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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Nelson Wiseman

P OLITICAL C ULTURE Stephen Brooks, Canadian Democracy, Chapter 2, p. 33-73 - We focus a great deal on how we define ourselves relative to Americans - Canadians believe in a more orderly and less individualistic society than Americans - The values and ideologies differ in French-speaking Canada Ideologies, values, and institutions - Ideology spills beyond political beliefs, and usually encompasses other social relationships such as economy - When a society is seen as ‘pragmatic’ it is usually because one ideology has become so established that it is convention - Political culture is ideology as it relates specifically to politics - In Canada political culture has mostly focused on the differences between French and English Canadians, whether English Canada is characterized by regional political cultures, and individual personality which focuses on the comparisons between Canada and the U.S. - Three ways of describing political culture in society ** has become the most useful tool in understanding differences in political and social thought o Left-wing o Right-wing o Centrist/moderate: most people describe themselves as centrist - Features of people on the right o Individualistic o Less gov’t intervention - Features of people on the left o Collectivist o More gov’t intervention to make the free market fair - Those who are right-wing who support ideas of assisted suicide, abortion etc. are called libertarian because they believe in complete freedom of choice/non-intervention from state - Social conservative right-wing individuals support traditional values - Three political ideologies o Socialism o Liberalism o Conservatism - While Canada does have two dominant parties, there are few distinctions between the policies of the two (culture of moderation), they share the value of western liberalism - Classical liberal overtures were enshrined in America’s constitutional documents, took longer to catch on in Canada - Classical conservatism was kept alive in Canada by the Church and British colonial authorities - Major parties who identify themselves as Classical socialists have never emerged as dominant in Canada - These three isms are no longer sufficient to describe the Canadian political landscape o The liberal vs. conservative battle is now more over the defense of minority/group vs. individual rights o The original premises of each of the parties are now antiquated - Modern socialists refer to themselves as social democrats , represent more moderate views Fragment theory - Immigration tended to coincide with ideological epochs in Europe - Canada was built on a society of immigrants—most of whom represented the minorities of European society (minority class, religion, cultural background etc.), “fragments” of European societies - Limitation of fragment theory: doesn’t explain why political culture is pervasive over generations o At what point do immigrants have to assimilate to the established culture? - Canada is a two-fragment society o French-Canada is characterised by feudal characteristics, pre-revolutionary o English Canada was founded by American Loyalists whose liberalism was diluted by conservative political beliefs - This also explained the emergence of Canadian socialism o Liberalism was never an unchallenged political vantage point (there were always two theories at odds) o Social class was not a foreign concept in Canada Formative events - Seymour Martin Lipset - Development in the U.S. has been shaped by revolutionary origins - Development in Canada has been shaped by counter-revolutionary origins o Rejection of Americanization shape the historical landmarks of our country - However, loyalism is not necessarily a conservative ideology (in fact, Canada has demonstrated a greater deference to government in liberal fashion than Americans!) o During the revolutionary period liberalism took on an anti-government tinge in America because of the tyranny associated with the government - Loyalists faced an identity crisis after being cast out of a society whose values they shared (liberal, but not anti-British, they decided to create an identity out of Britishness) - The Revolutionary War  English Canada’s turning point - The Conquest  French Canada’s turning point o Cut off the development of a liberal French bourgeoisie, which meant all power in French-Canada was driven toward the Church - Still a raw nerve for French Canada Economic structures and political ideas - Explains cultural identity as an offshoot of class relations - Institutions change in response to the economic system - Culture and institutions are the embodiments of power relations whose sources lie in the economic system - When the means of disseminating information are controlled by the dominant class, this means cultural mores are determined by them - Protection of social order is chief - False consciousness, especially in how we perceive the nature of equality in our country, is one of the reasons why this theory is perpetuated o To a certain degree these perceptions also fall in line with reality - The political ideas of Canadians Community - Political community: a community of political allegiance