Final Exam Study Guide

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Political Science
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POLA51 Final Exam Terms Federalism Federalism is system of national government in which power is divided between a central authority and a number of regions with delimited self-governing authority. In Canada, our Constitution guarantees that sovereignty will be divided between the Federal Government and the Provincial Government. These division of powers are listed in Sections 91 to 95 of the Constitution. There has been significant criticism as the distribution of power is uneven between the two levels. Under the Residual Clause, any are not specified in the Constitution automatically falls under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government. Hence in Canada, it is more of an asymmetrical quasi-federal system. Federalism is significant as it is the fundamental basis of our political system. It ensures that national needs of the country are met while at the same time regional (provincial) needs are heard. Liberal Democracy A form of representative democracy where elections are free and fair with universal suffrage granted to all citizens. It is also known as a constitutional democracy and in Canada we have a parliamentary system. Furthermore, the rights of freedoms of individual citizens are upheld in liberal democracy and laws are interpreted through the judicial branch. Voting plays an important role in a liberal democratic state. The citizens elect representatives to voice their concerns and implement policy change. In Canada, our election system is based on a plurality (first past the post) voting system. The phrase peace, order and good governance is meant to uphold liberal democracy by our Constitution. Direct vs. Indirect Democracy Direct democracy is also known as pure democracy where all citizens can directly participate in the decision making process. Essentially, each citizen represents themselves in the political system. Direct democracy is effective when the voters are regionalized and the total population is relatively small. Unfortunately, this form of democracy does not work at a national level as the populations are generally dispersed throughout the country. Indirect, or representative, democracy is a means of governance by the people through elected representatives. Each region will select an individual who will speak on their behalf at a central forum. In the case of Canada, MPs are elected to represent their riding in the House of Commons. This form of democracy is effective when a large distributed population exists across the country. An example of direct democracy would be during the Quebec Referendum when are each Quebecer voted on sovereignty. An example of indirect democracy would be the upcoming federal election on May 2 .d Responsibility In political science, this term refers specifically cabinet collective responsibility. The Cabinet must publicly support all government decisions made in Cabinet, even if they do not privately agree with them. This relates back to the idea of party discipline and that each political party in Canada acts as one unified group. Cabinet Responsibility also ensures that the Prime Minister will always have the support of his Cabinet during a vote of no confidence. In Canada, there have been rare occasions where Cabinet Members were allowed to vote freely on certain issues. An example would be capital punishment under Brian Mulroney. Legislative, Executive and Judicial Power These three branches of government form the basis of our political system. The Legislative consists of the sovereign, the House of Commons and the Senate. The legislature has the power to introduce new bills, pass bills, make policy recommendations and adjust current policies. It consists of the party in power as well as the opposition parties. Ultimately, the legislature can make new laws. The Executive branch consists of The Crown (figurehead), the PM and the Cabinet. Ultimately, this branch has the power to enforce laws and policies as decided by the Parliament. They oversee the military, enforce the law and determine how the policies of Parliament should be carried
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