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POL214Y1 Lecture Notes - Brian Mulroney, Gm High Value Engine, Visible Minority

Political Science
Course Code
Victoria Wohl

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Canadian Politics - Week 3: September 28th, 2010
Prospects for Constitutional Amendment
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- Unlikely to change the Constitution formally as the values of Canadians have changed, many
people post 1982 feel they are part of the Constitution, Canadians feel they should have a say in
- Possible convention developing: if you want to change the Constitution, you should hold a
o E.g. 1992 Charlottetown Accord, 1987 Meech Lake Accord
Before that, changes were made in a meeting with the premiers and the prime
minister behind closed doors
x Interest groups who could identify with the Constitution did not feel
represented (e.g. Francophones, Aboriginals...)
- DZ>l]µ]v[PZ}µPZoooP]oµÁ]Z]vZÇ
o Premiers decided they had to bring in the public, hold hearings
Three provinces - BC, Alberta, Quebec - said they had to have referendum
before changing Constitution
x Had national referendum
o Charlottetown rejected in 8 out of 10 provinces
for them
English Canada thought there was too much in it for
x Bloc Quebecois born from ashes of Meech Lake,
Reform Party born, both against Meech Lake
x Demise of Meech Lake one of the reasons why
conservative party fell apart
- After referendum of 1995 in Quebec on vote to secede
- Wo]uv}(vÇÁ}v[À}}v}v]µ]}vouvuvµvoZve support of
Quebec, Ontario, BC, two provinces of Atlantic Canada that make up 50%, two provinces of
Prairies that make up 50%
o Some will argue moving towards referenda as convention for constitutional change
o In English Canada, great pride in the Charter, holds out idea of egalitarian principle
o In Quebec, hold collectivist view of two distinct linguistic communities and equality
between them rather than individuals
Historic nationalism in Quebec constitutional culture
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Formal Organization of Canadian Government
Please refer to Fig 8.1, pg. 231, Brooks
Legislature t those that make the law, House of Commons and the Senate
Executive t those that execute and make the law, Monarch, Governor General, PM Cabinet, Bureaucracy
(Depts, ABCs (agencies, boards, commissions), Crown Corps)
- Executives appoint members of bureaucracy
Judiciary t enforces the laws, Supreme Court, other federal courts
State vs. Governor
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- Head of state is the Queen, rep is Governor General
- Head of government is Stephen Harper and the cabinet
o '}ÀvuvÁ]ZZ]P'[
- Z^uooP[]voµ,}µ}(}uu}vv
- Prime Minister and cabinet act in the right of the queen
- A government is more personal than the state
o Usually associate it with a party
o Governments come and go, the state does not
State has legitimacy that transcends government
Governor General
- Cabinet does not get authority from House of Commons, get their authority from the crown, the
Governor General
o Responsible to the legislature, subordinate to the legislature
- Crown has certain reserve powers, prerogative powers
o Crown may refuse the advice of her first minister or the cabinet
Hasv[Zv]víõîòU<]vP-Byng Affair
Could have happened in December of 2008, refuse request to prorogue
x Should have? Stephen Harper could have used as fuel during next
election saying appointed governor rejected motion of elected
government - as had happened in 1926 with Liberals, Mackenzie King.
Should they use that power, they better make sure that they have someone else
who can have the confidence of the House of Commons
- Job is to find someone who can command confidence of the majority of the members in the
House of Commons
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