POLB50Y3 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Canada Pension Plan, Voluntary Sector, Action Action

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22 Nov 2012
There are two sections.
The first section (worth 40%) asks you to define and indicate the significance of 8 key terms. You get
to choose from a list of 10. All of the key terms are drawn from the lecture slides.
Describe what it is
Functions in the Canadian government
Significance of it in the Canadian government
Connect everything
The second section (worth 60%) asks you to answer two short essay questions. You get to choose
from a list of 3 questions. There are no surprises here. The essays ask about absolutely fundamental
aspects of Canadian politics--things that were talked about in lecture and that are written about in the
assigned readings and in the textbook.
If there are three things that I really want you to take away from the first part of this course, it is an
inside-and-out understanding of Parliament, responsible government, and federalism. You
should know these three things very well. Do not study critical approaches.
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Chapter 1 (3-10)
The Political System
- All individuals have needs that they attempt to satisfy, ranging from water and food through
security and friendship to self-esteem and self-fulfillment
o Some are felt individually, while others are shared with people of similar position of
characteristics in small or large groups
Ranks by the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Wants and Needs
- We begin by operating in the private or voluntary sectors
o Those parts of society and the economy that function separately from government
- Converting need into a demand
o When we express the opinion that the government should take some action
Crossing threshold to the public sector
o Demand is the expression of opinion that some government action be taken
- Governments make and execute decisions for a society or formulate and enforce social or
public policies
o They do not necessarily wait for demands to be articulated
o Often seek out the expectations of the electorate
Sometimes make decisions that are primarily based on the values and
preferences of the people in authoritative positions
- First fundamental question
o Whether people should ‘solve their own problems’ or whether they should ask the
government or the state to intervene
Almost everyone agrees that the government should provide certain security
Most support public highways and public education system
Population may be divided on the extent to which the government should provide
One of the main reasons for division of opinion is that gout intervention
normally costs money and usually relies on taxes of one kind of another
Also on which areas of life the state should regulate and how much
regulation is appropriate
- Generally true that the more we rely on government, the more money it will have to raise
through taxation to finance its operations
- Government
o The set of institutions that make and enforce collective, public decisions for a society
Those who control the government can make appointments, spend money,
extract taxes, enact regulations and generally impose their will on society
- Power
o In political science; ability of one actor to impose its will on another, to get its own
- Coercion
o Backed up by armed forces, police, and punishments, if necessary, government posses
a particular kind of power
o Government has the ability to impose its will on us by means of sanctions or penalties
General rules that only the government is allowed to use force or coercive power
in society
o Obey government because of the threat or expectation of penalties if we do not
o Obey government because we accept government decisions to be binding on us and
necessary for the general good
- Divides the political system into four branches
o Legislature
o Executive
o Bureaucracy
o Judiciary
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Authoritative decision that a demand seeks can sometimes be made by a single
branch of government
If demand requires the adoption of a new or amended law, and action of
legislative branch will be necessary
If individual desires a patronage appointment or if a corporation wants a large
monetary grant, a decision of the political executive or cabinet will be required
If demand is for provision of routine government services, such as disability
benefits under the Canada pension plan, or for changes in technical regulations,
a bureaucratic act will probably suffice
If demand can be settled only by judicial interpretation or adjudication, it should
be addressed to the courts
o Will require combined actions of any two of the executive, legislative and bureaucratic
branches, or even all three working together
Ex. Formulation, passage, and implementation of a new law
- Courts normally stand somewhat apart form the other three organs of government
o Operating on the principle of the independence of the judiciary
- Judicial decisions usually follow authoritative actions in other branches of government
o Ex. When the SC overturned the abortion provisions of the CC
- Judicial decisions may also lead to subsequent legislative actions
o As when the government enacted an amendment to reverse a SC ruling that had
permitted an extreme state of intoxication to serve as an excuse for committing sexual
- Authoritative decisions take many forms
o Laws, regulations, appointments, grants, contracts, services, and judgements
Can collectively be referred to as the ‘outputs’ of the political system
o Decisions are made in the provinces and territories and in an assortment of regional
and local councils and boards
Often require the agreement of two or more levels of government
- Federal and provincial decisions and policies can sometimes be in conflicts
- Canadian society is replete with groups and social movements
o Quite likely that a group already exists to articulate the individuals concern
If not, may be worthwhile to create one
- Political party
o Special kind of group that is even more overtly political
o Can be used to transmit demands to the authorities
o People join/ support it financially and try to get it to recognize their concerns in its
platform or policies
o If it forms the government, it can incorporate the demand into its decisions and
government policy
If party is in opposition, it may be able to bring the problem to national attention
through ass media coverage of parliamentary proceedings
o Those dissatisfied with the manner in which existing parties are responding to their
demands can create new parties
- Media are usually eager to publicize controversial issues and often delight in pointing out
problems that the government has fail to resolve
o They give attention to individual and group concerns on a regular basis, cover political
party activities and are especially active in election campaigns
o They shape the whole nature and quality of political discourse in Canada
- Assumed all demands expressed actually reach the authorities
o Few have impact
o Demands that do not concern very many people or those that call for action that is
contrary to the values of the authorities of the day may be ignored
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