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4POLI 101- September 28.docx

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Political Science
POLI 101
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RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT Wednesday September 28, 2011 Review: Three Pillars of the Canadian Constitution - Illustrates the idea that the Constitution is seen in different spaces and on different levels - While the written constitution contains only entrenched constitutional law, the broader concept of the constitution includes conventions and organic statues. - First of the three pillars: Responsible government (the concept appeared prior to confederation) Responsible Government - Oldest aspect of Canada’s Constitutional regime - In the Preamble of CA, 1867, the concept of Responsible Government is only indirectly implied through the phrase, “This Constitution will be similar in principle to that of the UK” - As UK practiced a form of responsible government, this idea was transferred or imported into Canada - Responsible government refers to and sets out the structure of roles and offices found in the government, and determines the relationship between traditional powers (legislative, executive and judicial) - In Shorthand: Responsible Government answer the important questions of how we structure the offices of the regime, and where the power lies - Draws from the set of principles that would have been in place in the UK in 1867 “MII” Acronym - Legislative Power (Parliament): Make Laws - Executive Power (Government of the Day): Implement Laws - Judicial Power (Courts): Interpret laws - Legislative and Executive powers - Separate but with a degree of fusion draw through Responsible Government - Members of the executive are drawn from the legislative powers Prior to Constitution- The Road to Responsible Government - Feudal System: Complete fusion of executive and legislative powers, where the monarch both wrote and applied the laws - The Monarch had the power to make law and execute these laws through the application of force - While nobles and other powerful figure influenced the Monarch, they held the ultimate power - With time, there was a concession of some legislative power to an elected Parliament (pressure exerted by the nobles) - Signaled the Monarchy no longer held a monopoly of power - While formally the Monarch held the right to approve or disapprove laws, by ignoring the advice of the Parliament, Monarchy would risk losing the support of key figures and the people - Today the Monarch still signs off on laws, however through convention their role has greatly decrease Emergence of Responsible Government - Colonial Rule in Canada: Imperial governors on a mandate from the UK would create and enforce law, taking direction from the elected parliament at home as opposed to advice from the local authorities - Once a formal settlement has been established in Canada, the local oligarchy became advisors to the governor- Chateau Clique and Family Compact in Canada - Eventually the population grew restless of the abuse of power by the Oligarchy, and sought to gain more influence in the political process Rebellions - Both Lower (Quebec) and Upper Canada (Ontario) had rebellions - These rebellion were armed, generally supported by the populations, and aimed to overthrow the current power - Lower Canada rebellion was led by Papineau, and was generally thought to be stronger than the one in Upper Canada - Papineau wanted Majority rule - Upper Canada rebellion was led by William Lyon Mackenzie (Grandfather of Mackenzie King) - Mackenzie wanted a reformed Parliament - Conflicts between Upper and Lower Canada were complicated by cultural and religious tensions between the francophone (who didn’t want to be disenfranchised and marginalized) and the English - It was as if two nations existed within a single nation: An example of how both groups were appeased, is how the capital was moved from Kingston to Quebec city every few years Lord Durham - An official sent to Canada to look at the cause of discontent in the
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