Class Notes (839,147)
Canada (511,218)
POLS 1400 (219)
Nanita Mohan (163)
Lecture 3

Week 3.docx

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Political Science
Course Code
POLS 1400
Nanita Mohan

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Chapter #13: elections and the Electoral System  Elections must be conduced “Free and Fair”  Anyone should be able to contest the election, everyone should be able to vote, every vote should be equal on election day and each province and territory should be fairly represented in HOC Theoretical Considerations  Primary functions of elections is to allow the mass citizens to choose their parliamentary representatives and indirectly their governmental leaders  They also serve as legitimage function, by exercise their franchise, voters legitimize the power of those elected by agreeing to be bound by their decisions  Elections help to integrate the country by putting everyone in it through a common national expierence  Elections provide policy guidelines for authorities and a feeling of political efficacy for the voters  Question of proportionality? o The extent to which representation in the house of commons reflects the wishes of the voters Drawing the Electoral Map  Electoral process beings by dividing the country into single-member electoral districts (redistribution) o Involves two stages:  1. Deciding how many seats in the commons to allot to each province and territory  2. Actually draw constituency boundaries within the provinces Distribution of Seats Among Provinces  starting with 282 seats, one seat is allocated to each of the Northwest territories, Nunavut and Yukon leaving 279  total population of te provinces is divided by 279 to obtain electoral quota  this quota is divided into the population of each province to obtain the number of seats each is entitled to  if these provincial seat allocations result in any province having fewer seats than it has senators, then it obtains such additional seats as to equal its number of senators Drawing Constituency Boundaries  Second phase of redistribution process  Process of gerrymandering—manipulating constituency boundaries so as to ensure as far as possible the re-election of the members of the govt party  Electoral boundaries commission is appointed for each province, chaired by a judge designated by the chief jussive of the province o The other two members of each commission are appointed by the speaker of the house of commons and are often chosen from the political science community  Commissions swing into action as soon as the provincial population figures are available from the census  Must consider the community of interest or community of identity in or the historical pattern of an electoral district, thus rural and northern constituencies tend to be under the provincial quotient and southern, urban ones tend to be slightly over it  Publication of the map of proposed electoral boundaries is followed by a period of public hearings, which are held in different locations in the province The Official Election Machinery Setting the Date  Until 2007 the PM decided the date of the election within a 5 year period from previous election  Public opinion polls can be wrong, or public opinion can change between the calling of an election and the actual voting day Election Officials  The chief electoral officer is responsible for overall administration of the election and must function with absolute impartiality  Chief electoral officer choses the returning officers on a nonpartisan basis The Voters’ List  Voters list was historically compiled from scratch after the election writ was issues, this was done by door to door enumeration  Hard to get 18 year olds on the list Nomination  About 95% of candidates are nominated at a meeting of a political party but they must then submit formal nomination papers, endorsed by 100 people on local voters list and a 1000 deposit Election Day  After nom. Day, the returning officer arranges for the ballots to be printed and allows people to vote in advance polls or by special ballot  Voting is made easier for ppl not at home like army, ppl abroad, temp. out of country  Canadian federal elections are helf Mondays and polls are open from 9am-8pm local time  Voters mark their X in private on ballot provided and when polls close the deputy returning officer and poll clerk count them  Results are announced an hour or so after the polls close, “First past the post: is declared elected The Ballot  Secret ballot was introduced in federal elections in 1874 The Franchise  Federal franchise  Vote was extended to women in the war  In 1918 all women could vote  1948: Asian Canadians  1953: Inuit’s  1960: Registered Indians  1970: Persons 18 years of age  1988: Judges and ppl with mental disabilities  1999: Returning officers  2002: All Prisoners The Proportionality of the Electoral System  in each constituency, the candidate with the most votes wins, even if this is less than 50%, this is called FIRST PAST THE POST or single member plurality  Advantages: o Its simple for voter, quick calculation of results and its provision of a clear-cut representative for each constituency Discrepancies between seats and votes: National level  Actual disparities can be analyzed for both national and provincial  The system does have a tendency to produce a majority government in terms of seats, even though the leading party did not win a majority of the vote Discrepancies between seats and votes: By Province  Conservative vote and seats in quebec and between liberal vote and seats in western Canada  Cairns observed that such disparities affect parties in three principal; ways: o Image o Strategy