January 7th 2014
• 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
• 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
• crucial in this respect is party discipline where it is a powerful factor leading to a
• 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