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POLS 2300 (152)

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Political Science
POLS 2300
Tamara Small

Lecture 1 1/10/2013 7:23:00 PM Canada  State - crown o People o Territory o Sovereignty  Country‟s power to rule itself  You have power over the land and those people. The government of Canada can make you do things (pay taxes, stop at red lights)  Refers to the authority and the ___ of the state. It can receive obedience by a population. Refers to a state  Authority is sought that the state has the right to make the decisions, it is reasonable. Legitimacy, citizens think that the state has that right as well. Government: our government is no elected by the people. The legislature is elected by the people. Only the people from Calgary west voted for Stephen harper. We have representative democracy not direct democracy. Government  Governments act in the name of the state  Government – “to steer”  Organization of people for the resolution of dispute/conflict  Analogy: car and driver. Car is the state, Stephen harper is the driver. The car that is the state is the same. You act on behaf of the state.  State that was enacted in 1867 is the same as it is today, except the „driver‟ has changed. Politics Harold Lasswell: “who gets what, when and how” David Easton: “politics is the authoritative allocation of values- values meaning not moral ideas but those things in life that people desire”  Is about trying to get us to decide how we deal with making decisions. Institutions  State institutions – institutions that are related to the constitution o E.g.  Parliament – made up of house, senate, crown  Ministries  Court System  Federal System  Municipalities  Political Institutions – structure democratic expression within states; closely related to citizen behaviours o E.g.  Political parties  Lobby groups  Elections  The media (sometimes) Ipsos Reid, 2008  Canadians are split on whether the prime minister is directly or indirectly elected by the people of Canada. One half (51%) believes he is directly elected, while the other half (49%) believes he is not. o He is not actually  Four in ten (42%) believe that the prime minister is Canada‟s head of state, and no one in three (33%) think this title belongs to the governor general. o Stephen harper isn‟t the head of state o Neither is the governor general o Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state  Four in ten (41%) Canadians were unable to correctly identify Canada as a „constitutional monarchy‟. o Canada is a constitutional monarchy The Constitution & Constitutional Change What is the Constitution?  Fundamental rules by which a country is governed.  Supreme law, binds the scope of the state. o Takes precedence over other laws. It‟s the most important laws. All other laws have to be consistent with this laws.  Tells us what we value, who we are, what we think is important. Can be written and unwritten. o written can be in one document or several documents o unwritten – statues, norms, values  the uk has an unwritten constitution. Very little is written down. Canada like the USA has a mostly written constitution.  Three key relationships o 1. Branches of government  tells us about the parliament, what are the institutions of the parliament. What are the relationships between those institutions. o 2. Levels of government (division of power)  how these levels work.  Tells us about the divisions of powers and the responsibilities within these governments.  E.g. federal government 3. State and the people  The limits of governmental power between the citizens and the states. The things the governments must do towards the citizens and what they cannot do. Constitutional Principles Rule of law – the principle that individuals should be subject only to know, predictable, and impartial rules, rather than to the arbitrary orders of those in governing positions.  Nobody is above the constitution  Governments cannot be arbitrary. Constitutionalism – the belief that the governments will defer to the rules and principles enshrined in a constitution and uphold the rule of law  The idea that according to the supreme court, all government action should comply with the constitution.  What‟s in the constitution o Charter of rights and freedom o BNA o Pieces of legislation that are not written in the constitution that has constitutional status in Canada Primacy of the Constitution  The constitution of Canada is the supreme law of Canada, and any law that is inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution is, to the extent COPY FROM SLIDES The Canadian Constitution  Entrenched – it‟s not going anywhere, it‟s really hard to change because you need to have an amending formula. It has a high threshold for change. o Constitution act, 1867 (formerly the BNA) o Constitution act, 1982 o Charter of rights and freedoms  Ordinary laws all they need is 51% in the house of common but entrenched constitution is not like that. They have very strict rules for changing. They have to have an amending formula and they have priority over laws.  Nonentrenched o Organic statues (acts of a constitutional nature)  Pieces of legislation, that are so important because they define really important things about our political system. E.g. Canadian elections act, the supreme court act, the bill of rights, the clarity act, the constitutional veto act. o Orders – in- counsel  Decisions of the cabinets  All of the provinces that came in after confederation except for newfoundland came in without a vote.  Do not take precedence over other laws, but they are super important. Anyone can change them.  Judicial decisions  Conventions o Traditions + customs Conventions  Widely accepted informal constitutional rules o Not legally enforceable by the courts o Based upon accepted practice and reason o Rules that we all believe in o Examples  All of the authority of the Canadian prime minister does not come from a Canadian document, it comes from political practice. Nothing in the constitution that says that we have a prime minister, we have a convention that says the leader or the largest party after an election becomes the prime minister
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