o Policy  FPTP is criticized in other ways o Said to promote over-representation of white males b each party can only nominate a single candidate in each constituency and may be tempted to choose the lowest common denominator o May discourage turn out because those who support candidates that are not likely to win will be “wasted” o May encourage voters to opt for their second choice candidate because their first choice has no chance for winning Remedies  Most extreme remedy would be a system of proportional representation in which constituencies would be eliminated and each party would receive many seats in each province as its popular vote dictated  Most ppl don’t want to part with local constituency  Interest in electoral reform  In BC, a citizens assembly recommended that the province adopt a single transferable vote system constituencies in which voters ranked candidates on their ballot o More proportional representation would be achieved  PEI recommended a “top-up” program  Ontario held a referendum on whether to adopt a mixed-member proportional electoral system in which the legislature would have 90 electoral districts in addition to 39 mpp based on popular votes from party list o Voters would have 2 votes, one for local rep and one for party preference Financing Elections Pre 1974  Before 1974, Canada had no effective laws with respect to party and election finance and numbers irregularities and outright scandals occurred  The secrecy before 1974 makes it hard to know how many irregularities there actually was o First to come to light was: Pacific Scandal  A group of businessmen were eager to obtain contract to build CPR donated 350 000 to John A MacDonald’s election campaign o Second scandal was the Beauharnois scandal of 1930, in which a similar group gave 600,000 to liberal party in hopes of obtaining a contract to build a dam on the St Lawrence river Federal Election Finance Law and its Results, 1974-2003 o Federal election finance law had four basic principles o Although no limit was placed on size of contributions, a ceiling was imposed on national party spending and on locate candidate spending o Disclosure of contributions more than 200 o Tax credit of 75% for contributions up to 200 o Public subsidy to candidates receiving at least 15% of the vote and to parties receiving a certain min. % of the vote  Objection of legislation were to increase the equity, transparency and participatory nature of the electoral system o Equity would enhanced in limiting candidate and national party spending as well as by the public subsidy provision  Parties obtained funds by well-connect corporate supporters Federal Election Finance Law after 2003  Elections: o Inds are limited to an annual contribution of 1000 to a party, a candidate o Ind contributions are elgible for a 75% tax credit for contributions up to 400 o The identity of contribution over 200 must be disclosed o PAGE 330  Leadership Contests o Individual contributions are limited to 1000 o No spending limit is set, but contribution and expenditures must be disclosed  Nomination Meetings o Ind contributions are allowed up to 1000 o Contributions and expenditures must be disclosed if either exceeds 1000 o Expenditures are limited o Those seeking the nomination can deduct daycase expenses Third Party Advertising and the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing  Third party advertising- a major problem  The 1974 act prohibited advocacy group spending during an election campaign that favored or opposed a party or candidate rd  3 party adveritisng increased enormously in 1988 election campaign  in response to wide spread criticism of this problem and the reiring chief electoral officers repeated recommendations for change in this and other aspects of the Canada Elections act Chapter #14: Political Parties and the Party System  Political parties are integral to the operation of almost every aspect of a modern political system, but Canadians are more attuned to their negatives than positives  Widely criticized for their partisan appointments, for their vicious attacks on each other and each others leaders, and for their loud and often obnoxious behavior during question period  For most of 1867, liberal and progressive conservative parties dominated Canadian political scene Theoretical Considerations  A political party can be defined as an organization that nominates candidates and contests elections in order to influence the personnel and policy of government  Parties are distinct from other groups in society in two main ways: o Where as most other groups possess a fairly narrow focus and articulate a single interest, political parties are usually broaderin scope and seek to aggregate, combine, consolidate or appeal to many different interests or demands o Recruit decision makers primarily by means of the electoral system  They usually choose as candidates people who have been party members for some time and who have been trained  Parties are also involved in the legislative and executive operations of the govt  Beyond this list of functions, parties may be engaged in formulating public policy, each party develops a distinctive platform, the successful party then proceeds to implement it  “Broker” parties generally try to appeal to a wide range of interests in society in order to form a majority government based on a coalition of groups  parties can also be categorized by organization o Cadre: Not particularly democratic, run by small group of notables o Mass: tend to promote large membership with significant influences in the functioning of the party  Final theoretical concept relates to concept of hegemony o Most political