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Lecture 13

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Political Science
Rodney Haddow

POL224 January 7th 2014 LEGISLATURES • when we think about legislates in Canada, we think about parliament • we know that legislatures in canada and western affluent democracies are elected by citizens so we see them as essential to the democratic process • in the US congress is also legislature and is also elected, defining the democratic system • what is the functional role of these democratic chambers: • 1. strong role: make law and statutes.. creates new law in the forms of statute • if they truly play a strong role, they would be the conceivers of these legislatures • 2. weaker role: represent voters, deliberate on policy and audit executive • by performing a weaker role, the legislature is still doing something important, such as the tasks mentioned above • play other roles of challenging and auditing the government • question 1: has strong role been lost, also endangering weaker ones? • answer varies across countries. • although not true the american congress fulfills a strong role, nevertheless they do still have an import an role • in canadian parliamentary systems, we fall well short of this. big debate here is about the extent to which we fall short of a strong definition and the normative consequences of that, is it good, bad or necessary etc. • Amie Kreppel: power depends on... • 1. fused or SoP executive leg relation • 2. party discipline • she argues that there will be a weaker legislature with a fusion between the two in the legislative system • crucial in this respect is party discipline where it is a powerful factor leading to a weakened legislature • SoP + weak discipline = strong legislature • fused + much discipline= weak leg • USA + UK/CANADA • So how strong should a legislature be? we need a strong legislature to legitimize the whole democratic system. another way of looking at it is that the prime minister and cabinet have an indirect reflective mandate • a trade-off between efficiency (parliament) and inclusiveness (congress) • canada is better in the efficiency of its government (we elect a government that has the ability ti pass whatever legislative agenda it
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