PSY 214 Answers to past paper

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Political Science
Course Code
David Pond

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Why were the provinces in British North America in 1867 willing to support Confederation? The provinces were willing to support Confederation for a number of reasons. One of the reasons was the federalist aspect of the constitution, which divided powers between the central and provincial government where neither is subordinate to the other. It would bring the provinces together for economic, political, military and trade reasons. British leaders of Canada thought confederation was needed to forestall American attempts to claim Canadian Land like Rupert’s Land and Northwest territories that were open and unprotected. They belonged to Hudson’s bay company and were to be transferred to government once confederation was approved. Sir John A Macdonald, leader of the conservative party, wanted to create an east-west national market that would require centralization and control over the land. This would replace the US-Canadian Free Trade market that had been terminated. The federal government would be given control and not the provinces as this was a good source for them and it would promote interprovincial national trade. Also, the provinces were heavily in debt, borrowing from the London Money Market to pay for necessary infrastructure to promote economic growth, so they needed this money. As a part of the confederation deal, the federal government would assume the provincial debt and provide grants to the provinces. Confederation took place so that Canada could be strong enough to be an independent country without total reliance on Britain. Britain no longer wanted to pay for Canada’s defense and primarily acted in its own interests. How does responsible government make the prerogative powers of the Crown accountable? The principle of responsible government works in such a way that it transfers power out of the hands of the non-elected Queen or Governor general into the hands of the elected Prime Minister, Cabinet and the House of Commons. Under this idea, we respect and honor the queen in name but her responsibilities fall to the governor general who in turn gives the governing powers to the Prime Minister. The Governor General needs to give his assent to the election of judges, the cabinet, every bill that needs to passed and must grant dissolution of the parliament to the PM when requested. There have been cases where the GG has behaved in a partisan way or has not abided by the rules. The first case was the King-Byng scandal of 1926, where PM King asked GG Byng for dissolution and was refused. King’s party received an allegation of corruption and there was an ongoing debate about it in the House of Commons. Byng thought it would be irresponsible to hold another election as an election was hold the year before and he thought King was trying to escape a vote of non-confidence from the HOC. Another case was the Clark-Schreyer case of 1979 where PM Joe Clark lost a vote on the budget, which was a vote of confidence and went to GG Schreyer to ask for dissolution but the GG refused at first and much later, granted it to him. Responsible government make the prerogative powers of the Crown accountable in cases like the parliamentary crisis of 2008 where Harper asked Michelle Jean for a prorogation of parliament and she granted it to him. The relationship between the governor general and the prime minister is that of a formal affair and Harper-Jean case is a prime example of that. How does federalism support the aspirations of the Quebecois to preserve a French-speaking society in English-speaking North America? Federalism is the division of powers between central and provincial governments where both are independent of the other. It was one of the major reasons for confederation to take place. Ontario and Quebec were divided into Canada West and Canada East, respectively. George Brown was a liberal’s leader leading a minority government in Ontario and they suffered from a lack of democracy to represent them and their issues as the majority in Quebec could impose their policies on them. An example of this is when the catholic school funding was forced on them even though the MP’s were strongly against it because they are not catho
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