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Lecture 10

POL214-Lecture 10.docx

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Department
Political Science
Course
POL214Y5
Professor
Erin Tolley
Semester
Winter

Description
Lecture 10: House of Commons  House of Commons • Parliament = House + Senate + Queen • House of commons is comprised of: o Prime minister and cabinet  (The executive or “government”) o Government backbenchers  Members of governing party o Opposition  Members of other parties Who sits in the House of Commons? • Members of parliament (or MP’s) • Elected by voters from one of the country’s 308 electoral districts (sometimes  called ‘ridings’) • The candidate who gets the most votes in the riding becomes the member of  parliament and goes to sit in the House of Commons Functions and Powers of House of Commons • Pass legislations o ‘Mobilization of consent’ o By debating and discussing legislation it helps to highlight advantages and  disadvantages of the bill which helps the public prepare for forthcoming  change o Ex. Long gun registry • Representation o Since members of parliament are elected to represent us o They speak in the views of the voters who elected them and provide that  representation • Provide executive with authority, funds and resources need to govern • Hold the executive accountable (the principle of responsible government) o Critic/watch dog  Informal way of holding the government to account o Responsible government  They need to be held accountable and hold the confidence of the  house of commons if not the government doesn’t have legitimacy  to be held in the house of commons  Passing a motion of non­confidence: if this happens toe  government is expected to resign • Provide and alternative government o The opposition puts its self forward as a potential government just in case  the present one is defeated Party Discipline • Party discipline: the convention that all MP’s within any party vote together on  every occasion • Government MPs (“backbenchers”) o Vote with government  Offered better office space, allowed to ask more questions, sent by  party to appear on television shows, dangled opportunity for a  cabinet position  Punishment is crappy offices, wouldn’t be given the opportunity to  speak often in HOC, not given committee assignment and travel  assignments, the party whip could even remove them from the  party • Opposition MPs o Vote against government • Party discipline is typically stronger on government side o More incentives to use it, plus more perks available to enforce it Free Votes • MP’s are allowed to vote as they wish • Party discipline not enforced • Rare • Typically on matters of conscience (e.g., same­sex marriage
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