POLI 221 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Donald J. Savoie, David Emerson, Charlottetown Accord

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Government in Canada:
-Court government- There is a centralization of power- The PM is an elected dictator
(Donald Savoie debates this)- Friendly dictator
-Popularizes this as a major theme
-Constitutional crisis 1908-
-Democratic malaise- the decline in voter turnout makes this obvious. From 65 to
1988 the voting turnouts were mostly 75%.
In 2004 it was 60% and 2006 it was 64 and then it went down again.
So many people, mostly young are dropping out of the political process and we
might use them permanently. If you do not get into the habit of seeing the
importance in politics at a young age you may be lost for good.
Something must be done to show the importance in the political process.
People feel government is too big, too far away and does not accurately represent
-David Emerson won the elective as a liberal but switched to be a cabinet minister.
He thought he would be more effective in a conservative cabinet.
-This example says a lot about representative government.
-In the provincial election of 76 a provincial member was elected as a liberal and
before long he switched to the PQ.
-This makes people take politics less seriously
-People do not elect government, the House of Commons elect’ government. The
majority is the responsible government.
-Rules are incoherent
-To form a government, you need to have responsible government. The government
is accountable to the House of Commons and if they loose the confidence of the
house (loose the confidence of the majority of members), depending on the time in
the voting cycle, they are defeated.
-If you are defeated in the House of Commons, you can go to the governor general
and call for an election to see if you have the confidence of the people.
-We thought we were going to break up as a country because the young were
increasingly separatist- we had a referendum- the question was crooked-The book
“On The Edge” describes these events.
-The Supreme Court and lawyers and law schools have taken over the government
of Canada through the charter revolution. The charter makes people governed by
unelected judges.- The book “ The Charter Revolution” describes this.
-They may deem things unconstitutional.
-Thank god for the charter and Supreme Court because it has become major check
against the government.
-The House of Commons should be a check and the senate should be as well.
-Parliamentary democracy crisis shows how the rules are not clear
-Institutions have profoundly changed over time. The federal system has changed,
the relationship between the government and the H of commons has changed and
the relation ship between senate and the H of commons.
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