NO110- Political Systems
October 3 , 2012
The Three Amigos
-The Prime Ministers, the Presidents of USA and Mexico
-do these meetings accomplish much for Canada? Would it be more beneficial to meet with each personal
individually (only 2 people per meeting)?
Change Coming (Mexico)
-President elect Enrique Pena Nieto (PRI) takes office in December 2012
-controversial election of new president
Structure of Government
Executive: steers the country and implements laws made by the legislative body
Legislature: makes laws for the country
Judiciary: adjudicates the meaning of the laws by resolving disputes between individuals or between
difference levels of government
Division of Powers in the US
Philosophy of the separation of powers is found in the presidential model.
Executive and legislative are different, they have a separate origin and survival
Legislative: Congress (House of Representatives and the Senate)
Federalism trend towards centralization of power, residual power may lie with the States, but the
courts have tended to enhance federal power.
-the president and senate are elected on different terms (meaning they are in place for different time periods
making it difficult to accomplish their goals)
-designed not to work (the different terms cause the constant alternating of people)
-each country (Mexico, Canada and USA) have different ideas of federalism
-if the power is not determined (no president) who has power?
-power resides with the judicial government (the states) not the federal
*Obamacare- supreme court sat for 4 days to decide
-determined 50/50 decision (for/ against)
-becomes a states vs federal issue (where would the taxation be?)
-healthcare in Canada has the same problem, where does the power lie?
Division of Powers in Canada Fusion of powers: unification of executive and legislative
Everyone in the Cabinet is also a Member of Parliament
Canadian federalism: the balance of power rests with the federal government (original constitution
devised in the wake of the American Civil War; the case was made for the need for strong federal
But there is a movement towards decentralization (more powers for the provinces)
-executive and legislative governments are combined
-making and running the laws are the same people
-wanted to avoid the Civil War (1867 in USA), wanted a strong government
-even though there is power in the federal governments it is moving towards the provinces
Division of Powers in Mexico
Also division of powers between legislative and executive branches of government.
Mexican federal system highly centralized (states have little control of funds).
Recent changes under Salinas, Zedillo and Fox: revenue sharing, also regional forces have attacked
centralization; the Chiapas Rebellion is an example.
-they had the Revolutionary Party for a long time (stable time period)
-the individual states have no money, they need to befriend Mexico City (Canadian provinces are extremely
powerful compared to Mexican once)
-if Mexico City doesnt fund your state you cant do anything
Parliamentary and Presidential Systems
Two basic types of executive-legislative relations exist in democracies
Parliamentary system: fused
Presidential system: separation of powers
-British System (Canada)
-we look over (watch) the USA elections/ Presidential System but are not involved
Governor general (head of state)
When does the government fall? (In principle, whenever it is not able to maintain its majority; in
reality the government is required to win all significant votes that take place in the House in order to
remain in power)
-responsible to areas/ ridings
-governor general (head of states) USA only has President
-allows patriotism in Canada without Prime Minister-USA looks at how things are going (within the country) based upon whos in power (their party
leading or not)
-they rally around the flag and the President
-governor general allows us to think about Canada without directly commenting on the Prime
Minister (no emotional effects
-Prime Minister chosen based upon voting for party and someone within the party is chosen, not directly
voting based on feelings for one person (USA does)
-vote for non-confidence
-budgeting issues cause third party voting
-senate isnt really there to stop laws from being passed
The prime minister is in charge of the governments overall policy thrust and is the leader of the party
that initially won the election.
The cabinet acts as a collegial body. Members come to a decision in private and then act in a unified
fashion when facing the opposition in the House and in public.
This practice of maintaining cabinet solidarity is called collective ministerial responsibility; it allows
ministers to be frank