Week 1 Summary.docx

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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 1400
Nanita Mohan

Introduction For this week, we will review and cover some basic political terminology and concepts that will be used in this course. We will then begin our exploration of Canadian Politics and the Economy, covering such topics as ; basic concepts in Canadian politics, the different approaches to the study of politics, Government legislation, The Executive, The roles of the Prime Minister, and Governor General and Cabinet, and begin our discussion on government bailout plans and their affect on today’s economy. Learning Objectives Upon successful completion of this week’s material, you will be able to: • Define important themes and concepts pertinent to the basic understanding of politics and the different approaches to studying politics • Identify key words and concepts that will build the foundation for advanced political science courses. • Differentiate between the roles of the different executive members, particularly the Prime Minister, The Crown and Governor General, and the Cabinet. • Discuss government bailout measures and the controversy surrounding the issue by contributing both fact and opinion to the subject. Important Themes and Concepts to Remember • Politics - “Who gets what, when, and how” - Harold Laswell • Government - set of institutions that make and enforce collective, public decisions - also the current group in power • Ideology - body of ideas used in support of an economic, political or social theory • Public Administration - the way in which governments conduct themselves through bureaucratic processes; a discipline and a practice • Bureaucracy - a form of organization • Politicians - elected officials • Bureaucrats - appointed officials • Democracy - rule by the people • Direct Democracy - in which people have a direct say in matters of the state • Representative Democracy - in which people appoint representatives to speak for them in matters of the state • Autocracy - government by a single absolute ruler • Capitalism - economic system based on the private ownership and the free market • Mixed Economy - mixture of private and state control • Socialism - means of production and distribution controlled by government • Communism - all property owned by all in a classless society • Right - members of a group who hold more conservative views than others • Centrist - holding or advocating of moderate political views • Left - members of an organization most favoring change – liberal • Parliamentary system – executive and the legislature • Head of Government – the Prime Minister • Head of State – Governor General and the Crown. • Responsible Government and Cabinet Solidarity. Readings – Week 1, Chapters 1 & 21 INTRODUCTION • The government makes collective public decisions for society. • The governments power is called coercion – they have the ability to impose its will on us by means of sanctions or penalties • Four branches of the government the legislature, the executive, the bureaucracy and the judiciary • Legislature – deals with the adoption or amendment of new laws • Executive – deals with individuals who desire patronage appointments or if a corporation wants a large monetary grand • Bureaucracy – the demand for the provision of routine government services such as disabilities benefits under the Canada pension plan or technical regulations • Judiciary – If the demand can be settles only by judicial interpretation of adjudication it should be addressed to the courts • HOWEVER, if the formulation, passage or an implementation of a law is required, all three branches of the government executive, legislative and bureaucracy must work together. • The regulations, appointments, grants, and contracts can all be described as OUTPUTS of the law. • The governments are more likely to respond to groups of people rather than an individual • Politics is an activity in which conflicting interest struggle for advantage or dominance in the making of execution of public policies. Pluralist Approach • Pluralism assumes that group action is more common and more effective than individual political activity. It adds more pressure on advocacy groups in both the making and the execution of public polices – as the groups increase the political issues become more complex • Canada is described as a Pluralist society - we are a very diverse society, for example ethnics, class, gender, religion, age and other divisions The Public choice approach • Begins with the assumption that Canada is a democracy • This approach emphasizes bargaining between politicians and voters • We have the right to choose who we want to vote for • Politicians blame others for the mistakes in order to minimize their failures and take credit for the good The class analysis approach/ Neo-Marxism (some writing based on Karl Marx) • Emphasizes socioeconomic approaches • Proletariat (working class) vs. bourgeoisie (the capitalists class) – According to Marx • He believe d the bourgeoisie would exploit the proletariat until they started a revolution • Class analysis points out that the bourgeoisie will tolerate collective, public activity to some extent but only to further their accumulation of capital. The state Centred approach/institutionalism or neo-institutionalism • The state centred approach views the state those individuals endowed with the authority to formulate and implement public polices • Policies made without reference to the public often despite them • The executive and bureaucracy do what they think Is best for the public and society • They try to persuade the public of their ideas and if they fail they resort to coercion Globalization • Globalization represents an intensification of global movements and interactions – such as human travel, migration, and international trade. • It involves the growth of supraterritorial relations among people • It allows us to share attributes or interests across state boundaries and makes it easier to communicate with one another The executive: Crown, prime minster and Cabinet, Chapter 21 The Crown • Constitutional monarch means the queen (Queen Elizabeth) is the head of the state • The crown revolves around the head of the state and can be defined as executive powers • The crown represents the entire state and is a metaphor for the country • R v. John Doe (R – represents the
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