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5POLI 101- September 30.docx

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Political Science
POLI 101
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RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT Friday September 30, 2011 Note: Short Assignment I will be returned in Tutorial next week, however the grade will be available on Monday morning on Vista Review: Three Pillars of the Canadian Constitution - Responsible Government is one of the three key constitutional pillars - Parliament constitutes the executive, legislative, crown and senate - Responsible government concentrates, fuses power within this body, as opposed to separates power like the US - Generally when “Parliament is back in session,” one is referring to the House of Commons - PM and Executive (Cabinet) are chosen from ranks of the legislative body (House of commons) – the most energetic part of government - Cabinet or the executive is referred to in the Constitution as “Queen’s Privy Council of Canada” - Often The Privy Council is abbreviated as the PC, and Cabinet members as Minister PC - The members are “Advisors to the crown,” as represented by the Governor General Conventions - The written Constitution appears to invest all formal authority in the crown (and thereby the Governor General) - There is no doubt however, that our nation’s leader is the PM (Prime Minister) - Conventions therefore do a lot to modify constitutional law - Formal distribution of power as laid out by the Constitution is a poor guide as to where political power in fact lies within the government - Conventions temper constitutional law - Elected branch/part of executive rather than hereditary//appointed crown holds greater power - Basic rules of responsible government can be summarized in 5 conventions - Conventions structure way the executive is chosen - They also structure institutions to realize a different relationship between governing bodies than what is set out by the constitution (1) Ministers are always MPs - Cabinet Ministers are always members of the lower house who are elected in general elections - Cabinet needs to be before the House in order to be accountable to the government (enforce a sense of responsibility) - EG. Jim Flatery (Finance Minister) was chosen by Harper from the group of conservative MP elected in the past election - Flatery was previously the Ontario Finance Minister - The cabinet is chosen from a limited pool (only MPs from the party which holds the most seats) - Some (important) exceptions to this rule - One Cabinet Minister is typically a senator - Important that the senate knows what is going on in the house and within the executive - Sometimes more that one senator is chosen in order to have representative in the cabinet from all regions of the country - Party leaders have, on occasion, not been elected in their own riding, but have become PM (Prime Minister) (2) Confidence - Governor General only appoints those with confidence of the House, to the executive or Cabinet - Generally this selection is very clear, as it is based on election results - This is especially true in majority governments - When one party has a majority, it is clear they will be able to win votes in the house - This demonstrates “confidence” - Responsible government is still Party Government - Participants want to organize under party umbrellas so the command of house is more evident - This Party organization answers constitutional questions: Who has power? - If everyone were independent, it would be more different to decide who will become the PM - Nothing in the constitution states parties are required - Sometimes a coalition is formed when 2 parties
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