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POLS 1500 (40)

POLS1500 Notes for Grass1.docx

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Political Science
Course Code
POLS 1500
Francesco Leri

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POLS 1400 Prof. Nanita Mohan Chantelle Ramsundar [email protected] Issues in Canadian Politics Terminology  • Politics o “Who gets what, when and how” – Harold Laswell • Government o Set of institutions that make and enforce collective, public decisions- also the current group in power • Ideology o Body of ideas used in support of economic, political or social theory • Public Administration o The way in which governments conduct themselves through bureaucratic processes; a discipline and practice • Bureaucracy o A form of organization • Politicians o Elected officials Vs. • Bureaucrats o Appointed officials Political Spectrum • Democracy – Rule by the people • Direct Democracy – In which people have a direct say in matters of the state • Representative Democracy – In which people appoint representatives to speak for them in matters of the state Questions ▯ Do we have too much equality? How does democracy apply to the people who oppose same-sex marriage when it only technically benefits one part of society? Why does it matter? How would it affect them? Elements of Democracy • There is a DEMOS o You must have citizens within a state • There is a territory where decisions apply o Nation State o Physical territory with a physical barrier • There is a decision making procedure • Procedure is regarded as legitimate by the demos • Freedom- Constrained versus Infinite Freedom POLS 1400 Prof. Nanita Mohan Chantelle Ramsundar [email protected] Liberalism in Canada • Liberalism is held to stand for a political view that verges towards the universal and abstract (embraces change in society). o Individualism / Liberalism = almost synonymous o In the context of Canadian politics  100 years ago: Liberalism focused mainly on individual rights – social welfare, education, etc.  Today: Embraces group recognition  Liberal government policies: Main focus on group/collective rights • Welfare state but taxes are high • Primary objective of economic activity is to improve human welfare (top-bottom approach) o To establish polities to collectively improve human welfare  Childcare: 2004-2006: Ensuring a universal childcare system; taxes will support a childcare system  Aiding a collective group o Top to Bottom Approach  Welfare of the people has to come directly from the top (State through taxation)  Norm of the liberal-political party  In the last 4 elections  Change to minimal-state involvement • Transition in philosophy = Recent demise of the party • Still the dominant IDEOLOGY, NOT the dominant PARTY. • Dominant ideology of Canada • Group Rights Conservatism  • Characterized by a belief in individualism and minimum of government intervention in the economy and society as well as tradition, elitism, and opposition to change • Individual freedom is more important than social equality o Where there is a division between conservatives/NDP o Individual success and well-being • Government should be small and level of taxation low o Harper w/26 cabinet ministers o Merging departments o “Minimum government intervention” o Have minimal amount of perspective changes  Harper’s success: Having a concise plan for a few issues. “What I can do with what I have”. • Federal government – avenue of last resort for assistance (bottom-up approach)  Childcare: Promised that every mother who had a child below the age of 6 - $100.00 per month  Money is taxable; $80.00 per month o Federal Accountability Act  Changed the way parties campaigned in elections, ensuring that richer people didn’t pay into political parties  Created in the wake of the Sponsorship Scandal POLS 1400 Prof. Nanita Mohan Chantelle Ramsundar [email protected] Childcare Liberals: Put the tax money into a welfare program to help families Conservatives: Give the money back to the individual Socialism  • Socialism seeks to liberate the individual from the inequalities and exploitation of the capitalist system • It believes in a large element of state action in order to achieve equality • Equal Distribution of Wealth • NDP o Supports a form of “Social Democracy”  Stems from the ideology of a centrist approach to socialism  The party will work with the existing government to alter/change/remove barriers of economy in an already working system Ideological History in Canada - Minimalist: 1860 to 1930 - Keynesian: 1930 to 1980 o Great depression o More government dependence on welfare - Neo-Conservative: 1980 to Present o Out of the depression and entered an era of economic flourish o Minimal role of state; difference in o Increase in privatization o Increase in downsizing o Increase in deregulation/decentralization Political Culture 1. Louis Hartz a. Canada’s political culture stems from a fragmented society b. Stems from different ancestry c. There is no such thing as a “True Canadian Culture” d. Not to be confused with the melting-pot theory 2. Martin Lipset a. Author The Continental Divide b. Separation of French and English – Separation of Canadian and American culture 3. Harold Innis a. Staples Theory b. When talking about Canadian culture, it is seen from a resource POV c. Fishing, mining, forestry Legislature  - Multi-member representative body which considers public issues o In Canada, the legislature consists of  HOC - 308 POLS 1400 Prof. Nanita Mohan Chantelle Ramsundar [email protected]  Senate - 105 o Considered to be medium in size o Smallest legislature – Benwatu; 12 members o Biggest – China; 3,000 members - Functions o Representation  Each member represents a riding  Every riding has a member of parliament represented in the HOC  Senate – Not elected; appointed by regions • Represents a population o Legislation  Passing bills; must go through the HOC and senate  Bill becomes ‘locked’ o Authorizing expenditure  Approve a budget for the fiscal year  Any new projects must be authorized by the legislature o Making governments o Deliberations  Anything to do with bills, expenditure, passing bills etc.  