Terms You Need To Know For The Midterm
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Part I. Terms you should know…
•Politics: The activity in which conflicting interests struggle for advantages or dominance
in the making and execution of public policies.
•Power: The ability of one actor to impose its will on another to get its own way, or to do or
get what it wants, usually considered to be the essence of politics and government.
•Democracy: A political system characterized by popular sovereignty, political equality,
political freedom, and majority rule.
•Public Policy: A course of action or inaction chosen by public authorities to address a given
problem or interrelated set of problems.
•Political Parties: An organized group that nominates candidates for and contests elections in
order to influence the personnel and policy of government.
•Advocacy Groups: Any group seeking to influence government policy without contesting
elections; organizations whose members act together to influence public policy in order to
promote their common interest.
•Interest Groups: Same as above.
•Social Movements: An informal network of organizations and individuals who on a basis of
a collective identity and shared values engage in political struggle intended to expand the
boundaries of the existing system, such as the women’s and environmental movements.
•Lobbying: An organized attempt to influence the authorities, now often performed by
professional lobbyist firms.
•Clientele Relationships: The intimate and mutually advantageous relationship that
sometimes develops between a government department or agency and the advocacy group
with which it most frequently interacts.
•Elite Accommodation: The notion that public policies emerge from the interaction of
various elites (small groups of people with a disproportionate amount of power) in society,
who, sharing many socioeconomic characteristics and values, find it relatively easy to come
•Royal Commissions: An elaborate investigation set up by the Cabinet to research a
significant policy problem, to listen to and educate the public, and to make recommendations
to the government.
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•Conservatism: A political ideology generally characterized by a belief in individualism and
a minimum of government intervention in the economy and society, as well as by tradition,
elitism, and opposition to change.
•Liberalism: An ideology based on a belief in the rationality of the individual and on
maximizing individual freedom, liberty, and self-fulfillment. Before 1900 this was assumed
to entail a minimal role for government, but post-1900 liberalism usually advocated a larger
role for the state and therefore was placed on the centre-left of the spectrum.
•Social Democracy: A leftist political ideology that emphasizes the principle of equality and
usually prescribes a large role for government to intervene in society and the economy via
taxation, regulation, redistribution, and public ownership.
•Sovereignty: Ultimate control or independence, whether in terms of Canadian national
sovereignty vis-a-vis other countries or of Quebec sovereignty vis-a-vis the federal
•Quiet Revolution: The dramatic change of values and attitudes, especially toward the state,
the new collective self-confidence, and the new brand of nationalism that characterized
Quebec in the 1960s.
•Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism: The Royal Commission established
in reaction to the Quiet Revolution in Quebec in the 1960s that recommended official
bilingualism as a way of keeping the country together.
•Official Languages Act: A law passed in 1969 giving citizens the right to deal with head
offices as well as certain local offices of the federal government in either official language,
and necessitating the hiring and promotion of francophone public servants.
•Bill 101: The 1977 Quebec language law that sought to make French the official language of
Quebec and put restrictions on the use of English in the courts, schools, and private sector.
For example, all commercial signs had to be in French only.
•The Clarity Act: The Act sponsored by Prime Minister Chretien in 2000 that fleshed out the
Supreme Court decision on Quebec separation and requires federal government approval for
the question asked.
•Aboriginal Self- Government: A demand by Aboriginal groups that they be able to govern
themselves. Aboriginals also want recognition that the right to inherent (in their having been
here first), and not a gift of the current occupants of their land.
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