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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
Ex: tony clement (head of stats Canada) was against voluntary
census on all accounts but Harper wanted it so he had to support
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
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:
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Assistant deputy ministers
- Director generals
- 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
You can work on a project then go to treasury board to present
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
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
Some policy instruments: public spending; taxation; regulation; symbolic responses.
- 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