Happens during question period/regular sittings Legislature – Parliamentary Government - Bicameral – Two Houses o HOC and Senate - 3 Parts – Executive, back bench, opposition, party whips o Executive  PM, Governor General, Cabinet POLS 1400 Prof. Nanita Mohan Chantelle Ramsundar [email protected]  The ‘highest’ in the chain of command - Composition – 308 members - Representative Government - Session – 135 days o Only days that they work - Speech from Throne, Budget Speech, 21 Opposition Days - The PM in Canada is one of the most powerful leaders in the democratic world; a lot of hiring/firing power - Able to pass bills without going to the legislature Canadian House of Commons - 308 Members (Ridings) o Majority = 308/2 + 1 o <154 = Minority o Ridings have increased in years  Representation goes by population, therefore each member represents 90,000 to 100,000 members o Some claim that a population is overrepresented at times - Known as “members of parliament” - Each MP is elected using the “first past the post” system o Every federal election, representative is voted on, the name with the most amount of votes wins for the riding  CONS – The difference between the MP that won and the candidate that lost can be 1 vote; criticized because it does not take into consideration the votes that did not win • Proportional Representation System – A percentage is taken Canadian Senate - 105 Members; Appointed by the PM o Work until they retire o More conservative representation than any other party - “Equal Regional Representation” – Reflected in the population o Ontario, Quebec, Maritimes, West = 24 o PEI = 4 o Quebec (Divided into 24 senatorial regions) = 24 o Newfoundland = 3 o Territories = 1 each - Requirements o At least 30 years of age o Must reside in the region they are representing o Own at least $4,000.00 worth of property in the area (some kind of asset) - Senate Reform – Tripe E Senate? POLS 1400 Prof. Nanita Mohan Chantelle Ramsundar [email protected] o Elected o Effective/Efficient o Equal  For the last 20 years, there has been a debate going on how the senate is elected  Instead of the PM and GG, they will be elected by the public alike MP’s Responsible Government - Responsible Government – A form of government in which the executive must maintain the confidence of the legislature or resign o Why having a minority government works against the principle of responsible government - Individual Ministerial Responsibility - Majority and Minority Government - Harper’s government o Found in contempt in parliament  One of the ministers (Cabinet minister) did something that found her in contempt, because she outwardly lied about something Majority vs. Minority Governments - Majority Government – One based on a majority of the governing party’s in MP’s in the house - Minority Government – Government that emerges from an election that accords it less than a majority of Members of the house of Commons o You need to have the support of everyone in your party + the support of other parties to get bills passed 5 Agendas - Urgent Business th o I.e. September 11 , Anti-Terrorist Bills o 5-10 days - Routine Business o Talking about new appointments, nominations, budget, etc. o National Anthem/Lord’s Prayer - Government Days o When the government introduces/suggests an agenda o If they want to pass a bill/pursue a law/issue - Opposition Days o 20 Days o When the official opposition has the opportunity to bring up issues that they want to address/bills they want to pass - Private Member Days o When there is an independent minister of parliament, when a member wants to discuss an urgent issue Question Period - Happens every day - 45 Minutes; leader of opposition gets to ask two questions - Factual POLS 1400 Prof. Nanita Mohan Chantelle Ramsundar [email protected] - Media can come in an observe - “Late Show” o Prolonging the argument later on in the night - Where the ruling party/government ensures that they utilize the media, so they can infer that there is accountability going on Constitutional Convention - There are certain things that the GG can do as a ‘constitutional convention’ - Although the GG usually adheres to what the PM says, they still have the ability to say no o Shows how powerful the PM can be in Canada o I.e. The ability to dissolve government Individual Ministerial Responsibility  - Makes executive the focal point of accountability - Minister answers for the bureaucracy in the legislature: o Provides link between bureaucracy and legislature Advantages of Minority Government - Responsiveness o They have to be responsive and on-the-spot o Must answer every question in a diplomatic way o Everyone has a different agenda - Accountability - Transparency Disadvantages of Minority Government - Unstable Government o Very short; do not last as long as majority governments - Bills are difficult to propose - Inconsistency o Have to strike deals with other parties - Inefficiency o Constantly negotiating Different Types of Bills - Public and Private