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Canada (161,878)
POL 151 (2)
Chapter 3 & 4


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Political Science
POL 151
Scott Mc Leod

CH3 - FEDERALISM  Definition = ―General and regional governments of coordinate authority, each independent of the other in its appropriate sphere, ruling over the same persons and the same territory under the benign surveillance of a court‖ o Before, federal/provincial matters were always in ‗watertight compartments‘ o Early in 20 century, increase demand in government responsibilities, social justice, believe that government should help ensure equality in public service and general standards of living o Thus in matters of trade, immigration and the environment, many of these subjects which in a federal state would have been regarded as provincial/state matters o Most important policy matters are now ―intermestic‖ = simultaneously, profoundly and inseparably both domestic and international o Divided sovereignty is increasingly difficult to sustain  UK  unitary system o All formal power (sovereignty) is vested in the central government o May be devolved to local and regional authorizes as the national government sees fit Three basic principles of federalism: 1. Federalism is premised upon ―a constitution that distributes the powers of government between central and regional governments.‖  Division of labour, neither is subordinate to one another  Written Constitution = set out allocation of functions between the federal and provincial govt 2. ―The elements of the constitution related to the respective powers of the regions are entrenched = not subject to change by federal or provincial governments alone.‖  To change, have amending formula – established widespread support for proposed change 3. ―Individual citizens and private groups are subject to the laws and other authoritative exercises of power by both the central and regional governments.‖  Bicameral Legislature (two house) o Lower house  In Canada is the House of Commons (people are elected to represent the population)  Prime minister, cabinet o Upper House  appointed; primary function = provide for representation based on the federation‘s units- states, provinces, lander, etc. Federalism & The BNA Act 1867 1) The division of powers between the central and provincial governments o Federal Functions - Functions that is necessary for country to act as one, thus is federal powers.  Eg Defence and foreign affairs, immigration and the monetary system, shipping and communication o Provincial Functions - Domestic matters, local interest, within control of province  Eg Education, roads and public health o Concurrent Functions = Jurisdiction is shared 2) The division of financial resources o fed has unlimited taxation power and prov has more limited, so fed distribute some to provinces 3) Federal controls imposed upon the provinces – residual power to feds, so fed is a little supreme to prov 4) Provincial representation in the central institutions – school, corrections 5) Certain cultural guarantees – bilingual, religious education, multiculturalism, etc Federal Powers (Section 91)  Trade & Commerce  National Defense  Criminal Law // Banking  Any mode of Taxation  Interprovincial Transportation and communication  ―Residual‖ powers—POGG o Peace, Order, Good government + ―all matters not assigned exclusively to provinces‖ Provincial Powers (Section 92)  Direct Taxation within the Provinces  Public Lands  Hospitals and Healthcare  Municipal Institutions  Education  Property and Civil Rights  Administration of Justice Black’s 5 Concepts of Canadian federalism: 1) The Centralist Concept: “quasi” federalism and the residual and emergency powers eras  Hearkens back to John A Macdonald‘s ‗original recipe‘ – confederation ideal o Seek to reduce provincial independence of political actions in order to increase central govt effectiveness in shaping and executing nation policies  Recalls spirit of BNA Act residual powers a. Reservation—where the federal government could instruct its self-appointed lieutenant governors to ―reserve‖ pending provincial legislation for federal approval b. Disallowance—where the federal government could simply veto provincial legislation even if it had been signed into law by a lieutenant governor c. Declaratory power—where the federal government could seize control over a ―local work or undertaking for the general advantage of Canada‖ under its power d. Emergency power (implied under POGG)—Bennett‘s ―New Deal‖ and the dawn of the social safety net  Clearly evident based on asymmetrical division of jurisdictional powers in BNA act o BNA act assigned to the fed all the important duties of govt, along with unlimited taxation power o Prov has ‗minor‘ powers and limited taxation powers  Clearly suited for modern voters‘/civil society heightened expectations of the state‘s fundamental role in funding the social safety net, creating a regulatory framework, maintaining prominent national influence in Canadian‘s everyday lives (eg CBC, RCMP, Via Rail ,etc) 2) Coordinate Concept: “divided sovereignty”…the truest expression of federalism?  Premised on notion of ―divided sovereignty‖ in that each level in government maintains their responsibilities and obligations in watertight jurisdiction components  Equal in legal status  Both the federal/ prov government make a consistent effort to recognize each other‘s equality in order to ensure that it is maintained and strengthened  Both sides work in conjunction to essentially beep out of one another‘s way – key to this objective is that both levels are able to exude independence in taxation and spending power 3) The Compact Theory: Confederation as a contract…  Closer to the traditional ‗states rights‘  Recognizes equality of both levels of government, but rather simply acknowledging the feds and the provinces as ―sovereign‖ jurisdictional entities, compact theory premised in strong assertion of provincial identity  As signatories to the original BNA compact or treaty, each province is a de facto full equal partner under the ‗contract‘ of Canada o No changes could be allowed in this contract (BNA) without each partner approving of the changes  Emphasizes provincial financial autonomy & provincial independence of action in economic and political matters 4) The Dualist Concept: is federalism a compact of the people or “founding” peoples?  Confederation is not a ―compact between level of government or provinces‖, but rather two ―founding‖ raesEnglish and French  Divergent view of origins of federation = o Centralist discuss ideas of singular national priorities o Compact and coordinate supporters emphasized the idea of partnership. o Dualist saw this partnership as racially-based  Any amendments to the constitution affecting French rights would require approval by the founding racial groups 5) Administrative Executive/Cooperative Federalism: the case for decentralization…  Specifically marked by the heightened interaction between fed/prov government – particularly at the highest level (ie first ministers, cabinet ministers, deputy ministers)  Underscores the value of cooperation between the feds and the provinces, but the emphasis upon the executive role is perceived to marginalize the legislative branch, the provinces and voters in the process…hence the desire for decentralization o Why? if its matter of higher level of government, from the average voter‘s view, decentralization give local level more say in decision making Tutorial Questions 1. Is federalism an effective means of governing Canada or should the founders have opted for a unitary system? 2. Based on how jurisdictional power divided between the “feds” and the provinces, do you think that Canada is too centralized, too decentralized or just right? 3. Of Black’s five concepts of Canadian federalism, which do you find to be the most compelling and why? CH 4 – LEGISLATIVE BRANCH Representation and Responsibility Representation—the ―proxy‖ means by which MPs and Senators articulate the political interests of Canadians via the institution of Parliament  Popular Sovereignty—the expression of the public‘s will (typically via general election)  Majority Rule—fundamental democratic metric which resolves electoral contests or differences of opinion with regard to the decision-making process  Inclusion—democratic objective to fashion the representative make-up of Parliament as a reflection of the society‘s pluralist nature  Trustee vs. Delegate o The trustee role = Seen as ―a representative once elected, who is in office to promote the interest of all citizens, not only those who elected him or her o The delegate role = Delegate performs his or her role as a ‗mirror‘ of the views of the constituents, regardless whether he or she agrees with them – ―follow the party‘s ideals, not the party‖ Responsible government: idea that ‗the legislative credibility of the executive branch‘ to govern is ultimately contingent upon maintaining the ‗confidence of a majority all members of the House of Commons.‘  Responsiveness: the expectation that Parliament be responsive to the public demands and the movement of public opinions Fiduciary Trust: MPs & senators have a fiduciary responsibility to act on behalf of the public‘s best interests - Includes ‗duty‘ and ‗moral responsibility‘ and that it
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