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POLS 1400 (219)

Constitution and Economic Foundations of Being Canadian

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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 1400
Holly Gibbs

Issues in Canadian Politics Lecture 2- “The Constitutional, Institutional and Economic Foundations of Being Canadian” The Constitution:  Purpose: Establishes and governs the political institutions  Written and unwritten elements -Conventions: unwritten rules, established rules of governing  BNA Act, 1867 -Original constitution  Canadian Constitution, 1982 -Added by Pierre Elliot Trudeau along with the Charter of Rights of Freedoms and the ability to amend the constitution  Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982  Amending Formulae, 1982 Our Central Political Institutions 1. Legislative Branch: branch of the people, both the upper and lower chambers of governance; the Senate and House of Commons respectively. House of Commons: a member of Parliament, each from one territory, 308 seats. PM is the leader of the majority; Official Opposition is the next highest amount of seats. Here, policies are voted upon. Senate: unelected officials, appointed by the PM and Governor General. 105 seats, is the upper house in Canada. Members review and decide upon bills sent forth by the House of Commons. Fails to adhere to rep by pop and current population trends Provincial legislatures: Representatives elected in elections similar to the House of Commons. 2. Executive branch Crown: formal head of state; no real legislative power Prime Minister: the leader of the political party with the most seats in the House of Commons, not voted for directly. Is the unofficial Head of State but does actually make the vital decisions in Canada. Cabinet: appointed by the PM, each specializing in their own area of expertise, advising on the most critical issues 3. Judiciary Branch Supreme Court: appointed by the PM and Governor General; experts on laws and whether or not they adhere to the Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms; umpire of Federalism, guardians of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms Provincial and Lower Courts: exercise and control the rule of law in their respective territories 6 Principles of the Constitution Corresponding Political Institutions 1. Constitutional Monarchy Crown/Governor General 2. Responsible Government Executive/Governing Party & Provincial executive; legislatures at both levels 3. Federalism Relationship between Federal, Provincial and Territorial Governments; Senate. Judiciary acts
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