Political Processes in Canada - complete course notes

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Politics and Public Administration
POL 102
Markus Sharaput

REVIEW - Eastons definition of politics: the authoritative allocation of values planes competing to the right to determine what is good for society (use and dynamics of power, values, decision-making, etc. - Institutions: organized, long-lasting, strategic, purposeful leading to a common goal - The State: controls monopoly on legitimated violence, approved by society and developed over time due to social revolution that lead to popular sovereignty, through the realization of peoples ability to rationalize - Sovereignty: the legitimation of violence within a territory, for the purpose of maintaining order and organization of the society the peoples voluntary acceptance/approval of the State as ruler - Idealism: what we think drives what we want politics is the conflict of ideas (political culture and ideologies); everyone should think the way I do vs. Materialism: what we think is driven by what we need and how society is organized to meet these demands the material interests and political economy - Limitations on sovereign power: Constitutions: limit the States power by defining what uses of power are legitimate Federalism: divides the authority to certain powers to different levels of government this limits who can make what decisions, and makes the levels inter-dependant - Legislature: makes laws Executive: applies laws into polities Judiciary: interprets and implements laws in daily life - Legitimation of the State is done through voting this allows citizens a chance to voice their opinions of the different parties and who they want in power; the assumption s made that their opinion matters NATIONALISM AND THE NATIONAL IDENTITY WHAT IS NATIONALISM? - Tied to loyalty to the state and the clam to legitimacy (the right to govern) - Key features: Culture/ethnicity/language/location the right to a given territory; how people do things makes them identifiably different Exclusive often defined in opposition to what they are NOT (eg. Canadians arent Americans) national identity grows through this sentiment Paramount national identity is the most important, and the inclusion in this identity is what best defines you and to which you owe the highest loyalty Self-determination the national identity is a collective, definable group separate from others, and should thus be able to define their own fate/lives - Origins/Functions: Deliberate project Standardization, normalization, creation of common identity value prescriptions associated with common and expected behavior the common way becomes the expected, normative way that should be shared by all in the group, and anything that falls outside of this is not appropriate Centralization of state power nationalisation is the most useful political tool in mobilizing and uniting the popular support of peoples for state power; peoples that would otherwise be in conflict Modern project Alternative basis for determining community removes dissent and minimalizes internal conflict in unification against conflict with the outside other, creating unity within the people under a coherent common identity CANADIAN NATIONAL IDENTITY - Civic, not ethnic No religious or ethnic base/origin for our national identity/culture Canada is a mosaic We are united civically institutional practise and political aspects of how we do things define the culture (eg. health care system, Parliamentary system) Our culture is simply a common commitment to institutional systems/practises these ways of doing things connects the community - Alternative to homogenization Canada is known for our multiculturalism, but this leads to a difficulty in reconciling diversity instead of breaking down these pre-existing identities to create a new Canadian one, people are allowed to be defined as individuals; as long as they agree to the rights and laws of Canada, there is no conflict between peoples based on any other groups with which they identify This creates a context for a liberal community of individuals our rights are based on us as individuals, and as Canadians we are defined by these legal obligations, as opposed to by our regional, linguistic or religious identities - Branding: a form of deliberate top-down nationalism an advertising/media technique used by the government to create emotional connection to the product being promoted through associating it with a set of unconnected but desirable characteristics (eg. these kind of people use this); politicians are marketing the nation, inviting viewers to share the characteristics and live the lifestyle Without having to address the actual political policies, politicians can convey the loyal, faithful emotions that they possess towards us and the nation, making them the best candidates ABORIGINAL POLITICS BACKGROUND - Conditions of life on average are much lower than that of the regular Canadian lower living standards, fewer employment opportunities, more deaths at younger ages, lower education and income - Variation/diversity: Large range of conditions across communities some are wealthy and prosperous, while most are in poverty Enormous internal cultural diversity amongst communities they all have different histories, languages and customs; all these diversities means that the Aboriginal problem cant be solved with just one solution for all Range of legal status in regards to treaty many Northern and Western communities have not signed treaties with the Canadian government, and thus do not fall under the same agreements and regulations as those in the South and East Specialized government arrangements are needed as Aboriginal communities require more monetary spending than regular Canadians as costs of living are much higher (eg. prices of imported produce, specialized shelters, winter clothing) POLITICAL HISTORY - 2 driving factors: Problem-based federal dynamic The Federal government approach is that the Aboriginal community is a public problem it is an undesirable divergence from expected norms, and is thus their responsibility to correct Debate about instrument The issue is to identify the problem and find the most effective tool for solving the problem * Critics argue that there is no one specific problem the issue is with the structure of government, and thus the rules must be changes to solve the problem - Government policy - problem-based approach: Aboriginal issues are seen as a singular problem, for which a singular solution needs to be found and can apply in fixing all issues Are conditions structural/normal, or exceptional/abnormal? Exceptional issues: corrupt leadership of Aboriginal communities, racism against Aboriginals, lack of funding for their communities Ambivalence about solution: Assimilation: the absorption of individuals into mainstream society they become us, and are no longer unique, adopting the behaviors of the mainstream people this removes their uniqueness, and thus their unique problems Top-down (eg. residential schools, loss of Aboriginal status): the view of Aboriginals as a primitive people whose problems must be fixed through education so that they can
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