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Final Review POL 2101.docx

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Political Science
Gordon Digiacomo

Midterm stuff POL2101 Constitutional documents:  Constitution act of 1967  Constitution act of 1982 Political participation:  The actions people take to raise awareness of issues and influence the choice of government personnel and to shape the context of government policies (Ex: Protests, joining local parties, petitions, voting, running for office) 3 central issues  Founders were not avid democrats  Founders were not strong Canadian nationalist and their attachment to the state was not deep  All laws were made federally to form a powerful federal government Political parties  The Conservatives  The Liberals  The NDP  The Green Party  Le Bloc Quebecois 4 pre-confederation acts (don’t need to know it)  Royal proclamation – 1763  Quebec act – 1774  Constitution act of 1791  The Act of union – 1840 Responsible government  : A government system in which the executive is responsible to an elected, representative legislative body and must retain its support to remain in office Types of political participation  Protesting  Petitioning  Voting  Running for Office What is a constitution?  A constitution is a fundamental document which laws out the base laws under which all subsequent laws must be performed  It guards the rights and freedoms of the citizens of the country  Provides the organizations framework within which various governing institution operate  As well as the legitimate processes by which governments can act and laws can be passed 2 purposes of a constitution  To establish the institutions of government  To determined their powers and responsibilities 2 functions of political parties  To form a government  To represent certain interests or groups 2 powers of the PM  To appoint the cabinet  The Chair cabinet meetings and set the government agenda Constitutional change  A constitution can be amended  Or face Judiciary interpretation/review 5 characteristics of Canadian economy  Market base, capitalist society  Highly dependent on trade highly dependent on natural resources  High degree of foreign ownership  High degree of state involvement  Highly dependent on trade Final Review POL2101 Digiacomo Public bureaucracy  Is included within the executive, formally speaking  Referring to the people who implement public policies of Cabinet  In our Gov’t system, the cabinet is in charge of the public bureaucracy – yet they the cabinet are a partisan group  Distinguished from private sector firms and enterprises and third sector co-ops, charitable non- profit organizations  The Minister is in charge of a department, below him is a deputy minister (he is art of the bureaucracy)  Roughly 3.5 million people in the Canadian Bureaucracy Issues with bureaucracy  Merit system and representativeness of public servant o Emerged after decades of political pilgrimage o Abolished when bad people got the job o People hired or promoted based on their qualifications o Problem: May not get a public service that reflects the intentions of the society  Degree of democratic control of bureaucracy o 4 ways the bureaucracy may undermine democracy (4 Issues)  Unrepresentative of society  When controlled by a narrowly based group with large control over the bureaucracy  Ministers are too-often shifted around = expertise with the bureaucrats only  Temptation of bureaucrats to expand their offices to increase their influence over government, no public policy goal o Advantages  Agencies and whistleblowing legislation to report foul practices  House of commons committees keep tabs on bureaucrats  Court system can be accessed  Federal court/ federal court of appeal  The media and public service unions pounce on wrong-doing  Kind of policy instrument that the bureaucracy will recommend o Essentially 9 policy categories of instrument o By order of intrusiveness  Doing nothing (hope it disappears)  Take symbolic action (issue statement, set up investigatory committee, express public concern)  Use the public platform and exhort people to do something  The tax expenditure (deductions or credits)  Spend money on particular programs  Legislation and regulation  Impose a tax  Create a govt corporation (take responsibility for particular issues)  Declare state of emergency (depending on problem)  Relationship between senior public servants and advocacy groups o Bureaucrats may move into private corporations, well-paying advocacy groups o Raises suspicions about what the bureaucrats were thinking when dealing with those corporations or groups  Relationship with them  In the public interest? Or their own interest? 