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Political Science
POLI 201
Jay Makarenko

POLI 201 Oct. 31 FORMS OF LIBERAL DEMOCRACY Tues: Parliamentary Government Thurs: Presidential Government Tutorials: Representation CANADA-US: BASIC CONTRAST Parliamentary (Canada) Executive branch: - Monarchy - Prime Ministries/Cabinet Legislative Branch: - House of Commons - Senate Presidential (US) Executive branch: - President/Cabinet Legislative Branch: - House of Representatives -Representative Senate Executive Branch: - Canada: Monarchy head of state; Prime Minister/Cabinet political head of government. - US: President is both ceremonial head of state and the political head of government. Legislative Branch: -Both systems have two legislative chambers Canada: House is elected; Senate is appointed US: House and senate are elected Relationship between Branches: -Canada: fused executive-legislative (must maintain support in legislature to stay in power) -US: CANADA PARLIAMENT: DEMOCRATIC APPROACH The people vote > House of Commons > Prime Minister > Senate & Judicial Branch • Citizens only elect their representative in the House of Commons (Members of Parliaments MPs) • MPs then select and hold responsible the Prime Minister • The Prime Minister choose Senators and judges US PREDIDENTIAL: CITIZEN PARTICIPATION The People Vote For: The President, Congress, Initiatives & Reforms, And Judicial Branch. • Citizen participation is much broader • Citizens elect President, congress and elements of the judicial branch • Citizens also participate directly in decision-making. • Initiatives and referendums (locally and for the whole country) POLITICAL POWER: CHECKS AND BALANCES - Refers to how political power is assigned to different institutions and actors within a democratic system. - Low Level of Checks and Balances: Political power is concentrated in the hands of a single institution or actor. - High Level of Checks and Balances: Political power is diffused amongst a wide variety of institutions or actors. Benefits of Checks and Balances: - Protects against abuses of power and quasi-authoritarian rule. - No single person or group can control government for personal. Group or class self-interests. Detriments of Checks and Balances: - Difficult for government to act quickly and efficiently in the development and implementation of policy - Institutions and actors must negotiate and compromise with one another (takes time can result in stalemate – nothing gets done) CANADIAN PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM: IN THEORY - Prime Minister Cabinet: (The government) responsible for identifying priorities and developing policies and laws. - House: Reviews and votes on government legislation - Senate Reviews and votes on government legislation - Monarchy Reviews and accepts/vetoes government legislation CANADIAN PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM IN PRACTICE - Lack of Democratic Legitimacy: Senate rarely uses veto power Monarchy rarely uses veto power - Party Discipline: Prime Minister can control how MPs in his/her party vote • Canadian Parliamentary System: low level of checks and balances • What checks are there? Electoral system (every 4-5 years citizens can elect a new House- change the government); judiciary (Charter of Rights and Freedoms). US PREISDENTIAL SYSTEM - Congress Acts as a Check on the President: • Can propose laws • Approves President’s budget • Can impeach President • Approves Presidential Appointments - President Acts a Check on the congress: • Can veto laws passed by Congress (veto can be overridden by a 2/3 majority in both of both Houses) WHAT ABOUT POLITICAL PARTIES AND PARTY DISCIPLINE? Canadian Parliamentary System: - The executive-legislative branches are fused together - Prime Minister belongs to the same political party that controls the House. - Prime Minister is also leader of this party and can exercise party discipline and force his/her MPs to support government
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