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POL214Y1 Lecture Notes - Canadian Business, Treasury Board Secretariat, Ontario Health Insurance Plan

Political Science
Course Code
Victoria Wohl

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POL214 Canadian Politics w/1 September 14
What is a constitution? Three pillars of canadian constitution. Differentiate between the big “C”
constitution and the small “c” constitution.
Constitution:Outlines divisions of power between levels of government. A body of fundamental
principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is
acknowledged to be governed. Supreme law of the land in a given territory.
1867; constitution act; British North America Act (BNA Act). 1982; changed to the constitution
Constitution Act 1982; does not replace the BNA act, it adds to it. It says about the constitution:
section 52 of the constitution act the constitution. of canada is the supreme law of canada and
any law that is inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution is to the extent of the
inconsistency that law has no force or effect.
Part of constition; Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In 1982 people became part of the
constitution. Constitutionalized rights; before the only right had that couldn’t be taken away was
free of charge of crime to plead case in english or french.
Violated Section 8; everyone has right to be safe against unreasonable search and seizure.
Anyone whos rights and freedoms are denyed, they can apply to a court for revenue
Constitution establishes and defines political community. Defines what canadian values are.
19th Century, constitution referred to the parliament; held by the parliament. The rights currently
had, were whatever parliament gave you. Is no longer just the structures of governmental
powers, incoroporates feminine rights and freedoms and individuals and groups. Not so much in
the United States. Language groups have certain rights, as do aboriginals in canada.
Both the federal and provincial levels can argue in protecting fisheries there’s an environmental
concern. Every constitution deals with issue of who should rule. Because the constitution
includes charter of rights, doesn’t mean they’re being protected.
In U.S constitution treated like a sacred text.
1988: Malroney: the constitution of canada is not worth the paper its written on. A constitution is
something shared by a society.Documents that link past present and future Essence of a
constitution is not what’s written down. It’s what we think the constitution is; our imagination of
it. Government is whoever governor general allows. Constitutional convention: unwritten
constitution, but it’s understood and obligatory. If government loses the confidence of the
people, they must dissolve.
87% of canadians believe violent crime in canada has gone up in the last 10 years.
Developing countries have higher homicide rates. Toronto has 5mil people, 100 homicides.

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Number one media covered crime is homicide.
Strengths of UCR Data
Standardized reporting practices that permit comparisons over time and place.
Centralized reporting agency
Revised ucr helps us better understand where and ywhen crime takes place
Crime trends analysis can identify emerging problems and contribute to policy development.
Non reporting of crime. Most criminal incidents become known when civilians make a report to
the police. Unfortunately most crimes are not reported.
When institutional reporting practices change, as they did under safe schools act, the rates for
cetrain types of crimes will appear to increase.
Changing legal definitions can make it hard to track trends. Cases screened as unfounded. Ucr
reports often vary with respect to accuracy and completeness.
Only the most serious crime is recorded.
Unofficial crime data:
Victimization surveys
Self report surveys
Combined victimization self report survey
Public opinion surveys ask questions about fear of crime, attitudes, towards the police, courts
and corrections.
POL214 w/2 Tues Sept 21
Possible Questions:
What is the constitution?
3 Constitutional Pillars
Big C vs small c Constitutions
Responsible government 1848
Federalism 1867
Charter of Rights 1982
Pairing: Matching up of a negative and a positive vote to cancel out if one member should not be
present the day of the vote.
In responsible government; whoever was in the government had to maintain the confidence of
the popularly elected legislature.
Federal system for canada, vast country, vast languages. Canadians subject to two parliaments;
federal and provincial. In constitution act,Canadians are asking british to give them a constitution

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similar to the UK (Responsible government)
Parliamentary Supermacy
Bifurcated Parliamentary supremacy
Constitutional Supremacy
At bifurcated parliamentary, divided. One level of government can sue another level. Canada
wanted a constitution similar, but the UK doesn’t have a written constitution. Canada had to spell
out what is the federal and provincial parliaments responsible for?
Eduction covered by provinces.
Charter in 1982l we included not just parliament federal and provincial, we included anyone.
Everyone is referred to in the charter. Move from parliamentary supremacy to bifurcated
parliamentary in 1982, full blown constitutional suprmacy. What this means: parliament can’t
violate other things in constitution. Section 1-34 of the charter of rights and freedoms.
The charter limits parliamentary supremacy; parliament cannot do anything it wants. Doesn’t
eclipse it though. The charter has qualified charter supremacy. Constitutional supremacy does
not mean the federal principle is gone. Powers that provinces have; over property and civil
Difference between big C constitution and c constitution.
Big C constitution: the formal texts of the constitution. They are what is written down. The two
most important documents are the constitution act of 1867(BNA) and of 1982 (Charter). Not
everything is there, read section 52: schedule that’s attached. A list of other things part of
contitution like the ontario boundaries act.
Formal amendments over time. Some are acts of parliament. Alberta act, etc. Things parliament
didn’t pass that are part of constitution. Counsil refers to cabinet. PEI came into confederation in
1873. Negotiated terms of union with the federal cabinet without canada having a vote on it.
Constitution is entrenched. Is supreme court of canada part of constitution? Dispute. The BNA
says federal parliament can create a general court for canada. If they can create it, can’t they get
rid of it now?
To change big C constitution, very hard harder than regular laws.
Small c constitution?
Constitution of canada includes things that are not written. It refers to all the constitutional rules
such as some acts of parliament, some orders and counsel and judicial decisions about the
constitution. Nowhere does it say you can’t discriminate under section 15 on certain grounds.
Another part is the constitutional voncentions, understood rules. If a party wins majority of seats
in house of commons, leader should be called upon to be the prime minister. What’s the purpose
of these conventions?
Supreme court said:
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