Important terms for exam!

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6 Dec 2010
Topic One: Constitution Chapter 5
Constitution is the fundamental law of a political system. It is fundamental
because all other laws must conform to the constitution in terms of how they are
made and in terms of their substance. A constitution is a necessary condition for
democratic politics. Without it there is no civilized way of resolving conflicts and no
way of predicting either the powers of government or the rights of citizens.
Common Law A set of rules that govern political life. These rules may take three
forms: written documents, the decisions of courts, or unwritten conventions
Constitutional conventions those practices that emerge over time and are
generally accepted as binding rules of the political system.
Constitutional law common law and constitution written documents. Are
enforceable by the courts, whereas constitutional conventions are not
Parliamentary Supremacy essentially meant, that so long as one level of
government did not trespass onto jurisdictional turf that the Constitution assigned
to the other level, it was free to do as it liked
Rule of Law principle that everyone should be treated equally under the law.
Charter extends this principle to expressly prohibit discrimination based on race,
national or ethnic origin, color, religion, sex, age, or mental/physical ability
Privy Council The power that resides formally in the monarchy is in reality held
by the Crowns advisers. Formally includes all members of the present and past
cabinets. However, only present members of the cabinet use their powers
Responsible Government In order to govern, the prime minister and cabinent
require the confidence of the elected house of commons. If a government looses the
confidence of the house, it looses the right to govern
Party discipline The reason why the constitutional theory of responsible
government does not translate into governments tremulous before their
Ministerial Responsibility The accountability of the government to the
legislature is the reason behind another principle of British parliamentary
government. It entails the obligation of a cabinet minister to explain and defend
policies and actions carried out in his or her name.
Parliamentary supremacy this means that parliaments authority is superior to
that of all other institutions of government. In concrete terms, this means that the
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courts will not second guess the right of Parliament to pass any sort of law, on any
Constitutional Supremacy replaced parliamentary supremacy. It states that the
constitution of Canada is the supreme law of Canada, and any law that is
inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution is, to the extent of the
inconsistency, of no force, or effect
Judicial Independence - means that judges are to be free from any and all
interference in their decision-making. Especially from the government
Separation of powers guarantees the special role of the judiciary. This role is to
interpret what the law and the Constitution mean when disputes arise. As in the
case of judicial independence, this principle relies more on cultural norms, statute
law, and constitutional convention than it does on constitutional law.
Topic Two and Three: The Executive/Parliament Chapter 8
Estimates - Every winter, the Minister of finance tables the estimates in the house
of commons. This is what students of public finance call the expenditure budget. It
represents the governments spending plans for the forthcoming fiscal year
Revenue Budget or a economic statement. Outlines the governments plans to
change the tax system. The governments analysis of the state of the economy and
where the government plans to steer it. Both revenue budget and economic
statement are major opportunities for the government to shape the economic policy
Clarity Act Stephane Dion. ??
Central agencies are parts of the bureaucracy whose main or only purpose is to
support the decision-making activities of cabinet. More concretely, this means that
they perform such functions as providing cabinet with needed information, applying
cabinet decisions in dealing with other parts of the bureaucracy, and communicating
cabinet decisions and their implications to the public, provincial governments or
other organizations within the federal state
Bureaucracy power, influence of the heads and staff of governmental bureaux.
îï an era from the 1940s to 1960s, when top officials whose
careers were associated with particular parts of the bureaucracy exercised an
extraordinary influence on the direction of federal policy
Representative Bureaucracy - will have greater popular legitimacy than one that
is not, and its representative character will help ensure that the advice bureaucrats
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