. We want specificity.
-The constitution does not say anything about the relationship between the citizens
and the people.
-Was known as the BNA act but it was changed to the Constitution act of 1867
-Promot the interests of the british empire- that is the statement of purpose:
-The constitution is similar to that of the United Kingdom- This gives an assumption
between the rights of the people and the government.
-In 1867 there was nothing that said anything specific about the relationship
between the governed and the government. This has been an important
development post 1982. The roles of citizens have changed visa-via government.
-The constitution act of 1982 was the new constitution-
-Preamble- is significant in the absence of what is there. Mentions the supremacy of
God. Still nothing about the relationship with the people.
-Pog: Section 91 of the constitution, deals with the division of powers. It is supposed
to elevate the federal government over the provinces. The federal can legislate for
the peace order and good government of Canada.
-The original draft was peace, welfare and good government. This was to look after
citizens and show community and responsibility. A british colonizer removed this in
the last version and substited order for welfare.
-Represents basic values of the political system but fails to say anything about value
except when to says something similar in constitution to that of the UK.****
-In the context of the time it was regarded as a advanced democracy
-Mainly emphasized the powers between governments because it was the issue at
the time. They focused on the contact between governments.
-The British just recently have gotten a written constitution, we come from that
tradition which explains many of the problems we have today.
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