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Political Studies
POLS 211
James Farney

Competing and Principles in Canadian Politics January 13, 2010 - Institutions – a response to crisis ie. IMF - Institutions created in accordance to the practices of the day; power dynamics within institutions ie. Student government, universities - Democracy, liberalism – judicial protection of individual rights, capitalism  trade-offs - Relationship between politics and economy - Financial services replaced non-financial services in Canada, extractive economy (oil) – economic trade-offs ie. Between extractive and manufacturing sectors - Nationalism – Quebec a nation, Canada – a nation? - Federalism - Equality – of something: status, opportunity, individual, etc. Democracy - Representation by population – problem pre-Confederation for French Canada, which had a smaller population than Ontario at the time; result was Federalism - Responsible government - Popular sovereignty – Ideal grafted into what is officially a monarchy in Canada; what is the popular will? Do people recognize when they are/aren’t part of popular opinion? - Divided government – differences across provinces in terms of policy and popular opinion - Which majority Liberalism - Individual rights – Canadians trust judges more than politicians; Americans trust neither Capitalism - Often forget the importance of economy in politics o Parties in Canada not class-based (Converse to Europe) - Different regional industries o ie. Employment opportunities not equal across Ontario; population grows in places with jobs available - Question in much of public policy Nationalism - “we’re not Americans” - How many “nations” are we in Canada? - Bilingual/multicultural - What is the best way to accommodate cultural diversity? What are the liberal bounds around it? Or national bounds? Federalism - A major way to accommodate cultural diversity through federalism - Principle of local autonomy - But also of some regional equality Equality - Most basic, equality of opportunity, ie. Equality before the law - But also a sense of equality of outcome, ie. welfare state Historical Development - Dawson (1945) Canada is Democratic (representative/responsible), federal, rule of law, independent judiciary, commonwealth - Bourinot (1895) Monarchy, responsible, representative, federal - How democracy has changed from these things. Canadian Political Development Jan 18 When did Canadian self-government start? - BNA - 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Constitution Act – severs final substantive link with GB - 1931 Statute of Westminster – Canada gains ability to control its own foreign policy - 1949 Newfoundland - 1965 Canadian flag - Towards representative government o 1763 – Royal Proclamation – appointed government of Quebec o 1774 – Quebec Act appointed Council (to assist the Governor – appeasement to keep French-speaking colonized from rebelling), religious freedom (opened opportunities to Catholics which were previously not available – Catholics could now take part in public life)  Beginning of the recognition of Quebec as a distinct society o 1758 Nova Scotia, 1773 PEI Elected assemblies o 1791 Constitutional Act – Upper and Lower Canada representative government - Representative Government o Elected assemblies o And more? - 1837 – MacKenzie-Papineau Rebellion - 1839 Durham Report led to responsible government but also to union of Upper and Lower Canada o Report made 2 recommendations: 1. Head of government be responsible to the elected legislatures of the colonies, 2. Fusion of Upper and Lower Canada in order to assimilate the Quebecois - Unification of Upper and Lower Canada o Equal # of seats o Dbl. majorities o Dual premiers o Loose parties: Liberal-Conservative v. Grit-Rouge connection o Meant GG played and important role o Not a stable arrangement; debate over the capital of Canada, party conflict - Tory beliefs o Class-ordered society o Loyal to crown o Patronage linking religious, political, and economic leaders o Fearful of democracy; comfortable with a fairly independent government o Bishop Straughan - Reformers o Far more democratic, bus still worried about mob rule o Free-market capitalists (ie. George Brown) o Often protestant, sometimes tied to Orange Lodge in ON (problems with Quebec) – anti Catholic o Rep by pop (ie. Legislative Union) - Provincial Views o Province of Canada o Old Upper Canada wanted rep by pop, development, way out of dbl majority deadlock o Old Lower Canada wanted protection for distinctiveness, way out of deadlock o NB/PEI/NS financial problems, British pressure, protect distinctiveness/local power o Brits lower financial/defense commitments, political stability  Empire becoming expensive for Britain - Confederation Negotiations o Bipartisan – representatives from both big parties present o Officially