alone, free of cultural and racial associations - Canada’s sense of community has always seemed quite fragile - Four major challenges to Canadian political community o French-English relations  Accommodations date back to Quebec Act of 1774  1867 Confederation solidified federalism  After the 1960s separation became a stronger possibility, while the interests of French-Canadians became more difficult to be represented by national bodies o Native demands for self-government o American influence on Canadian culture o Regional tensions  Have never threatened the territorial integrity of Canada - Political violence o Canadians are not accustomed to the presence of violence, or even demonstration, in politics o The greatest presence of violence has been in relation to French-English relations (Riel rebellions, conscription, FLQ) and Aboriginal rights (Oka Crisis) - Public Attitude o Increase support of sovereignty-association (separation with economic ties) o 1980 Referendum: First direct challenge to Canadian political community Freedom - Different conception of freedom in Canada, particularly relative the Americans who value individual rights and freedoms more than we do - Americans also have a general mistrust of their gov’t - Canadians value the freedoms of groups, situationally, over the negative rights of individuals - Canadian visions of freedom require action on the part of the gov’t rather than inaction - The clamp-down on individual freedoms (almost a role-reversal) has happened in response to 9/11 Equality - Tory Loyalist values meant that equality in Canada was less valued - America’s political culture is more egalitarian while Canada’s is more hierarchical o This is no longer true in the modern states - Canadians tend to support equalizing social systems more - Canadians are more likely to value equality of results, whereas Americans are likely to value equality of opportunity - Equality as it relates to group rights rather than individual rights o This leads to more cultural diversity within Canada - Evidence, however, is showing that our picture of being a “mosaic” versus the American “melting-pot” is not as much of a reality as it is perceived - Canada has loosened multicultural policies relating to language (Immigration Act 1998) and gender equality - However, in the area of racial equality Canada continues to have a more egalitarian outlook than the U.S. Citizen expectations for gov’t - Canadians are more likely to rely on the state to take action on issues - They are also less likely to object to state action they dislike - Canadian gov’t does more to redistribute wealth among citizens o Regulate public goods rather than private industries like the American gov’t would - Monarchy vs. mobarchy o The mobarchy is more accustomed to violent tones in society o Canadians prefer stability - Roots of our values o British ties to monarchy (conservatism) - Communitarianism: equal respect for identifiable groups, having the constitutional basis for people to feel like they are a part of Canada o Deep diversity - Have Canadians become emboldened due to the patriation of the Charter? - Social capital, the connections between members of a community and participation in community (politics) How Different are Canadian and American values? - Both Canada and the U.S. have become more progressive and secular - Value differences between the two countries are small, except relating to religious and moral issues - Canadians and Americans are becoming more similar to one another Key Concepts - Ideology: set of interrelated ideas of how a society should operate - Libertarian: people with far-right political beliefs who subscribe to the idea of absolute non- intervention in all aspects of human life - Classical Liberalism: freedom of religious choice, free enterprise, free trade, expression and political association; source of all just rule is people - Classical Conservatism: based on the importance of tradition, human inequality is accepted as part of natural order; source of all just rule is God - Classical Socialism: based on radical egalitarianism, supported role of the state - End of ideology: theory by American sociologist Daniel Bell in 1960’s, said that ideology is no longer an effective way of analysing political fault lines - False consciousness: the inability of the oppressed class to realize their interests - Red Toryism: conservatives who believe it is the gov’t responsibility to be an agent for collective good (gov’t is not just regulatory by interactive and reactive) - Post-materialism: attaches more value to human needs of belonging, self-esteem and personal fulfillment; quality of life issues - Secularization: movement away from religion in the state Key events and dates Evidence of group rights being valued Quebec Act 1774, BNA Act 1867: protection of religious rights and language rights - 1970s: official policies for multiculturalism have existed since the 70s in Canada - 1982: entrenchment of the idea of multiculturalism in the Constitution T HE C ONSTITUTION Canadian Democracy, Chapter 5, p. 127-159  The mere existence of a constitution doesn’t ensure that politics is democratic  E.g. South Africa  Without a constitution, however, the concepts of rights and limited gov’t have no