POL111H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: President Of The European Parliament, Anglo-Irish Treaty, The Unwritten

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20 Jul 2016
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Course
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Lecture 6
Consists of 15 multiple choice questions
Example) The version of representative democracy that developed in Western societies is often
described as: Liberal Democracy
Example) Democracy is closely associated with the ideal of: Equality
The second part: One short answer, worth 25% of your total mark.
Examples
-In what way is it accurate for us to say that Canada belongs to the same family of countries
including the US, Britain, Australia and New Zealand?
-Why is the written text of the BNA Act a bad guide to understanding how our political system
actually works?
-Why did Canada have to get Britain’s permission in 1982 before we could become an
independent and sovereign state?
WHAT TO STUDY
Liberal Democracy
-Difference between big L and little l and big C and little c, don’t get them mixed up
-Liberal democracy combines ideology of liberalism with indirect, representative democracy
-Basic values of liberal democracy
-The 8 main features of
Political Culture
-What is the function of political culture?
-A society’s political culture sets the outer boundaries for what is and isn’t acceptable political
behaviour: what is normal and what is not
-Why do Canadians discuss their political culture by referencing the US?
-What is a characteristic streak to the Canadian political culture, that distinguishes Canada from
the US? Examples?
Parliamentary Democracy + Federalism
-That Canadian political system combines British-style parliamentary government with US style
federalism
-The liberal principle of rep by pop favours central Canada. Ontario and Quebec have
dominated Canadian politics.
Constitutions
-Written + Unwritten Constitutions, Canada has a mix between both
-Continuity, not revolution, compared to US, no need to write everything down
-Patriation in 1982
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Written Constitution & Amendments
-The concept of an amending formula
-The liberal principle of the rule of law and amending the constitution
-Canada’s problem: The BNA Act was a law passed by the British Parliament
-The saga of patriation
Responsible Government
-The unwritten constitution includes conventions of responsible government
-The confidence convention: the role of the House of Commons in deciding who gets to be PM
& form the government
-How do the conventions work? Majority and Minority governments?
The Head of State under the Conventions of Responsible Government
-The role of the head of state under the written conventions
-There must always be a party in office that has the confidence of the House of Commons
-The head of state must choose as PM the party leader that has the confidence of the lower
house, the House of Commons
- The PM “Advises” the head of state when to dissolve parliament for an election
-If the government party loses the confidence of the house, it must resign or the PM calls an
election
-The head of state must sign all laws passed by the parliament
The Constitution under the Parliamentary System
-Separation of head od state from head of government
-The head of state is non-partisan
-The head of government is the PM, who is partisan
-BUT the head of state does not have to be a hereditary monarch
How the Unwritten Constitution Works
Under the conventions of responsible government, the GG follows the advice of the PM and
does not play an active part in the system of government
-This is as it should b e since this is a non-elected position.
Majority Government
-In 30 of the 41 elections held since Confederation, a party has been returned with a majority of
seats in the House of Commons
-In these cases, it is obvious which party leader commands the confidence of the House of
commons, and consequently, the GG plays no independent role in selecting a PM.
-The PM’s party controls a majority of seats in the House of Commons. Meaning, the PM knows
he will win confidence votes.
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