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POLS 2300 Lecture 1.docx

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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 2300
Tamara Small

POLS 2300 Lecture 1 September 11/13.  Quizzes open for 48 hrs, timed State Institutions  Institution that are related to the constitution  In Canada, parliament: House of Commons, the senate, governor general or crown. Courts, public service Political Institutions  Structure democratic expression within states; closely related to citizen behaviour  Represent citizens, In Canada: political parties, interest groups, election, media in some ways  Affect the ways in which people are mobilized to try to exert influence o those in governing positions What is a constitution?  The fundamental rules by which a country is governed.  All laws need to be consistent with the constitution  Written constitution tends to be written in one or more documents  Unwritten constitution: other laws or bills that are not written down but followed and are influential  Canada is both written and unwritten  Defines the power of the state, rules that govern a country, law of laws no one is above it, division of powers, describes the limits of the powers  Constitution deals with 3 key relationships: 1. Branches of government: roles and responsibilities of government 2. Level of government (division of power) 3. State and the people, what the government can do, cannot do and have to do  Formal Constitutional Documents: Include the Constitution Act 1867, the Constitution Act 1982, amendments to these acts plus additional documents which are listed in a schedule attached to the constitution act 1982  Rule of law: the principle that individuals should be subject only to known, predictable, and impartial rules, rather than to the arbitrary orders of these in governing positions. All individuals are subject to the constitution no one is above the constitution matter how much money they have, race, etc. It acts as a safe guard for citizens against politicians.  Constitutionalism: the belief that governments will defer to the rules and principles enshrined in a constitution and uphold the rule of law. Notion that everyone will comply with the constitution. Both rule of law and constitutionalism are connected.  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 of the inconsistency, of no force or effect.” Sec 52(1)  Components: Charter of Rights and Freedoms, BNA act,  Entrenched: written legal provision that have been ratified through the official amending formula.  Non entrenched: acts of a constitutional nature. Ordinary pieces of legislation that don’t use the amending formula but are still very important  conventions  Constitution Act, 1867(formerly the BNA act): -the union and the crown -executive powers -legislative powers -provincial constitutions -federalism -the Judiciary  Constitution act, 1867/BNA Act: Its purpose was to extablish Canada as a federal union of 4 provinces:Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Whereas the provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia and new Brunswick have expressed their desire to be federally united into one dominion under the crown of the united kingdom of gr
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