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7POLI 101- October 5.docx

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Political Science
POLI 101
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RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT/EXECUTIVE Wednesday October 5, 2011 * Dr. Baier mentioned this lecture would be particularly important on the midterm, especially the flow chart Majority and Minority Governments Review - Confidence is the key aspect of Responsible Government - Majority government is perceived as “natural and proper” - Preference for majority government on behalf of political parties, as it more easily allows them to carry out their political agenda - They “need” this in order to do the things they want to do - Majority government are more common than minority governments in history - Majority government is the easiest way to judge the confidence of the house - This occurs through the belief that MPs will (almost) always vote along party lines because of party discipline - GG doesn’t have to make any discretionary decision regarding who will have the confidence of the house - System will run itself Minority Governments - When no party posses a majority in the legislature (50% of seats or more) - Despite a minority not being preferential, the system can still work - Party with less than 50% of the seats can still command the confidence of the house - Generally minorities are more unstable, uncertain, and complicated however - If an election results in a minority government, the party last in power has the first crack at attempting to gain the confidence of the house - If it is clear that this party will not have a chance, the opportunity passes to the next largest party represented in the house - Minority governments have on average a shorter term (aren’t able to hold on to the confidence of the house for a full term) - Sometimes the party in control of the house will organize its own defeat - Want to call an election in order to get a majority - Some of the most creative times in political public policy have happened under minority governments - A government is forced to take into consideration the interests of other parties (in order to pass legislation, they have to please not only their party, but other parties in order to gain their support) - Parties are forced to work together, and share power EG. The NDP has propped up the Liberals at times under the understanding that if they support their push for a certain bill, or vote, the liberals will return the favor Majority Government - Party discipline the key factor - This is what allows for an “elected dictatorship” - There is little check from the legislature under a majority - Factors that check the power of a PM holding a majority - Kept in check by popular opinion - Caucasus could also revolt: stop supporting PM, call for resignation - In some parliamentary systems (not Canada however) the parties evaluate leadership - Leader or PM is elected by the party’s MPs who gained seats in a Majority - There also exists a procedure for leadership review Flow Cart *Will be posted on Vista (1) Election result  Majority maintained? YES  Government chosen (2) Election result  Majority maintained? NO  New Party Majority? YES  Government Chosen (3) Election result  Majority maintain? NO  New Party Majority? NO  Old government most likely to gain confidence? YES  Government Chosen (4) Election result  Majority maintain? NO  New Party Majority? NO  Old government most likely to gain confidence? NO  Old Government resigns or unlikely? YES  Government Chosen (New Government chosen by Governor General) - Only one of these scenarios requires the involvement/discretion of the Crown Comparison of Canadian System with the USA United States (Separation of Power) Canada (Responsible Government) Separated executive and legislature Fusion of legislative and executive power Cabinet Appointed Cabinet Independently elected (as MPs) then - Larger body to choose executive from appointed by the PM - Easiest way to be appointed: Be close to the - Easiest way to be appointed: Be elected as President, or be an expert in your field an MP for a government with a majority Fixed election intervals Maximum terms only - Removal of president before end of term is -
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