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Political Science 1020E Lecture Notes - Senate Of Canada, Pass Laws, Responsible Government

Political Science
Course Code
Political Science 1020E
Charles Jones

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June 18, 2008
The Political Process Cont’d
Representative Assemblies
oTo legislate
Pass laws, sometimes to initiate them
oIn parliamentary systems
To help form a governing executive
oKeep executive in check
“Responsible government”
oTo create alternative executive if one is required
oTo represent constituents
oFor opposition members
To criticize the government
oDebate all issues
o“Lower House”
Based on representation by population
Ex: House of Commons, House of Representatives,
o“Upper House”
Often based on regional representation
Ex: Canadian and American Senate, Bundesrat
Can be appointed by federal government
Canadian Senate
Can be appointed by regional governments
Can be appointed by legislatures
American Senate after 1913

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Canadian Legislative System
Government Bills
oBills usually originate with individual Cabinet Ministers
oIncluding PM
Private-Members’ Bills
oAny Member of Parliament may introduce legislation
oThese type of bills are rarer
Senators may introduce bills
oAlso rare
oNot money bills
Public Bills
oApply to the public as a whole
oMost bills are public bills
Private Bills
oInvolve legal rights for certain individuals and corporations
Mostly dealt with by Senate
Bill Process
First Reading
oIf a bill gets Cabinet Committee approval, and approval of full Cabinet,
bill is announced in the House of Commons
Second Reading
oLeads to debate and vote on principle of bill
If accepted, bill usually goes to a relevant parliamentary committee
which may propose amendments to bill
Third Reading
oFull House votes on original, or, if agreed, an amended bill
A majority vote is needed to accept bill
Royal Assent
oOnce Senate approves bill, Governor-General must give Royal Assent
This is a formality, but Gov-Gen can refuse to sign a bill
oBill is now law and is proclaimed
Majority governments, because of strict party discipline, can easily get a bill
through these stages
Bill then goes to Senate for a repeat of process
Senate usually goes along with the House of Commons
oStill has the right to defeat a bill
Bill is then dead
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