secure protection  Constitution: a fundamental law of a political system  It is fundamental because all other laws must adhere to the constitution in terms of  How they are made  Their substance  A constitution is a necessary tool for democratic politics  Hobbes argued that human nature was a state of chaos and insecurity that demands a constitution for protection  In modern society the alternative to constitution is anarchy  There is no universally agreed-upon means of resolving conflict  In totalitarian states constitutions exist only in name, or not at all  The rules of a constitution deal with two sets of relations:  Between citizens and state  Constitution empowers the state to pass laws on behalf of the community  It also limits power  Distribution of functions and powers between parts of the state  The constitution is often analyzed under three headings 1. The legislature (making the law) 2. The executive (implementing the law) 3. The judiciary (interpreting the law)  The rules governing relations between the regional and federal governments is also part of the Constitution  The rules of a Constitution can take three forms: 1. Written documents 2. The decisions of courts (common law) 3. Unwritten conventions  Constitutional conventions are practices that emerge over time and transition into binding rules of the political system  E.g. the convention that the leader of the part that captures the most seats in a House of Commons election is called on to form a gov’t  In Canada the first two components of the Constitution (written documents and common law) together are considered constitutional law  Constitutional conventions are not enforceable by the courts Constitutional Functions Representation  All modern democracies are representative democracies o Politicians make decisions for those who elect them  Constitutions describe o The basis of political representation o The method by which reps are chosen  Representation by population is based on the principle of one person, one vote o All elected members of the legislature should rep approximately the same number of votes o Allows the preferences of a simple majority to be translated into law o Often tempered by representing regions (e.g.: U.S. allows two senators per state regardless of state size)  Federalism: embodies the principle of territorial representation o Gives regional gov’ts the exclusive right to pass laws on particular subjects  A constitution might also give representation to certain minority groups (e.g.: New Zealand gives seats to Maori minority)  Constitutions establish the methods by which representatives are selected, they use either 1. Election 2. Appointment  In Canada certain officials are elected and some appointed, powers are distributed between them  Canada uses a single-member constituency system o Discourages political parties from appealing to under-represented segments of the population  The alternate is a system of proportional representation o A party’s percentage of popular votes translates to a corresponding share of seats in the legislature o Splinters the party system (extremists find representation in gov’t) Power o A constitution provides the basis for a legitimate exercise of state power o It also limits and divides power o The existence of separate branches of gov’t divides state power between different group of public officials Rights o A right is something a person is entitled to o Democratic constitutions establish the basic right for citizens to choose their own gov’t o Constitution’s guarantee individual rights and legal rights o These rights limit the states power in relation to the individual o They make the power dependent on either  Popular consent (democratic rights)  Individual rights (personal liberty) o Rights may also require the state to either protect or promote their interests o E.g.: right to equal treatment o Constitutions also recognize the special status of particular groups o E.g.: Canada’s constitution declaring French and English to be official languages  This is a positive right Community and Identity o A constitution establishes a community o All members of a particular territory are equally responsible for acting in accordance with its constitution o Carrying the same passport doesn’t always guarantee a sense of community, however o E.g. : Quebec separatists o A constitution may inspire negative or positive feelings  Associated with the members of the political community or the institutions, values and symbols embedded in it National Purpose o The constitutional document that created Canada was the Constitution act, 1867 o Included a number of provisions that embodied a national purpose o The purpose was to build a new country with an integrated economy o The Constitution Act, 1982 commits Ottawa and the provinces to the promotion of equal opportunity and reduction of economic disparity between Canadians Canada’s Constitution o The constitution is essentially a series of laws passed between 1867 and 1982 o The constitution embodies values and principles that are central to the political life of the country o The ‘internal architecture’ o The ‘basic constitutional structure’  Includes: federalism, democracy, constitutionalism, rule of law and respect for minority rights