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Chapter 8

POL214Y1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Treasury Board Secretariat, Responsible Government


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL214Y1
Professor
Victoria Wohl
Chapter
8

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! Most people expect bureaucracy should be representative of the
population it serves
! Not realistic or desirable to expect political neutrality
! Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982- welcomed by those who
thought judges were more reliable in protected rights and promote
democracy
The Executive Branch
! The Monarch and Governor General
! Queen Elizabeth II
" Responsible for appointing the Governor General [Michaelle
Jean]
! Mainly symbolic functions, the real decision making powers are
exercised by the Prime Minister [head of cabinet and government]
! Constitutional convention is far more important that the discretion
of the monarch in cases such as the selection of PM and dissolution
of Parliament
" When one party wins majority, the choice of PM is automatic
" If no majority, the party with more seats, leader of that party
given the chance to try and form a government
" If no support, then monarchs representative may turn to the
leader of another party
(a) Ontario 1985 after provincial election
! 1926 Governor General Lord Byng refused PM Mackenzie Kings
request for a new election
" Gov gen is now required to accept the advice’ of PM
! No significant role in setting the agenda or in the subsequent
decision making process
! James Mallory, “the monarchy denies to political leaders the full
splendor of their power and the excessive aggrandizement of their
persons which come from the undisturbed occupancy of the centre
of the stage’
! In the British system no checks and balances
! Irritating reminder of colonial ties - Quebec
! Failure of Meech Lake Accord in 1990
! Not averse from wading into potentially controversial waters
" Governor General Adrienne Clarkson (1999-2005) gay marriage
support
! The Prime Minister and the Cabinet
! At the center of the decision making process
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! PM- leader of the dominant party in the house of commons
" Duties to select the people who will be cabinet ministers
" Usually other elected members in the HofC
! Federal cabinet is 20-40 members
! Constitution Act, 1867 section 11
" There shall be a Council to aid and advise the Government of
Canada, to be styled the Queens Privy Council for Canada
" Section 13- the actions of the monarchs rep in Canada shall be
undertaken by and with the Advice of the QPC
" QPC cabinet
" Powers - Control over the budget- dominates the entire
legislative agenda of Parliament [even not about money]
! Constitutional Conventions
" PM has the power to decide on
(a) Who will be appointed to, or removed from Cabinet
(b) When a new election will be held
(c) The administrative structure and decision making process of
government
(d) The selection of persons to a wide array of appointive
positions [deputy ministers, judges, senators, etc]
" Accountability
(a) Opposing parties and the media ensure that the PM takes
the heat for the overall performance of government and for
all major policies
" Responsible government
(a) Encourages party discipline- tend to act as a unified block on
most matters and ensures that members of the governing
party will normally be submissive in their support of gov.
policies.
(b) If the majority holds most in both senate and h of c, then
backbenchers are blocked
" Weakness of Canadas political party organizations
(a) Parties [Conservative or Liberal] are more about raising
money, selecting candidates and contesting elections than
they are about formulating policies
(b) Usually have little influence on the policies adopted
(i) Broad base of support
(ii) Absence of formal affiliations b/w parties and organized
interests
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