Bills - Private Bills o Very rare – more common 50 years ago o Made by organizations, religious institutions o Gives private members special powers to introduce a bill to the HOC o NOT made by any of the public government o Private enterprises and institutions, banks o 60’s – Quebec used this type of bill  Getting a divorce meant getting a private bill - Public Bills o Government Bills  Most Common POLS 1400 Prof. Nanita Mohan Chantelle Ramsundar [email protected]  The Government in question proposes a bill and would eventually become law • Financial o Also called “Money Bills” o Must begin in the HOC o You cannot start this process in the senate • Non-Financial o Private Member Bills  When an independent member of parliament who is not a member of a party tries to propose a bill  Proposed either privately or a member of parliament who wishes to present a bill for their own riding • Done on a smaller scale Executive Power - The Crown o The Collectivity of executive powers exercised by or in the name of the monarch - Powers o Head of State, Head of Corporations, Court References, Governor General is Represented, Names PM, Dissolves Parliament, Gives Royal Assent  Party Discipline • Ensuring everyone in your party is ‘on board’ with policies The Executive Heads of Government and Head of State - Head of State o Queen or… o Queen’s Representative, Governor General - Head of Government o Prime Minister and Cabinet Executive Power - The Prime Minister o Powers  Cabinet Maker  Chair of Cabinet Meetings  Party Leader  Chief Policy Maker  Leading Player of HOC  Chief Personnel Manager • Enough women, proportional representation, ethnic diversity • Scrutiny to when it comes to the qualifications of ministers The Prime Minister and the Cabinet - Choosing a cabinet o Who Qualifies? o A Balancing Act  Provinces and Regions  Factions POLS 1400 Prof. Nanita Mohan Chantelle Ramsundar [email protected]  Language  Religion  Ethnicity  Gender Governor General’s Role - Crown and the Monarch - Function o Ceremonial Functions  Conferring the Order of Canada Awards, Receiving troops  Symbol of State  Advising the Prime Minister Law and the Courts - Law o A rule of conduct or procedure established by custom, agreement, or authority - Rule of Law o The principle that both the rules and the rulers are answerable to the law - Constitutional Law o Deals with the rules, practices and institutions which constitute the state - Common Law o The rules developed by the courts and based on the principle of stare decisions - Civil Law o The law of Ancient Rome, especially that which applies to private citizens o Judgments are based on codified principles rather than precedents - Courts in Canada o Federal  Taxation, Patents o Provincial  Provincial Superior Court  Family Court, Juvenile Court o Supreme  Highest  All decisions are final  Don’t take in every single case presented  9 Justices; 3 must come from Quebec • Quebec practices Civil Law Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Section 2: Fundamental Freedoms - Section 3-5: Democratic and Mobility Rights - Section 7-14: Legal Rights - Section 15: Equality Rights - Section 16-22: Language Rights - Section 24: Judicial Review o The power of the court to determine if the action of the other branches are constitutional or not POLS 1400 Prof. Nanita Mohan Chantelle Ramsundar [email protected]  Without this section, the supreme court could not play more of a public rule - Section 25-30: Identifiable Groups - Section 33: Notwithstanding Cause Characteristics of Electoral Systems 1. How are these votes counted? 2. What political office are you voting for? a. Federal/Provincial/Municipal? First Past the Post Disproportionality  3 different ridings 1. Guelph – 100 residents a. Party A – 51 b. Party B – 47 c. Party C - 2 2. Kitchener – 100 residents a. Party A – 40 b. Party B – 51 c. Party C – 9 3. Waterloo – 100 residents a. Party A - 50 b. Party B - 47 c. Party C - 3 PARTYA = 2 PARTY B = 1 PARTY C = 0 However; Party A = 141 Party B = 145 Party C = 14 ^ Disproportionality The Bureaucracy and Political Corruption Political Ethics – The study of morality’s effect on conduct in the political arena Ethical Values in Politics - Integrity - Honesty - Probity - Prudence - Impartiality - Equity POLS 1400 Prof. Nanita Mohan Chantelle Ramsundar [email protected] - Selflessness Code of Ethics – All must abide Public Trust - Builds Public Trust - Makes public servants ensure their behavior is acceptable - Penalties are harsh- ensuring the right behavior Parliament controlled organization Problems - Very broad o Difficult to apply to specific situations  If there was a situation to arise, HRM’s would have to consult ethical codes and try to apply it to something very specific - The large-scale and complexity of government makes it hard to create these documents anyway - The codes can affect the rights and privacy of workers o All public servants salaries are published o Anyone who makes more than $100,000, their names are published o Facebook: Public servants are told to delete their accounts, or randomly monitored  Hiring a firing happens because of what’s on their FB page Part of the Federal Accountability Act  Made because of the Sponsorship Scandal  No accountability/transparency 3 Main Conflict of Interest Situations 1. The acceptance of gifts of significant value a. It can border on bribery; 2. Moonlighting – Having outside employment other than one’s own public job a. As a public servant, the government expects that you dedicate all your time to yo
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