Federalism o The Supreme Court recognizes the diversity of the component parts of the confederation and autonomy of the provincial govt’s o Provinces are not constitutionally subordinate to the federal gov’t , likewise Ottawa is not dependent on the provinces in exercising the laws in its jurisdiction o Constitution divides certain activities between provincial and regional gov’ts o Law-making o Revenue-raising Democracy o One of the fundamental, if unwritten, givens of Canada’s constitutional system o The constitution prior to the inclusion of the Charter in 1982 painted a very different picture of Canada o Democracy wasn’t stated, as it was more of an entrenched idea o It was an assumed aspect of Canada’s political nature o Majority rule is a basic premise of constitutional democracy in Canada o The democratic principle underlying the Charter and the Constitution is linked to substantive goals o Respect for the inherent dignity of every person o Commitment to equality and social justice o Social and cultural diversity (respect for minority group identities, equal opportunity groups) o These views were echoed in the Supreme Court’s 1998 ruling (in relation to Quebec separation) o Democratic gov’t derives its necessary legitimacy from the consent of the governed o Legitimacy of laws is based on moral values embedded in our constitutional structure Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law o The Rule of Law ensures a stable, predictable and ordered society o Guarantees that there is only one law for all persons o The premise is that ours is a government of laws, not of men and women o The constitutionalism principle involves predictable governance o Source is in written rules rather than arbitrary judgement of people o Constitutionalism principle states that Constitution is the supreme law of the land and all gov’t action must conform with the Constitution o Places certain matters relating to rights and freedoms beyond the reach of any gov’t o The pre-Charter constitution was one of parliamentary supremacy o This meant that as long as one level of gov’t didn’t overstep its boundaries, it could do what it liked o Constitutionalism and Rule of Law work to temper the principle of majority rule o Just because something is in majority doesn’t mean it is constitutional Protection of Minorities o History of group rights goes back to the British colonial rule (The Royal Proclamation of 1763) o Also The Quebec Act of 1774 o Double majority principle between Canada East and Canada West (1841-67) o The Constitution Act, 1867, entrenched the principle of minority rights in section 93 and 133 o The Charter further entrenched these as rights o Relationships governed by constitutional rule: 1. Those between individual and state (rights and freedoms) 2. Those between various institutions of gov’t (machinery and process of gov’t) 3. Those between national and regional gov’t (federalism) 4. Rules followed during constitutional change The Charter of Rights and Freedoms o Canada’s Constitution has formal distinctions between (categories set down in the Charter) o Fundamental political freedoms o Democratic rights o Mobility rights o Legal rights o Equality rights o Language rights o The Charter enumerating these rights ensure that o People will turn to the judicial system to protect them o The rights are secure (due to Court’s willingness to strike down laws and practices that go against the Charter guarantees) Fundamental Freedoms o Guaranteed in section 2 of the Charter o Include freedom of o Religion o Belief o Expression o Media o Assembly o Association o These were called political liberties during the pre-Charter era, were part of common law o Securing these rights was a chore o Division of power was used as a tool to secure these rights when they were interfered with Democratic Rights o The basic democratic right is the opportunity to vote in regular elections o Ss. 3-5 of the Charter Mobility Rights F EDERALISM Stephen Brooks, Canadian Democracy, Chapter 7, p.196-231  What is federalism  The constitutional authority to make laws and to tax is divided between a national government and some number of regional governments  Citizens in a federal state are members of two political communities, one national and the other coinciding with the boundaries of the province, state, canton (the name given to regional units of a federal state vary between countries)  Federalism is chiefly a property of constitutions, not of societies  Federalism does not appear to be an intrinsic characteristic of pluralistic societies but of those with federal constitutions  A federal constitution institutionalizes regional divisions by associating them with different governments  Federalism divides political authority along territorial lines  Decentralized placed in the hands of regional officials  Centralized at the national level is determined by the particular social, geographical, and political conditions of a country T HE M ACHINERY OF G OVERNMENT Stephen Brooks, Canadian Democracy, Chapter 8, p. 231-251  Three branches of gov’t coincide with three major functions of democratic governance: o The legislature makes the laws o The executive branch implements the laws
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