parties want to gain power so they will promote the dominate values and expectations of society, If such values change, mainline parties will prob respond in order to retain their control Historical Evolution of Canadian Parties  Ken Carty suggests dividing this evolution into four parts The First Party System, 1867-1921  Until 1921, the conservative and liberal parties virtually monopolized Candian politics  Two party system in which liberals and conservatives competed on equal terms  PMs between 1867-1921 o John A Macdonald o Alexander Mackenzie o John Abbott o John Thompson o Mackenzie bowell o Charles tupper o Wilfrid laurier o Robert borden o Arthur meighen  Conservative pary is said to have its beginning in 1854 when John A Macdonald formed a coalition of four pre-confederation groups: Tories and moderates from upper Canada (ONT), along with English businessmen and French Conservatives from lower Canada (Quebec)  Party lines for ind politicians were flexible in those days  Sometimes lack of cohesion  First party system can be subdivided into two parts, before and after 1896  Laurier governed quite well until he was beating in 1911 when the two main issues were reciprocity and the naval question(whether Canada should est. its own navy or rely on Britian) The Second Party System, 1921-1957  1921 election marked the end of the two party system  from then on, there were many parties in contention, leading to the label of two plus or two and a half party system at least until 1980  this period was dominated by Mackenzie King and Louis St. Lauren  PMs during 1921-1957 o Mackenzie King (L) o Arthur Meighen (C) o R.B Bennett (C) o Louis St. Laurent (L)  In 1921, farmers entered the contest with their own progressive candidates and elected more members than conservatives, whole two labor members were also successful  Farmers were unhappy with conscription, tariff, agricultural and transportation policies  The Great depression was a catalyst for the creation of several new political parties and marks division between two parts of the second party system: o The co-operative commonwealth federation (CCF) o The Social Credit Party The Third Party System, 1957-1993  Liberal dominance was at lest temporarily halted in the 1957 election  Next 35 years was period of alternating minority and majority governments  In this period, television linked ind voters to these leads with tv  PMs from 1957-1993 o John Diefenbaker o Lester B Pearson o Pierre Elliott Trudeau o Joe Clark o John Turney o Brian Mulroney o Kim Campbell  During Diefenbaker period, significant developments occurred in two minor parties: o The CCF decided to combine its efforts with those of the new national labor organization, the Canadian labor congress  Result was creation of NDP in 1961 o A social credit or Creditiste Mp were elected from Quebec in 1962, just when western wing of the party was starting to decline  Canada has only witness minority govts since 2004  1980s can be considered the second part of the third party system and even labeled as a three-party system because at least between elections, the NDP became entrenched as a national party The Fourth Party System, 1993-Present  A multi-party system had developed  PMs from 1993- present o Jean Cretien(L) o Paul Martin(L) o Stephen Harper (C)  Since 1993, quebecquois has held more than 40% of voter support in quebec  Canada has only witnessed minority governments since 2004 Interpretations of the Canadian Party System The Broker System  Most traditional explanation of Canadian Political parties  This theory suggests that maximizing their appeal to all such groups(regions, ethinc, genders, classes, religion) is not only the best way for a party to gain power, but in the fragmented Canadian society, it is also necessary to keep the country together  Parties should act as agents of national integration and attempt to reconcile as many divergent interests as possible  Interests that parties pay most attention to is those that are of major concern to voters  Emphasizes the middle-class consciousness of most Canadians  Broker theory can argue that liberal and conservative parties have no basic ideological orientation and merely promise to satisfy the most important concerns felt by the voters at any point in time o They can be said to disguise their real ideological interests— protecting the capitalist system—by emphasizing ethnic and regional identities instead of class interests  Parties are opportunists and pragmatic rather than offering the electorate a choice of principled, distinctive programs Ideological or Class-Based Parties  this theory is partly an explanation of the existing system but when it comes to prescribing an idea situation, it rejects the national status quo  the depression represented the collapse of the capitalist system and gave rise to new ideological parties  the CCF became the most sustained working-class party but most members continued to support the two traditional parties  Unionization expanded in the 1940s, the CCFs success was impeded by the Liberal Party’s exploitation of division within the working class and by extremist anti-CCF propaganda Other Interpretations  Three other interpretations, one party dominance approach o One Party Dominance  Does not work when there is minority government  Instead of looking at the party system being historically made up of two major parties, it was really dominated by one the Liberals after 1900  Liberals were the government party that won and had success  Conservatives were always seen as the opposition party  NDP could be called the innovative party o Party Decline  Decline of political parties  A number of reasons for