only about Maritime Union o Charlottetown elite – deal brokered before any elections fought on it o Debate afterwards o 1865 NB election against …? - 1867 Confederation o Union of BNA colonies o Still within empire (foreign/defence/culture) o Federalism – textbook and US  Form of highly centralized federalism – aimed a maintaining some distinctiveness for provinces that wanted it o Comes at end of era when UK was trying to reduce the “burden” of empire o 1867 Created:  Union of ON/Que/NB/NS – about 3.5 million people  Commercial center is Montreal  Transcontinental ambitions  Interventionist state in some areas, very laissez faire in most others o Outcomes of 1867  Centralized federalism  Responsible government with very strong PM  Regional cabinet  Government role in economic development: railway, patronage, tariffs  Very much, even in QC, part of British Empire – imperial connection, kind of absence of nationalism  Fusion of federalism with parliamentary supremacy - Moving Canada out of empire o 1896-1911 – immigration, eastern, southern Europe, British Isles, opening of the Prairies o WW1 o 1831 – Statute of Westminster – Independence in foreign affairs o 1949 Supreme Court o 1965 Flag debate o 1967 Anthem o 1982 Constitution January 20 th - 1867 o Federalism (with parliamentary supremacy) o Fused legislature and executive o BNA/Treaties between the Crown and Aboriginal people o Political parties o Regionalism – resulting in federalism o Economic issues shaping politics – ie. Free trade with US? o Atlantic Canada – resource bust as wooden ships decline – effect on forestry - 1945-55 o WW2, Cold War o Post war/cold war economics/polarization o Baby boom – increased population o Urbanization o Shift away from agriculture to manufacturing o Comparative advantage changed as Europe was decimated by war o Growth of the welfare state, due to money flowing in from post war boom – growth of provincial government, bureaucracy growth, growth of the state in general o “mouse that sleeps with the elephant” allied neighbour of US superpower o integration with the American economy through the 50s and 60s o Franchise – expansion of the vote to almost everyone, except prisoners (aboriginals in 1960) o Increased independence from Great Britain o Industrialization o Welfare state – family allowance, public housing, medicare (1960s) - 1980s o Charter and Constitution o Non-European immigration o NAFTA (liberalization, globalization) o Rise of separatism o Recession – post high interest and inflation rates – end of Keynesianism o Neoliberalism, unobtrusive government, minimization of the welfare state (differences in how programs are delivered, who is targeted, program goals, rather than the size of the welfare state itself) o Balanced budgets ie. New Labour, Clinton – a change in mindset, neoliberalism no longer a conservative, right-wing idea o Government seen as less autonomous – more constrained today than in our grandparents’ generation - Today o Constrained by federal-provincial jurisdiction o By international agreements, ie. WTO, NAFTA, etc. o By the need to keep the private sector competitive ie. not raising corporate taxes - Is today a moment of crisis in Canadian politics? o 1. Minority government? o 2. Welfare state sustainability? – What happens when the baby boomers retire? What happens when the Canada Health Act comes up for renegotiation in 2014? o 3. Environment? – taken a back seat to recession o 4. Multiculturalism? – too much of it? Is there such a thing? o Such things may suggests shifts and challenges to institutions o Increasing political apathy amongst youth – urban populations are younger than rural populations Jan 25 - legitimacy (formal structure) and practice – how do they align? - Composition of parliament o Technically senate, H of C, Cabinet, Crown o Usual use is of HC o Broken, or central? Parliamentary democracy in Canada  Or is how we understand it broken? - Parliament o HC 308 MPs, 105 Senators, and Crown o Fused executive and legislature in Westminster system o Very different from checks and balances from US Presidential sytem  As each branch pursues its own interests, they balance each other off – judiciary, legislature, executive – independent  Touch to get legislation moving  Vs. in Canada, legislation in the hands of the PM  Therefore a system that is deliberately designed to “go places” – pass legislation more quickly than in the US o Situate in broader system o Problems MPs face – visibility – because Canada has some of the most disciplined political parties in the world – the system gives the PM control o Parties take the place of MPs in national news/media o Focus on the leaders of the parties – personalization o People generally like their own MP – comes as a result of good public relations skills of MPs – good relationships with constituents, who have