3 types of government structure: The government department (Labour, justice, foreign affairs)  Headed by a minister, managed by bureaucrats  The deputy minister is non-partisan  Appointed by the PM  Department is on a pyramidal basis  Assistant deputy minister (3-4), Director General (4-5)  Department workhorses  Functions o Develop policy, o administer program, o research and analysis, o liaise with other gov’t departments and groups The crown agency  Does not function like a service delivery The crown corporation  CBC, Via rail, Canada post  Operate at government arm’s length  Combine 2 types of goals o Profit making goals o Service public policy bill  Report to parliament through a minister Parliamentary Branches Legislative  Federal level (House of commons, Senate)  Provincial level (Legislative assembly, national assembly)  Functions o Representation of the people o Passing of legislation o Scrutiny by members o Recruitment function (Cabinet from the house) o Law making function o Finances government, and approves spending o Political education  Educate the public  Hear back from citizens o Hold govt accountable Parliamentary supremacy: Make or unmake any law it wishes to without interference from the monarch or anybody  No parliament can bind future parliament  Cannot be strictly applied in Canada because of o Could be beyond govt jurisdiction o Or in violation in the charter  The supreme court can strike down laws of any government (provincial) House of Commons  Has 308 members, all elected  Each member represents a riding or constituency  Plays 1 of 3 roles (3 roles of legislators) o With the view to serve under what he or she thinks is best, serves the trustee function o If an elected representative goes with the view that their duty is to represent constituents, that member plays the constituency delegate function o If one goes to parliament with the view that he or she will serve the party, that member sees the party delegate role  Most of the work is constituency service (student loans, old age cheques)  Also do policy development work (very little)  Education, occupation, class and gender, neither the federal or provincial legislatures are representative (mostly lawyers)  Speech from the throne (outlines its agenda)  Budget time (Setting out financial plan)  Question period  Characterized by Party discipline o Members have to adhere to what their leaders tells them  Criticised for being too rigid o Many advocate for free votes  Advocates state that o It frees the MP from the pressure of advocacy groups o Somebody will be lobbied (the leader, bureaucrats)  Elections held o Majority government (1 party more than %50 of seats) o Minority government (no parties have more than 50% seats) o Coalition govt (2 parties combine and share cabinet)  Senate o 105 senators (Ontario Quebec have 24 each) o Western Canada have 24 each o Territories have 1 for 105 o NFL has 6 o Flaw  Appointed body, lacks legitimacy  NDP wants to abolish it  Western politicians want it to be elected  Others want the provinces t appoint it  Constitutional amendment required  Passing legislation***** o Public bills  Govt bills or private members bills (majority)  Stages  Minister lets it be known that a bill with be introduced  Then he presents the bill (first reading)  Debate scope and principle of the bill (Second reading)  Vote on it going to a special committee (study content clause by clause) o Advise changes o Seek public input o Votes on bill as a whole  House votes on the changes  Vote on third reading  Final vote to pass the bill  Then passes to the senate and the same process occurs and passes to governor general (takes usually o Private bills  Very rare  Have to do with individuals in the ridings  Introduced by MP  Based on petition by those interested in promoting it  Intended to exempt a group from the application of a particular statute Judicial branch  Principle of the rule of law: All individuals must be subject to the same set of laws o Also means that individuals should be subject to known, predictable, and partial rules o Independent judiciary interprets the laws while considering the constitution o Laws being interpreted on the basis of the constitution (not on the wealth of others, ethnicity, etc) Courts settle disputes between national governments and state governments  Sections 91-92  Courts have become more important since the charter came into effect  Supreme court of Canada (9 justices, appointed till age 75 (3 from Quebec, 3 from Ontario, 2 from west, 1 from east) o Appointed by the PM o Will aim for unanimity in making decisions o Justices are required to give reasons for decision and put it in writing o Judges come from a certain class/legal culture  Very well educated, they cannot empathize with commoners o When they attempt to justify their decisions on different basis, this is when we should be concerned  Throughout Canadian history, numerous groups have been victimized by legislature, and they have been of no help. Officers of Parliament: Independent officials that assist parliament in holding government accountable and protecting various rights of Canadians  Auditor General - 1868  Chief Electoral Officer - 1920  The Officials languages commissioner - 1970  The Privacy