the decline:  People prefer to participate directly in specialized voluntary associations rather than take their concerns to an omnibus political party  Parties become increasingly dependent on bureaucracy  Parties now gear most of their activity to the demand’s of the media  Increasing power of PM, influence of election strategists and other specialist advisers and the new role of the courts and charter of rights and freedoms o Minor Parties  The existence of all these minor parties can be explained by the fact that at one time or another, ethnic, regional or class grievances have gone unsatisfied by the broker parties  New minor parties are only to be expected when ind voter identification with existing parties is generally weak and when ideological stagnation and opportunism characterize the broker system  Rigid party disciple had encouraged the development of minor protest parties Party Ideology  Parties often downplay their ideological differences in the search for votes, their positions change over time and they are all internally divided to some extent  Some have said that there are no basic ideological differences that exist between liberals and conservatives: they are both pre broker parties with no ideology, responding pragmatically and opportunistically to public opinion polls in the pursuit of power or else they are equally commuted to the capitalist system but prepared to remedy its worst faults to maintain power  Second interpretation is that although no fundamental ideological differences exists between them, they maintain certain consistent policy differences  Fragment theory: o Suggests that the basic ideology in Canada is liberalism, but that traces of socialism and conservatism also exist and that each of the ideologies are more or less represented by a corresponding party o Liberalism seeks to liberate the individual and maximize each individuals freedom and potential o Conservatism seeks to liberate the individual from the restrictions of the state, reducing the role of state to a minimum and allowing private market forces to determine the distribution of power and wealth, which is often labeled individualism  Minimizing the tax burden on individuals is a key priority, but conservatism also advocates little government regulation and ownership, and leaving ppl to fend for themselves instead of being supported by public schools programs  Conservatives do not cherish inequality, but if such policies result in inequalities, they are unconcerned, because inequalities are both natural and deserved  These attitudes are labeled on the RIGHT  Social democracy, seeks to liberate the individual from the inequalities and exploitation of the capitalist system o It believes in equality and wants a large element of state action or collectivism in order to achieve such liberation and equality o These views are on the LEFT o This ideology emphasizes government planning, regulation, ownership of some major industries, progressive taxation and redistribution of income thru social programs  Liberalism falls between the other two ideologies, can be subdivided into welfare and business variants o Business liberals believe that the state inhibits self-fulfillment and that its role should be minimized so that individualism can prevail o Welfare liberals, conversely take the view that the senate can be a positive agent in liberating inds from the constraints of other forces including the private-enterprise economy,, they therefore stand for a combination of individualism and collectivism and equality and inequality –equal opportunity o Claim development of welfare state  Red tories o These conservatives combined beliefs in privilege and collectivism, seeing society as an organic whole, emphasizing community values as well as individualism, and standing for order, tradition, stability and nobelsse oblige. o They believed in hierarchy in which everyone should occupy their place  So much overlap with liberalism and conservatives specifically that it is sometimes difficult to detect the distinction made above  After 1985, ideological spectrum shifted to right  Neoliberalism or neo-conservatism o Both advocate that government withdraw from economic policy but sometimes neo-conservatism is taken to mean a belief in a strong state that can promote certain traditional social values and regulate social behavior o Neoconservatives were “social conservatives: who opposed abortion, public child care, gay rights, same sex marriage and employment equity  Bloc Quebeqios stands alone with its one main objective: Quebec Sovereignty Party Organization Party Membership  Two categories of party members: o Committed activists who maintain their membership year after year o Those attracted to a leadership or nomination contest who let their membership lapse afterward  NDP new members must take an oath that they support the party principles  Liberals and conservative’s are more casual about annual renewal of party memberships Party Leadership  Liberals relied on the parliamentary party to select its leaders before 1919 and same with conservatives till 1927, but then both chose to choose their leaders at national delegate conventions  Now more used is the one member one vote  Most parties also have leadership review mechanisms Party Policy Making  Some ppl join a party with the aim of contributing to party policy, but on the other hand, no party wants to be saddled with unrealistic policy commitments  NDP has regular policy meetings every 2 years  Libs and cons not so concerned General Structures and Operations CONVENTIONS  The ultimate authority in each party is the party
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