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POLS 110 Lecture Notes - Bicameralism, Responsible Government, Presidential System

Political Studies
Course Code
POLS 110
Jonathan W Rose

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In a parliamentary system if the government loses a vote in parliament they
have to resign
Party discipline is necessary in order to ensure the confidence of government
o Is stronger in parliament than in congress
American vs. Canadian legislatures
o Both bicameral, i.e. two houses
o Lower houses are elected by rep by pop
Same number of representatives as population
One person, one vote, one value
o Differences in party discipline
o Role/composition of Senate (elected vs. apt based on region)
Power of the house of representatives is balanced with the
o In Canada our senators are appointed, America’s are elected
Offset the negative influence that voting might instil
If you appoint senators you’re more likely to have gender
equality, etc.
o Relationship of the executive (cabinet) to the legislatures
Fusion of powers (Canada)
Related to the principle of responsible government
Cabinet and the government is responsible to
Each cabinet member is responsible for their
department; take responsibility for anything their team
Separation of powers (US)
Checks and balances
Who is responsible for whom?
o Afghan detainees
o Does cabinet have to produce documents if requested by parliament?
o Government’s duty to protect sensitive information overrides
government’s duty to openness
What does a parliament do?
o Make a government
o Make a government work
o Make a government behave
o Make an alternative government
Essence of parliamentary systems
Relationship between executive and parliament
Responsible cabinet government
Checks and balances
Separation of power
Choice of system reflects different values
Values of presidential system nimble
Values of parliamentary system
o Centralized
o Prime Minister friendly dictator
o Cabinet
o Parliament