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Governing Institutions of Liberal Democracy.docx

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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 1150

1 POLS 1150 - 01 Governing Institutions of Liberal Democracy Wednesday October 2 2013 Movie 3 roles of MP's • please everyone possible • be involved in policy making • private members bills are very difficult to be passed - being a back bencher is tough • over the last 3 decades the tendency is that decisions are made before caucus meetings and the meetings are just there to get you on boards or be a bitch session what shapes the behaviour of political parties in the house of commons Constitutional Law • -constitution: a body of fundamental rules outlining the structures or institutions of power and authority and the relations between these institutions between these and the people • in Britain you don't need a written constitution, it is history • the magna carta 1215 spoke to the king taking arbitrary measures - making up the rules as he went along • arbitrarily making decisions for one person and different for another • 1689 there is the British bill of rights - the rights of parliament and the people elected to parliament • one of the significant provisions is that one cannot be prosecuted criminally for what is said in parliament • historic documents are supposed to be what is part of an unwritten or traditional way of tradition 2 • Britain and Canada in some ways rely on convention - a custom, and something always being done • it is almost like a law • in Ontario under Ernie eves, his finance minister delivered the budget in a car part manufacturing warehouse never before had it been released outside of the legislature - because they are there to control spending and money bills • here the budget was first being presented not to the representatives but rather the public • there was barely a headline after the first day and most Canadians did not understand • the written constitution is very important, and there are very few countries who have unwritten constitutions • unwritten (traditional) • - convention • written (rational) • -formal supreme law • -can only be changed through amendment procedure Civil and Criminal Law • -set out in statutes, codified • -common law (Anglo tradition, English Canada) • emphasis on precedence in case law • -civil code (roman tradition, Napoleonic code, Quebec) • emphasis on first principles of systematic code • -convention • customary practice, accepted through custom, consent implied Three functions of government • executive - implements the law 3 • legislative - makes the law • judicial - adjudicates law: decide particular cases • the executive (P.M) however seems to run the show and there is a lot controversy about this • in the presidential system there is a separation of power The Executive • is split into two - dual executive - formal executive representing the inclusive part • the political executive is the people • the unitary system is the presidential system - both are unified into one • so the formal in a dual executive is the monarch. the representative is the governor general and lieutenant governors • in a republic such as Italy or Ireland there is a ceremonial president (they have rid their monarchy) • the P.M and the cabinet are the executive Permanent Executive • government administration or civil service • under the authority of the political executive • instrument of the executive • P.M has complete control along with the cabinet • there are ministers in charge of ministries • the P.M can change the public service in any way they wish and do not need parliament Legislature • bicameral ( upper and lower house) and unicameral (lower house) Canada 4 • in the U.S, nationally bicameral, the states are both • same with Australia • the upper house is historically the nobilities domain • the upper house was rejected by new Zealand in 1951 and the nobility idea What Determines strong bicameralism • both houses have equal power • weak is that the upper does not have as much power or legitimacy as the lower house • Canada is a weak bicameralism - because the senate is not chosen by the people but rather appointed by the P.M The Judiciary • hierarchy of courts assuring a right of appeal • -lower courts: decided cases, criminal and civil • -higher (appellate) courts: hear appeals of lower court rulings. In Canada, charter cases since 1985 for provincial laws • independence of the judiciary necessary - has to be at arm's length in a liberal democracy, and cannot be properly called a liberal democracy Highest court • supreme court in Canada • this highest court is the last court of appeal • legal role: last court to appeal for civil and criminal cases decides whether law is made within the authority of the constitution - which level of government, whether government has the authority - there are powers for the national, and provincial governments - national government cannot sanction provincial laws in the constitution • Political role: ju
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