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1POLI 101- September 9-16.docx

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Political Science
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POLI 101

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Introduction to Canadian Government Friday September 9, 2011 What is a Regime? - Definition: A system of ruling or rules - Applicability outside of government and politics: Think sports regulation, environmental regime - Composed of (most important aspects) both: a) Institutions of government: both concrete and in the mind b) Principles: used to make collective decisions - Affect the way institutions are created/shaped/their nature - EG. How close the legislature is tied to the citizens- size small would result in less direct democracy, larger would connect citizens closer to the decision making process - Can vary province to provide Aristotle - Categorizer of Regimes - The Politics: Organization of regimes and political life - Central Question discussed in the text: What is the purpose of ruling (Whose interests are served by the regime?) Regime Types - Questions: Are they just or unjust? (relative term, also a normative judgement) - Who rules in the regime? The few (elite) or the many (public)? - These terms are scientific and categorical ideas that are undiluted, or “pure types” - Few regimes are pure- most are a mixture of sorts, but lean to one of these types Who Rules? Common Good Self-Interest One Kingship - One rule who is just - Displays a commitment to the greater public good - Benevolent dictator - EG. Catherine “The Great,” of Russia during the Enlightenment, not Ivan “The Terrible” Tyranny - One ruler who is unjust - Seeks to gain, or aggrandize self (individual) - No pretensions to the public good EG. Ghadafi Regime Few Aristocracy - Group of elites pledged to the greater good - Likely the rarest type of regimes: uncommon as susceptible to temptation of abuse - EG. Medici in Florence, many city states in the pre-Italian history Oligarchy - Few rulers who are unjust - Elites who work together to ensure their own dominance and well—being (self-interest) - Instinct of self-interest so strong, oligarchies often break down within themselves - No sense of the common good EG. Château Clique and Family Compact in Canada Many Polity - Broad participation and mechanisms which allow participation - Commitment to the public good Democracy - Rule by the demos - Believed to be flawed because the many tend to oppress the few - Tyranny of the majority * His understanding of democracy and Polity is different than the way we understand the words today Tyranny of the Majority - Distrust of Democracy: reveals itself in some constitutional regimes - Some of the greatest have been distrustful of the “masses” to some degree - EG. Senate: Not elected, selected by the government - EG. Women, those without property not originally included in the vote - Majority rule doesn’t always respect minorities- however these may be defined (sex, culture, race, etc.) - Think about our current electoral system Canadian Democracy - More than just a simple “democracy” - How we use institution to condition input of the public - Values and principles inform the basic commitment to democracy- and limit majority rule - Promotion of certain values and ideas (principles) - Embedded in the nation’s institutions and decision making - EG. House of Parliament construed by the Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms (how and what laws we can make) Summary: Aristotle + - Regime principles or values are shortcuts to the meaning of the common good - Realization of goals often possible because of Canada’s institutional configuration Canada’s Regime Principles - Popular Rule - Liberty - Equality Canada’s governmental regime Monday September 12, 2011 Sovereignty - Maintains a monopoly of force over a given territory - Embodiment of rule in collective system is possible - Collective/popular control embodied by an individual: sovereign democracy - Popular Sovereignty: people hold the ultimate authority - Less apparent in the day-to-day - Ways of practicing popular rule vary Direct democracy - Opportunity for all to participate in political process - Referendums: Through referendums: people to decide with some finality on an issue as results are binding - Plebiscite: similar to referendum - Understood not to be binding, but rather a consultation with the public for government - Initiative: Individual able to ask a question/make a proposition that can lead to a referendum or plebiscite - Recall: public vote of confidence on specific individual (only on provincial level) - Not practical on a day-to-day basis Popular Sovereignty - Representative Government - Impracticality of direct democracy - Intemperance of direct democracy - Popular Rule: those elected are held accountable to the people as a whole - Indirect Parliamentary Democracy - Form of representative government - “A Constitution similar in Principle to that of the UK.” - Parliamentary Government: Representative body is parliament (National Legislature) - Bicameral - Indirect selection of the executive (Cabinet) - Accountability filtered through representatives - Most indirect of indirect systems - Role for the crown (safety valve) - Monarchical VS. Republic POLITICAL EQuality Wednesday September 14, 2011 Equality - Does not mean social or economic equality - Canada is relatively uncommitted to social and economic equality - DOES mean a relatively equal role in political rule for all - Can be seen in the institutions and in the language of important documents - Political a procedural equality Threats to Political Equality - Economic (wealth) and social inequality can threaten political equality - Impacts political equality - While a commitment to political equality may be present, other types of inequality can impact how much political equality all can enjoy - Protection must be in place to stop this: done through limits placed on election expenses (how much money can have on election outcome) - Both constraints and opportunity must be in place Equality - Rough equality of voice
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