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Lecture 5

Week 5 and 6 Readings

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Political Science
David Pond

POL214 – BB Readings PeterAucoin etAl on Responsible Government Part 3: Checks and Balances • Responsible Government and Checks and Balances o In America, a system of gov’t in which pol power is dispersed rather than concentrated, scattered over many offices rather than concentrated in a few or even one  No one branch or office can dominate the rest o Instability was one of key reasons why CDA’s pol leaders were ready to pursue confederation • The Crown o Executive power of gov’t is extensive  Inc. power to appoint Lieutenant Governors of provs, Senators & federally-appointed judges; command of CDN armed forces, etc o Does the Crown have any discretionary decision-making room not to follow the advice of the gov’t and do something else?  That is how it would serve as a check on the gov’t of the day o Only Crown can stop PM from turning parliamentary resp gov’t into unparliamentary irresponsible gov’t  Only Crown can stop elections from being mere plebiscites o Crown seen as undemocratic by the people b/c it’s not elected  Lack of legitimacy o Resp gov’t needs an independent head of state to keep the gov’t from assaulting constitution w/o interfering in democ politics • Parliamentary Checks on the Executive o ‘that government must maintain the confidence of the elected reps in the HofC’is the basis of the legislature’s check on exec power o Success of this legislative check depends on:  Government and Opposition • Constitutionally based, focused opposition that could watch and control a gov’t that was resp to legislature, remind it of alt POVs in electorate & occasionally aid it • Question Period is the clearest demonstration of the opposition striving to make the gov’t accountable to the House & gov’t striving
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