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POLSCI 1G06 Study Guide - Final Guide: Parliamentary Sovereignty, Senate Of Canada, Official Language

Political Science
Course Code
Todd Alway
Study Guide

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Political Science 1G06 2016 Semester II Exam:
Questions 1,2,3,5,6,7 will be on the Exam:)
Critically answer three of the following six questions. You must answer at
least one question from each section (i.e. at least one question from section A
and at least one question from section B – but three questions in total). Your
answers should demonstrate a thorough knowledge of both the lectures and
the required readings.
demonstrate an explicit awareness of the academic debates that we discussed in
You are also advised to draw upon the required readings (PARTICULARLY
THE ACADEMIC JOURNAL ARTICLES) in your answers, where relevant.
The overheads posted on Avenue can provide a good start for your exam
preparation - but they MUST be supplemented if your goal is to do well.
Section A
You must answer at least one question from this section.
1. The 2020 Canadian Federal election was a hard-fought contest: The
ballots were counted and no one party won a majority of seats in the
House of Commons. Nevertheless, the Occupy Party won more seats
than any other party, and the Leader of that Party has been asked to
form government. As Leader of the Occupy Party (and now Prime
Minister), you have set an ambitious policy agenda for the next session
of Parliament. What institutional obstacles to that policy agenda might
you face? In answering this question, be certain to discuss the system of
checks and balances in the Canadian political system – i.e. the
relationship between the Prime Minister, the House of Commons, the
Senate, and the Judiciary. Are these checks an adequate way of
managing political power in modern democratic Canada?
2. Thanks to a well-run campaign, the Parti Québécois decisively won the
2018 Quebec provincial election. It is now 2019 and you have been
asked by the Party to write a referendum question that will
satisfactorily address the Party’s vision for Quebec’s future. How will
you word that question and why? What objections do you anticipate
from Federalist forces? In answering this question, be certain to reflect
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upon the issues surrounding previous referenda in Quebec – and in
particular the debates surrounding and following the 1995 referendum.
3. In a January 2006 debate between the leaders of Canada’s major
political parties, the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Paul Martin,
declared that if elected he would eliminate Ottawa’s ability to invoke
Section 33 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In Martin’s words,
Section 33 is “a hammer that can only be used to pound away at the
Charter and claw back any one of a number of individual rights.”
Stephen Harper, for his part, rejected Martin’s suggestion, arguing
instead that “our Charter and our Constitution sets up…a balance
between Parliamentary supremacy and the supremacy of the Courts,
and that’s the balance I support.”
In what ways does the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
attempt to balance between Parliamentary supremacy and the
supremacy of the Courts? Does the Charter give too much power to
either institution?
Canada has a constitutional system of government meaning its political
system is framed by a set of basic rules and norms
Collectively referred to as the ‘Constitution’
Judicial branch of government plays an important role in the operation of
this system
Tasked with interpreting the Constitution and settling constitutional
conflicts between different political actors
This is referred to as the power of judicial review
Judiciary has the power to review the government's actions and decide
whether or not it is acting within the rules and norms laid out in the
If they believe a rule has been broken,they can force the government
to change its actions
Due to the constitution, the charter would become the supreme law in
canada’s political and legal system
All other laws and government actions would have to be in
accordance with these new constitutional rights and freedoms
This gives judiciary the power to interpret the meaning of these rights
and freedoms along with reviewing the actions of elected legislatures
to ensure the charter is being respected
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