Class Notes (806,450)
Canada (492,253)
POL224Y1 (74)
Lecture 7

POL224 Lecture 7 October 22nd .rtf

5 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Rodney Haddow

POL224 October 22nd 2013 Constitutions What are they? • generality, structure of the state • what are the state institutions: • what are their relations, where is the power: • the main elements defining the constitution is found in a written document,m governed by Separation of Powers (S.P) -USA • the spirit that emanates that document is that of the separation of powers, antagonizing against each other • or also by unwritten conventions, led by parliamentary sovereignty (P.S)- UK • based on conventions. Doesn't mean there aren't documents written down that form part of the british constitution, it means there isn't one document that has that role, there are various that interpret it. instead, there is a political tradition that has evolved over many centuries • the question might arise of what the right convention is, but it is usually unambiguous • parliament shall trump all other constitutions, wields the ultimate power authority in Britain/Canada • Canada will be a complex constitution as it is a mix of the two. Legislatures and Executives • Legislature makes law (statutes) new law in modern states • statute is the way a new law is formally created • the legislature is charged with the responsibility of making the statures • Executive executes laws, forms government, sponsors most statutes. • the cabinet in Canada oversees the bureaucracy to make sure that the statute is implemented • exécutives don't just do the bidding of the legislatures, has substantial influence over the legislature as well • the executive informs the government crucially • executives initiate the statute United Kingdom • What are the institutions? • parliament is the legislature (house of commons/ house of lords) these are the two chambers • two chambers as opposed to one, these systems have their origins in early modern social class structures, house of lords was the house sat in by aristocrats, and house of commons by everyone else • both bodies very important, had a real bicameral system, balance of power within the legislature between the two • cabinet: political executive; crown (formal executive) • the formal executive is the queen of the UK, the crown embodies the state in some sort of formal symbolic way and does not now exercise any power. The queen reigns but does not rule, as she does not have any political power but embodies the concept of the british state in some symbolic way • where is the power? parliamentary sovereignty is first convention. legislature trumps executive. • relationship between the two is that legislature must dominant. then you add democracy, now commons dominates lords in legislatures • almost 'unicameral' commons runs everything because it is elected and it is an evolutionary transformation • ps, also means executive is dominated by the part that is closest to the commons • parliamentary sovereignty gave legislature power over the executive, commons has power over the lords, crown loses its authority definitively to the cabinet because it isnt democratically elected, democracy has become a powerful norm and you cannot have someone who inherits political position so naturally the crown loses authority over the cabinet • cabinet dominates the crown • yields fusion of cabinet to commons • most ministers by convention, sit in commons • also possible to appoint somebody to the cabinet who has not yet been elected to the house of commons, any citizen could be in the cabinet • governments resign when they lose a vote of confidence • responsible government and confidence conventions results, which meant the government governs at the pleasure of the house of commons and the government is responsible to the house of commons. if confidence in the house is lost it must resign • parties became increasingly disciplined through the 18th century, firmly established in britain and canada • elections are contested between political parties, individual candidates run through the house of commons for an individual seat, must get nominated by a party in order to have a chance to have a seat in the house • if you want to keep the seat and get the parties endorsement next time around and move up, and MP including one on the government side with no executive responsibilities, you must obey the party line, must be trusted and respect government policies never violating any constitutional conventions • cabinet effectively controls the government party caucus which is all the individual MP's who are members of that party (conservative, liberals) • all the MP's form a party caucus, • the cabinet and the prime minister decide whether someone will be renominated, move up or stay in the backseat • this reverses the relationship of supremacy! • supremacy still exists in the British political system, one power holder which prevails above everyone else • In a majority government, all members within the party caucus will vote for the member that aligns with the governments position on issues, are advised in advance of the consequences they will have if they do or do not vote for a certain member • parliamentary sovereignty yields to executive dominance, does this create a friendly elective dictatorship? • parliamentary sovereignty is a const. convention, party dis
More Less

Related notes for POL224Y1

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.