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Lecture 3

SSCI 1010U Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Good Governance, Henry Morgentaler, Public Property

Course Code
SSCI 1010U
Bruce Curran

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Canadian Legal Systems Lecture 3 01.28.16
Government Constitution
Constitutional law concerns the exercise of government power, and its limits
Canadian constitution comprises…
owritten legislation,
ocase law, and
oagreements between levels of government
Fuller study of Canadian and English history necessary for complete understanding
Parliamentary Democracy
Elements of Canadian parliamentary democracy not universally accepted
Definition of democracy
System of governance
Majority rules with certain restrictions
Totalitarianism =Opposite of Democracy
Those states in which leaders impose their objectives or goals upon their
people to an unlimited degree. Efforts are made to control all aspects of
society; to subordinate individuals and groups to the dominant leadership.
Democracy: Models
Direct Democracy
oAthenian model
oCitizen vote
oDifficult to implement
Representative Democracy
oRepresentatives elected into office
oRegional elections keep representatives in check
oPeople making decisions more likely to be experts
oFewer people making decisions – easier to manage
Parliamentary Democracy
oParliamentary”: how the majority exercises power
oDirect democracy of Athens difficult in practice
oRepresentation meant elections
oFirst English parliament was only advisory
oEnglish Civil War led to constitutional monarchy
oIn parliamentary system, legislature is paramount; in presidential, no part is
oElection of representatives is basis of parliamentary system
oAmericans elect president directly
oPresident’s cabinet is appointed, not elected
oFewer people vote all the time
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Canadian Legal Systems Lecture 3 01.28.16
oSeparation of powers in US makes party system less important than in Canada
oEverybody in Canadian federal and provincial governments is elected
oMPs and MPPs not limited in length of term
oLosing confidence means an election
oConflict between party discipline and real representation
oPros and cons of referenda, initiatives, and recalls
oFirst-past-the-post system leaves a lot of unhappy voters
oProportional representation has drawbacks, but may happen yet
Forms of Government
Division of responsibilities between federal and provincial in Canada
oWill discuss specifics in next chapter
Provinces create municipal governments
British North America Act created Canadian national government
Courts decide jurisdictional conflicts
oUltra vires—outside the jurisdiction
oIntra vires—inside the jurisdiction
Federal and provincial powers: examples
Three branches of Gov’t in Canada
oExecutive branch: enforces the laws
oLegislative branch: make the laws
oJudicial branch: interprets the laws
Members of executive branch also part of legislative branch
Executive and judicial linked by executive appointing judges
s. 92 – provincial powers
Property and civil rights
Administration of justice
Shop, saloon and other
Health and asylums
s. 91 federal powers
Trade and commerce
Postal service
Military and defence
Census and statistics
Marriage and divorce
Criminal law
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