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POL214Y1 (24)
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Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL214Y1
Professor
Victoria Wohl

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POL 214 Canadian Government and Politics
Chapter 5 The Constitution
Existence of constitution doesnt automatically guarantee that the gov. is
democratic
# PRC doesnt have democracy
# In Canada it did not prevent the federal government from depriving
Japanese immigrants of rights during WWII
! Forced sterilization of mentally retarded in Albert in the 1950s
Constitution: fundamental law of a political system
# Other laws conform to it based on how and their substance
# Hobbes state of nature is a state of chaos in which no individual could
feel secure in the possession of property or life
! This is why people demand constitution
Alternative in this day is anarchy or totalitarianism
# Many opted for this when the Soviet Union dissolved
# Anarchy- no generally accepted ways of doing things. The state doesn’t
exist
# Totalitarianism state exists but it has unlimited power
! Social and economic life are subordinate to it
2 sets of relations when making a constitution
# Citizens and the state
! Empowers the state to act and pass laws on behalf of community
! Limits power
# Distribution of functions and power b/w different parts of the state
! Mechanism:
" Legislature (makes the laws)
" Executive (implements them)
" Judiciary (interprets them)
! Canada law making powers are split between national and provincial
governments
Before 1982 (when the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was implemented)
rights of citizens were defined by courts in terms of federal and provincial
legislative powers
Set of rules that govern political life
# Written common law (decisions of courts) ! constitutional law
# Unwritten constitutional conventions ! those practices that emerge
over time and are generally accepted as binding rules of the political
system
# Conventions are not enforceable by law
CONSTITUTIONAL FUNCTIONS
REPRESENTAION
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# Politicians make decisions on behalf of people who elected them
# Basis of political representation as well as the method by which
representatives are chosen
! By population, territory or by groups
! Rep by pop one person one vote ! majority authority
! Representation in America and Canada is by region:
" Ontario, Quebec, Maritime and western 24 votes
" Newfoundland 6
" Northern territories 3
# Federalism territorial representation. Regional governments are given
exclusive rights to pass law on specific subjects
# Reformers Canada should have reserved seats for women and
aboriginal activists
! Defeated 1922 Charlottetown Accord would ensure that Quebec
would maintain ! of all seats in house of commons
# Constitution establishes the way the holders of office are selected
! Election and appointment
! Judiciary are usually appointed for life
! Elected legislature democratic trademark
! Most divide power b/w appointed and elected (UK, Germany and
Canada)
# System of proportional representation different effect
! Splintering of party system and direct representation of interests
(orthodox Jews and environmentalists)
" In Canada they have to depend on non electoral means
POWER
# State is empower to act and that its action may be backed by the full
weight of public authority
# Limits and divides power
! Elections held periodically
RIGHTS
# At a minimum- democratic constitution establishes basic right to choose
their government
! Free speech, association, religion and conscience, freedom from
arbitrary detention and illegal search seizure.
! Democratic rights power dependent on popular consent
! Personal libertyindividual’s right not to be interfered with by the
state
# States required to protect and pursue the interests of the people
! Equal treatment
" Affirmative action, racial desegregation
# May recognize the special status of certain groups
! Both English and French are official languages
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! Positive rights
! Israel is Jewish, Iran is Muslim, British is church of England
Community and Identity
# Pierre Trudeau a nation is not more and no less than the entire
population of a sovereign state
! Constitution establishes community
! Governs political life in a particular territory
# Sense of community
! Sentiment that transcends the cold, formal ties of common
citizenship
! May inspire positive or negative feelings- or people are indifferent
" Political symbols, values history embedded within the constitution
# Official bilingualism and constitutional proposals which recognize
Quebec as a distinct identity are divisive
! Charter of Rights and Freedoms units
NATIONAL PURPOSE
# When the Quebec City was established it operated under the assumption
of it being Catholic
! Communal goal, sense of purpose and direction for society
# Peoples Republic of China
! Social society
# Iran and Pakistan Islamic Republics
# The Constitution Act of 1867, ! national purpose
! Integrated economy, prohibition of trade barriers, constitutional
commitment to intercolonial Railway
! Hard to know if they are just symbolic or if they have practical
significance
Canada’s Constitution
# Fairly lengthy longer and more detailed than the American one
# Most of the fundamental rules are written
# Some of whats written is outrageously outdates
# Embodies values and principles that are central to the political life of the
country
Federalism
# Recognizes the diversity of the components parts of confederation and
the autonomy of provincial governments to develop societies within their
jurisdiction spheres
Democracy
# Fundamental, if unwritten
# Remarkably silent when it came to speaking of the rights of citizens
www.notesolution.com

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Description
POL 214 Canadian Government and Politics Chapter 5 The Constitution Existence of constitution doesnt automatically guarantee that the gov. is democratic PRC doesnt have democracy In Canada it did not prevent the federal government from depriving Japanese immigrants of rights during WWII Forced sterilization of mentally retarded in Albert in the 1950s Constitution: fundamental law of a political system Other laws conform to it based on how and their substance Hobbes state of nature is a state of chaos in which no individual could feel secure in the possession of property or life This is why people demand constitution Alternative in this day is anarchy or totalitarianism Many opted for this when the Soviet Union dissolved Anarchy- no generally accepted ways of doing things. The state doesnt exist Totalitarianism state exists but it has unlimited power Social and economic life are subordinate to it 2 sets of relations when making a constitution Citizens and the state Empowers the state to act and pass laws on behalf of community Limits power Distribution of functions and power bw different parts of the state Mechanism: Legislature (makes the laws) Executive (implements them) Judiciary (interprets them) Canada law making powers are split between national and provincial governments Before 1982 (when the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was implemented) rights of citizens were defined by courts in terms of federal and provincial legislative powers Set of rules that govern political life Written common law (decisions of courts) constitutional law Unwritten constitutional conventions those practices that emerge over time and are generally accepted as binding rules of the political system Conventions are not enforceable by law CONSTITUTIONAL FUNCTIONS REPRESENTAION www.notesolution.com
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