complaints, who have direct contact with the MP, etc. - What do we expect of MPs? o Trustee (Edmund Burke) vs. constituency models, Delegate/party, delegate/Mirror o Lawmake/Activist (dangerous mentality as an MP – some room for particular MPs to have particular causes, but still must tow the party line, and cannot spent that much time pushing particular policies)/Constituency/Ombudsmen (overseeing)  Therefore we don’t have in Canada very much lobbying, because MPs really can’t be trusted to push things forward in parliament o Balance between government and opposition – we have a very adversarial system, where some people would prefer a more consultative system – however that is not how our government and judicial systems are – they are adversarial (ie. two and a half sword lengths is the width of the aisle in government – HC) o Brooks - scrutiny, representation, debate, legitimization o Docherty – importance of constituency service - MPs o Educated, upper class, 23% (65) visible minority o Comparatively short time in office o Little prior political experience (about 80% have served less than 7 years)  Therefore we don’t have a professional political class o Older average age than average Canadian – time consuming, can’t have a lot of other things going on o Majority male - Party Discipline o Consensus – mostly the result of people agreeing with each other – marginal cases where an MP does not agree, or wants to stand with his/her constituency – it is the marginal things that people pay attention to, painting a bad picture of politicsin Canada and the concept of party discipline o Patronage – appointments after retirement from politics, promotions, ie to cabinet minister, etc.  Possible solution – make HC bigger, so there is less chance of individuals getting promoted, therefore less desire to tow the line o Perks? o Accountability? – public good o Free votes; Martin shifted towards, Harper has a greater discipline over the party o Caucus-Whip BILLS - 3 stages of reading o 1 – introduction o 2 – debate on principle o committee state examined in detail o report stage o 3 final reading o ON MODDLE - Private members bills – rarely passed, usually on contentious issues - Private bills – ie. internal working of crown corps - Public bills (usually government) Jan 27 Recap: - 1. parliament as an institution o of own accord o in relation to others - 2. parliament as a collection of MPs - 3. arena of party politics - 4. notion of responsible government (Smith) o ind’l votes are worth different things depending on where people live; ie. smaller riding, vote “matters” more? - junior policy analyst jobs in Nunavut? Procedure/Speaker - speakers now selected through secret ballot (used to be a party vote, as ballot was not secret. Speaker now more of a representative of parliament as a whole) - currently peter Milliken - abilities of speaker crucial to insuring fair debate. Discussion directed at decision. - Rules very important: ie. 30 minute division rule (bells ring to call parties together?) - Closure. Cut off debate. S. O. 78 more consensual way (standing out??) - Prorogue – ends session (bills die after session ends – this is why most private member bills don’t go through) – prorogue is usually about once a year - Dissolution leads to election December 2008 Crisis - parliament prorogued in face of non-confidence motion by opposition - constitutional question of whether GG should have granted Harper’s request pr forced him to face House of Commons – unclear what she should have answered o argument that she should have, because she only has ears for the PM o however she also needs to ensure the government/PM has the support of the house – therefore she should have denied Committees - increasingly important - standing – sit over a policy area/department ie. education, agriculture, transport vs. special – struck by government in a particular, specific area - standing committees usually 12 members – chairs voted on by secret ballot, usually government - 1986 reforms: longer time on for MPs, smaller membership – meaning each person has more incentive to get things done, become an expert, invest time - representation from experts/lobbyists Senate Origins - sober second thought - regional representation (24+24+24+6+3) - veto over all legislation, but cannot introduce money bills or do more than stall constitutional amendments Current Role - sober second thought rarely - regional representation, not. ? - technical revision - consideration of private bills - social investigation/regulation - abolish senate or triple E – equal, effective, elected o but why give equal rep. to provinces with much larger pop. than others? o why should HC be more important chamber if it’s equal/elected to Senate/HC o Australia has managed a confidence chamber in HC at the same time as an elected senate Other Reforms (Docherty) - problem of losing relevance – the HC as a body as a whole seems to me. Actually whole political system seems to be losing relevance. MPs losing relevance. ie. lobbyists no longer look to MPs – because of party discipline, loss in relevance… - better access to ministers for better oversight - smaller cabinet/bigger leg. o Smaller leg. Means proportionally bigger cabinet, and easier to discipline MPs. o British MPs – more in numbers – some MPs know they will never get to Cabinet, so they don’t follow discipline as closely; they sometimes become experts in a certain field they care about - Elected chairs and speakers - 3 line whip/different confidence norms o one line whip – if you don’t vote with us, we understand, not considering it a confidence motion o 2 line whip – if you have a really good reason, we won’t hold it too much against you o 3 line whip – vote for us or be kicked out of the party (most Canadian parties work on a 3 line whip?) FEB 1 - Prime Minister and Cabinet - Consider the institution of the prime minister’s office itself – beyond the partisan sense - Presidentialization of the prime minister’s office – PM has more power; but on the world stage nobody really cares what Harper says over Obama - Convention – set of conventions about who gets to advise the monarch and what power the crown has - crown - prime ministerial powers - constraints on prime minister - cabinet - executive-legislative linkages General Characteristics of PM’s environment - fused legislature and executive – Cabinet are MPs first, and members of executive second o ie. in America secretaries are not congressmen; Canadian cabinet ministers don’t know about their respective disciplines; they are not selected based on expertise, rather on political aspirations – ie. representation of different regions, women, religious and ethnic diversity - constitutional monarchy - executives broadly similar at federal and provincial levels - parliamentary system with constitutional supremacy (post 1982) Convention - central to Canadian government – kind of analogous to common law - in keeping with British practice - contrast with American – “spelled everything out” o convention is messier, more organic, just commonly accepted practices, not exactly clear who enforces the rules - “informal rules and customary usage” – often not subject to judicial review Crown - Represents entire state and people - Personified in a monarch who “reigns but does not rule” - what does this mean in practice? - Very extensive formal power but by convention now only ceremonial + emergency, even in UK Governor general - Queen’s rep in Canada - Extremely extensive formal powers - Originally both UK and monarch’s rep - Lt. gov. is the provincial equivalent, appointed centrally by GG on advice of the PM. Originally federal and monarch rep in provincial - Both appointments are a 5 year term Prime Minister - not mentioned in 1867 - being head of “privy council” source of all power - controls Crown by being ordinarily only person able to advise GG (foreign policy, appointment, pardons) - control parliament through party (bills, government, expenditure) - controls civil service through cabinet/central agencies - PM’s Powers o Cabinet maker o Chair of cabinet meetings – structure debate, “note taker” – therefore in a sense the PM decides what the cabinet has decided? o Party leader o Chief policy maker o Power in HOC o Chief of personnel o Controls government organization o Advises GG o Chief diplomat o Chief of government PR - Constraints on PM o Judiciary o Convention o Public opinion/media o Time o Provincial leaders o Premiers a constraint - Cabinet Origins o Privy council o Move away from primus inter pares model (at one time it was a meeting of first among equals – this is not the case anymore) cabinet ministers were much more important political figures and more important in the lives of their department o Departmental cabinet (mid 20 century) in which the minister did actually control things,; shift to administrative cabinet as public policy has become more complicated o Premiers have usurped role of regional ministers in many ways o Gap growing between the power of a cabinet minister and the PM in terms of power and influence – gap may be narrowing again in the next couple of years – POSSIBLE ESSAY QUESTION – no good single answer out there right now, why this is happening  Has the power of cabinet started to make a rebound vis a vis the PM and if so why? FEB 15 2011 – Notes continued Canadian political parties: very often what we think of when we think of politics - journalists often know the details more than we do – back and forth relationship between politicians and journalists - both spin the story - difficult to get time with politicians – journalists are current events – therefore they ask questions etc, have access? - Coverage