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Political Science
Andre Lecours

October 31. 2011 - Rep in house of commons needs to be coherent with principle of proportionality - So for some years now it was difficult to adjust the number of seats in the house. - Theres been some bills floating around designed to adjust this. - So for provinces whove had increases in their population in the last 25 years, theyll get more seats . - For other provinces like Quebec its unclear. - It requires solving the fine line between proportionality and federalism. (size vs. founding peoples) - Quebec wants to keep its 25% representation - Defining question: how many citizens can be represented by 1 representative? (increasing population vs. big house) - Canada has 2 houses (bi-cameral) o House of commons and senate - Senate was designed to protect Canada against democracy (how can uneducated people potentially rule?) - High educated people are best to rule - Do you want government to require confidence of both houses? - Senate would be made up of appointed people, not require confidence, and considered a house to somewhat represent territories. o 24 quebec o 24 western provinces o 6 newfoundland o 24 atlantic provinces o 24 ontario - They are appointed not on partisan grounds (liberal p.s. appoint liberal senators) - What do senators do? (they have bad reps) - Unlike partisan politics who have to get re-elected, senators are there long term until theyre 75 years old so they can develop expertise - Abolishing the senate requires constitutional unanimity which is difficult to get the consent of all provinces because theyll want something in return. - Other debate is reforming senate to represent provinces and also elected equally. - Quebec and Ontario arent interested in this because theyre the 2 largest provinces and theyd get the same number of seats as the other provinces - Prime minister wouldnt want to reform senate in a way to promote provincial appointment of senators because then hed lose control as theyd be acting in favor of their province. - Prime minister has said if provinces want to elect their senators I will appoint them. But this has never been done. Why? Because lets say if 2 senators are elected in Alberta. Youd have the whole house without democratic legitimacy and only and only 2 who would have been elected (so they wouldnt owe their political life to the prime minister) and so act in behalf of the people - If all senators were to be elected, what would the legislative process look like? - What about responsible government and confidence? - Would government require confidence of both House of Commons and senate? - This would be hard to do. What would be the role of the senate? - It would have more power now but if its also elected like the House of Commons, why should it be second? - It has just as much democratic legitimacy as House of Commons - We have 2 houses. Their roles are somewhat complimentary. If both are elected there would be more conflict between them. - Abolishing and reforming senate is constitutionally complicated and trying to get senators to be elected changes the whole system. Nov.9/11 - The state is composed of 4 branches - E, L, J, C.S. - Executive (government) makes policy - Parliament doesnt make policy - Head of state (G.G.) is part of executive o Role is symbolic but sometimes very crucial when it comes to government formation - Role of parliament has decreased, especially with minority government (as we have right now) - Executives has grown more powerful (especially with majority) - Research has been done to show in recent decades, prime minister has become more and more powerful -> theres been a centralization of power in the government (more than parliament, ministers, etc) - How does executive work? o Collective security-> public policy decisions are attributed to a cabinet in the executive. As a member of cabinet, your forever attributed to what decisions were made when you were cabinet. o Cabinet solidarity-> if you disagree with a decisions favored by the majority of cabinet, you must show solidarity with the other members or you resign. Ex: tony clement (head of stats Canada) was against voluntary census on all accounts but Harper wanted it so he had to support it o Cabinet secrecy-> you want people to speak their minds: id theyre worried about what they say getting out, theyll not speak their mind. The rule is never broken, even after resignation/ retirement - Bureaucracy: o Ministerial responsibility: ministers are in charge of departments. o They cant be expected to know everything going on in their department but if something does go wrong, they are held accountable. o Unfair but necessary. o You can be minister of random departments in which you have no expertise. - The relationship between executive and bureaucracy is complicated. On the surface you have a submissive bureaucracy, but theres also conflict potentially. Element of Public Service: Neutrality: - Theyre entitled to their own opinions, but overall, formally theyre neutral. - There isnt a sense that if political parties switch they have to be sketchy of the public servants because theyre neutral. - The basic role of public servants is to speak the truth to power - Sometimes executives dont want to hear/speak about certain issues which is why neutrality is important - You can have bureaucrats giving advice repeatedly and it being declined Meritocracy: - Your political loyalties should matter one way or another. - Canada has worked very well with the principle of meritocracy in the past. - Conservatives currently dont like Civil service because they believe theyre liberal supporters Representation - Everyone (diversity should be represented in the public service The basic principles of the Canadian public service: - Role of bureaucracy: o They conserve an agenda setting function (esp for small and medium things). Big projects are for executives. (Come up with ideas what the government should do). If you want to be a public servant you have to accept that youre only an advisor. o Implementing: carrying the project through o Evaluating: program evaluation - Deputy ministers: o Are very powerful because usually theyre expertised and is basically the interface between the minister and the department. Sometimes ministers are uninterested, so give more power to deputy ministers who then become very powerful. - Assistant deputy ministers - Director generals - Directors - There are 3 important departments in Ottawa (central agencies) o First 2 are about money, last one : government agenda o Treasury board secretariat: where you go if you want to free up some money You can work on a project then go to treasury board to present findings o Finance: need to be in sync with this o Privy council office: department of the prime minister. If youre a public servant, you want to ensure ur project is in tune with the agenda. So you need to be in sync with what the agenda is. - Top civil servant: clerk of the privy council o Liason between prime minister and the bureaucracy o Important the prime minister and clerk be on the same page when it comes to policy o Bureaucrats must be objective and neutral - One of the controls in the bureaucracy: o The house: from time to time public servants can be called to the house for opinion, explanations, etc. o Auditor general: do not want this phone call. o Central agencies: also ensuring government agendas/ November 14 2011 The steps of the policy process - Agenda-setting: society; bureaucrats, politicians, external events or processes. -Policy formulation: bureaucrats; experts, politicians, societal interests -Policy implementation Policy communities Some policy instruments: public spending; taxation; regulation; symbolic responses. AGENDA SETTING - Agenda setting: sometimes also called problem definition. Some things are branded as an issue or problem to be solved. Some issues important in some countries that arent important in other countries. Ex. Abortion. Canada not an issue in America it is. How are issues formed how are problems identified! Who does the agenda setting? Each organization attempts to make their issues Canadas issues. Whatever it is society forms organizations supporting certain issues. This
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