commissioner - 1983  The Access to information commissions - 1983  Conflict of interest and Ethics commissioner - 2007  The Public Sector Integrity Commissioner - 2007  The Commissioner of Lobbying – 2007 Judicial Review: The authority of the courts to invalidate laws passed by Parliament or provincial legislatures that they deem to be in violation of the Constitution Reference procedure: The reference procedure in the ability of the Government of Canada to ask a direct question (a reference question) to the court for its opinion. Can be asked at either level of government (provincial/federal) and are usually of a constitutional nature. Many leading Canadian constitutional decisions are result of reference questions Advocacy groups: Organizations that pursue the interest groups of citizens by trying to influence the making of policy  Range from single/small issues with few backers  To well-staffed multi-issue groups Social capital: The networks, norms or generalized reciprocity and trust that foster coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit Social movement: A network of groups and individuals that seeks to major social and political changes, particularly by acting outside of established political institutions  Women’s movement  Environmental movement  Labour movement Civil society: Groups institutions and organizations that exist between family and the state  Does not included profit seeking business, but does include business associations Policy community: Major players in a given policy domain or field  Govt departments and agencies  Think tanks  Advocacy groups  Corporations  Politicians and interested citizens Federalism**  System of governance characterised by the constitutionally entrenched division of lawmaking powers between a federal government and governments of constituent units applied on a territorial basis (provincial governments) o States in the US o Lander in Germany o Cantons in Switzerland o Autonomous communities in Spain  Can also be described as a way to organize a state  Must refer to the division of law making powers as constitutionally entrenched Terms:  Jurisdiction – The range of responsibility that a legally established body possesses  Autonomy – The range of decision making authority that the government will have  Centralization – The movement of power to the next level upwards  Decentralization – the movement of power downwards Federal countries include: US, Australia, Spain Nigeria, Austria, Venezuela, Mexico, and Argentina  On their way: The UK and Italy Non-federal countries: Belgium and Switzerland Unitarian: Sweden, Norway, Israel, Denmark  Have local governments, but are at the mercy or national governments Federalism features  About power and where is flows  Federal government retains dominance over the provincial and municipal governments o Federal gov’t responsible for dealing with country wide threats o Gained dominance through the constitution act of 1867  A mechanism for unification o A Federal arrangement to come together and stay together  Recognize their participation in a union and the need to surrender some of their powers to a central authority for financial aid and military protection  Not a fixed and exact thing o Has a general quality but no template to prescribe o Must do as society requires you to do  The central and sub-national gov`t have direct interactions with citizens o Provide services, prescribe laws  Constitutionally protected o Ottawa cannot erase a province, nor can the provinces establish different types of federal gov`t  Canadian constitution provides a list of Federalist powers in sections 91 and 95  Neither level can enact laws on areas in another level`s jurisdiction o Ottawa cannot legislate education in other jurisdictions  However, encroachment is factor due to the unclear nature of the constitution  Each federal state emphasizes certain values and downplays other types of values o Equality was a central value in Canada for a long time o Now it is protected by the value of diversity  Diversity, equality, efficiency, harmony are among the values that a federal government may privilege or undermine Powers of the federal gov’t  Power to disallow provincial laws  Taxing power – tax anything it wants  Spending power (even in areas of provincial jurisdiction)  **The Peace order and good government power** o Gave Ottawa the right to take over responsibility for any area not constitutionally mentioned o Since been restricted by the courts Advantages of federalism  Democratic advantage o Can make government more accessible o Competitive governments = responsive governments  Policy laboratory advantage o Try out a certain policy and program to see how it works o Ex: healthcare  Large minorities can have their own gov’t to protect their cultural/linguistic rights Disadvantages to federalism  Executive federalism o Leading politicians and leading bureaucrats make all the decisions
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