of party politics in the press has been driven more and more by “horse race journalism” – looks like a contest between personalities o Less attention now given to substantive debates, policy issues o All about the specific parties’ personalities Place in system (Meisel) – standard treatment of what parties do - integrating citizens - developing policy - elite recruitment - organizing government - structuring the vote - structuring public opinion - interest aggregation - Canada as ‘part nation’ because so many of the institutions we’ve examined are tied together by party - do different parts of these things more, or less, well - ie. organize government very well – ie. people know party names, generally not MP names, organize the legislature - parties are less able to reach into society not – they are less well integrated - how can you form a coalition from diverse groups? - Parties identify “big issues” in different areas – they put a story together to aggregate local interests together – convince people they are on the same side of the issue as the people - some of the old party functions are now performed less well Party System - patterns of party competition and structure of that competition - 1867 – 1921 – parties, patronage, ministerialists rd - second 1921 – 1957 – entrance of 3 parties – breakdown to provincial- federal linkages – period of liberal dominance o breakdown of patronage system o prov. and fed systems no longer mirror each other o ie. BC doesn’t have conservative party right now?? - third – 1957 – 1993 – pan Canadian 2 party competition for government with NDP as consistent third. TV leads to more national and leader focused campaigns – period of consensus politics - only country with FPTP (besides India and bit of UK) with 3 parties – generally for 3 parties need some form of PR system - 4 – 1993 to present – truly multiparty political system – 1993 cataclysm splintered PC and produced a series of regional party systems - parties are trying to be sophisticated on TV – advertising on specific channels ie. “narrow casting” – conservatives on outdoor life, fishing network – NDP on Women’s network… targeting specific groups – splintered system Interpretations - brokerage - ideological/class based politics – very little class politics in Canada ie. compared to Canada – large majority of Canadians identify themselves as middle class - one party dominance – people were concerned about this – they were wrong. People thought the liberals were going to be in office forever – conservative coalitions were seen as unstable because of different regional conservative interests – no long term plan can be agreed on. - but fewer and fewer people are loyal liberal partisans – they are losing their hold on new Canadians – and Catholics ( ?) - decline of parties - unique place of minor parties Party Organizations - how are parties organized internally? - Little outside of parliamentary party? – except for NDP little outside parliament - Carty’s franchise model of how local constituency associations relates to - central decision making – what’s decided at the local level is basically leadership o who runs? - Central parties do some oversight as to who runs but by and large the local associations sort themselves out - But MPs wont succeed if they go off on their own policy wise - Very little organization that’s active outside the caucus in between elections, leadership nominations, and candidate selections - Very little membership will actually let you do in between these times of activity Leadership Selection: the problem of democracy - initially chosen by MPs - starting with liberals in 1921, move to leadership convention style – delegates chosen from ridings and MPs/party leaders - beginning with series of provincial parties in 1980s, move to simple 1 member 1 vote - but then back to some sort of modified convention format Questions of absent mandate - does winning an election actually give us a clear notion of what the population wants? - question of ideology often tied to absent mandate view of Canadian politics - argument that all of our party systems have minimized class divisions in favour of regional/religious/ethnic divides March 3 – Public Policy Making - outcome of collective; bureaucracy, government, etc. - arena that is getting “messier and more crowded” - much of policy making occurs where jurisdiction is fuzzy and blurred ie. universities federally funded for research, yet education is a provincial jurisdiction - ie. federal willingness to subsidize provincial health care delivery – will shape the direction of health care despite its being a provincial issues - not as autonomous in policy making as we used to be ie. environmental regulation for the Great Lakes, other environmental regulation, trade regulation, etc.
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