Monday, October 22, 2012
Lecture # 4 – Governance
SOSC 1200 – Canadian Problems
Parliamentary (Cabinet) Government:
1.) The Westminster Model, Responsible Government & Parliamentary Sovereignty:
1. The Constitution Act of 1982
2. Westminster model: A model of government that puts emphasis on executive leadership
3. The legislative branch does not legislate in regards to making laws, nor does it govern. It
supports the present government.
4. It is the job of the House of Commons to hold these people accountable.
5. Responsible Government (Three conventions):
a. The political executive holds power at the pleasure of the legislative branch it must
maintain the confidence of them.
b. We have a doctrine of collective ministerial responsibilities (cabinet sovereignty). The
prime minister and the cabinet are responsible for what the government does and must
c. The doctrine of individual ministerial responsibility.
6. Page 107, 5 conventions of a responsible.
7. Parliamentary Sovereignty (Parliamentary supremacy): Parliament is accountable for itself,
not the people. There is no higher law in all of the land. Parliament has a fundamental right
to make any law what so ever.
o The Constitution act of 1982
o International trade agreements
o Any number of reform proposals that have been suggested to our political system.
2.) Legislative Branch I: House of Commons:
a. Structure and Functions
i. The lower house, the elected house. Based on population.
ii. Divided by an aisle. On one side the government (on the right), the other side
the opposition (on the left). Are directly facing each other.
iii. The governmental side seeks approval for there initiatives. The opposition
criticizes the government.
iv. The Prime Minister sits in the first row followed by the government back
v. The leader of the “shadow cabinet” and the shadow cabinet backbenchers sit
opposite. vi. The speaker is a non-partisan referee, maintains stability. Only votes in the case
of the tie. You must be recognized by the speaker in order to speak. Has the
power to name and remove.
I. Legitimation: To make democracy “real”.
II. Representation: To stand for the people.
III. Surveillance: To oversee what the government is doing.
b. Legislation and Committees
Types of bills:
i. Private members bill: Proposed by private members of legislation, does not
have the backing of the crown. Almost never becomes law.
ii. Government Bill: Involves those that spend public money, and those that do
not. If it does spend public money, it can only be introduced in the house of
iii. Private bills:
Eight steps for how bills become law:
1. First reading: The bill is introduced. It cannot be rejected at this point. It
can still be amended.
2. Second Reading: Involves initial debate on the proposed legislation. The
bill cannot be amended. The vote is in regards to it’s approval.
3. Committee Stage: Bill is scrutinized and debated. Experts are called to
give their opinion.
4. Report Stage: Committee report is given back to the house of commons.
The House of Commons can either reject or accept the
recommendations. Bill can be amended on these recommendations.
5. Third Reading: Bill is voted on again, it is then (if it is passed) sent to the
Senate for reading (or house of commons conversely).
6. Royal Assent:
The Committee System:
1. “Committee of the Whole”:
2. Standing Committees: