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Mallory The Continuing Evolution of Canadian Constitutionalism.docx

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Department
Political Science
Course
POLI 221
Professor
Rick Schultz
Semester
Fall

Description
Mallory, J.R., “The Continuing Evolution of Canadian Constitutionalism” in Cairns and Willliam (eds.) Constitutionalism, Citizenship and Society in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press 1985) pp.51-97.  Political system work because its members share values  Basic values and institutions must reinforce one another. If not the institution may undermine the efficacy of the system. But they are about to change and maintain their form at the same time.  It becomes necessary to identify the enduring values of the Canadian polity and the extent to which they are supported or embodied in political institutions. Basic Norms and Constitutional Rules  Constitutional order makes the difference between free societies and totalitarian states  Majority rule and democratic values themselves are insufficient. Need of a rule of conduct to contain abuse of power  Restrain on the exercise of government power and arbitrary rule is contained through a system of checks and balances  Constitutional rules need to be understood and reinforced (voluntary acceptance of restraints/rules)  Values: mix of freedom and civility  Sometimes need to accommodate new values and redefine some institution in the light of those newly acquired/modified values (ex: attitude toward First Nations)  Constitution does not specify the system of cabinet government  Responsible government is largely regulated by conventions  Conventions : no remedy against violation  Purely legal norms: defined by courts and can be altered in a deliberate process of changing the law  A constitution similar in principle to that of the UK: sovereignty is vested in legislature, which could alter the law in any way it wished without external constraint  Courts only job was to differentiate provincial and federal right Changing Meanings  Responsible government o The government of the day is in effect the choice of the majority of the elected legislature, which can at any moment withdraw the authority of the government by a successful vote of want of confidence o Nowadays, House of commons cannot hold ministers accountable because they are protected by the PM and its cabinet o Ministers vulnerable to the immense power of the PM. Let PM make decision, but they get punish if th
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