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Poli Sci 1020 Ch 9 Parliamentary Systems

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Political Science
Political Science 1020E

THE PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT Question: What is a system of governance? PRESIDENTIAL AND PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEMS: A group of interacting, interrelated and interdependent elements that work together (or against each other) to exercise economic, political and administrative authority to manage a country’s affairs at all levels. Together, it works to manage and implement a whole set of government activities dealing with the creation and implementation of laws, regulations and decisions of the Government and the management related to the provision of public services.(1) Governance derives from the Greek word ‘steer’, it was first used in a metaphorical sense by Plato. (1) United Nations Development Programme, Democratic Governance Gruope, Public administration practice note, Bureau for Development Policy, 2003. THE PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM a system of governing in which there is a close relationship between the political executive and the parliament. The executive is generally composed of members of the House of Commons (the elected parliamentary body) and must maintain the support of the House of Commons. Political Executive The Prime Minister and Cabinet of Parliament (legislative or law making body) * proposes the laws that are subsequently passed by Parliament. * presents the government’s spending and taxing plans for Responsible government Parliament’s approval. * responsible for overseeing the Where the political executive (prime minister and Cabinet) is accountable to Parliament for implementation and its actions based on the principle that the administration of the laws political executive must retain the support of passed by Parliament and for the elected members of Parliament to remain making the day-to-day governing decisions. in office. Question: What happens when the political executive loses the support of the House? Head of State (Governor General) Mostly ceremonial position as the official representative of the state. In a parliamentary system, the head of state in not usually involved in making governing decisions but is responsble to ensure that a legitimate government is in place. Countries like: Austria, Ireland and Israel have Presidents that have roles that function much like those of our Governor General.These are elected but the members of the national Parliament as well as sometimes other regional representatives. In other countries with a parliamentary system, the role is carried out by a hereditary monarch (United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands). Democratic countries that retain the monarch as the head of state are referred to as constitutional monarchies. Origin: Governor General as the Monarch’s Vice-Regal, or viceroy. A royal official who runs a country, colony or province in the name of, and as a representative of, the Monarch. The term derives from Latin ‘vice’, in place of and roy, king. Since the 1950s, the title Governor General has been given to all representatives of the sovereign in independent Commonwealth realms. The nature of the office became an entirely independent constitutional representative of the monarch rather than a symbol of previous colonial rule. Prime Minister The Prime Minister is the leader of the executive side of government and is usually responsible for choosing the Cabinet. In Canada, the prime minister is the head of the Canadian government while the heads of provincial governments are known as premiers. the Cabinet Are members of the political executive. Led by the prime Minister, they are responsible for running a government department. MAJORITY, MINORITY AND COALITION GOVERNMENTS A majority government is one where the prime minister’s party has a majority of elected seats in the House of Commons. Thus, a single party forms the government. A minority government is where the prime minister’s party does not have the majority of seats in the House of Commons, so has to gain the support of one or more parties to pass legislation and to stay in office. Question: how many votes would any one Canadian political party need to win a majority in the next elections? If we were to have a federal vote now, what would happen? Alternatively, if no one party has a majority of seats, a coalition government consisting of two or more political parties may be formed. Negotiations are held between coalition partners to determine which Cabinet positions each party will receive and the policies the government will pursue. Germany Belgium Finland India Israel Japan Australia United Kingdom Pakistan Question: what’s the alternative? Types of Parliamentary Systems Westminster Model – classic, featured in the United Kingdom. Power is concentrated in the Prime Minister and Cabinet and there is an adversarial relationship between the government parties and opposition parties. Consensus model - power is shared among the Executive and the parliament. Decision-making involvement takes place by a variety of different political parties representing diverse segments of the population. Usually seen in coalition governments Lijphart THE CANADIAN PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM A Westminster model with checks: the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the power of judicial review exercised by the courts place limits on what the Canadian government can do, even when backed with the majority of Parliament. The prime minister and Cabinet normally control the dominant party in the House of Commons. The system is one of executive dominance: it places considerable power in the hands of the prime minister and Cabinet. THE PRIME MINISTER Determines who is to be appointed to Cabinet and what their responsibilities will be. The pm can change responsibilities or demand a resignation at any time. Chairs Cabinet meetings, sets the agenda for those meetings and determines the consensus of the Cabinet. Leads his or her party. They take on responsibility for their party’s election campaigns and play a leading role in defending the government in the House of Commons. They do not run a particular department of government, they normally pay a leading role in representing the country at international meetings, in federal-provincial relations and in constitutional negotiations with the CANADA’S GG In Canada’s case, it is a constitutional monarchy in that our ultimate head of state is the Queen of England. Queen Elizabeth’s roles have been delegated to the governor general at the national level and to lieutenant- governors at the provincial level. These are appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the Canadian prime minister for a five-year term (sometimes extended for a year or two). Question: who is the Canada’s GG? David Johnston There are two instutitions that help the prime minister carry out his or her duties: The Privy Council Office and the Prime Minister’s Office The PRIVY COUNCIL OFFICE (PCO) Has a key role in coordinating and directing the activities of government and in providing policy advice to the prime minister. The PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE (PMO) Staffed with loyal supporters, provides secretarial support (scheduling appointments, handling coorespondence) and political advice to the prime minister, such as partisan strategy, speech writing, managing the media, making recommendations concerning patronage appointments, maintaining party unity and loyalty. CABINET The prime minister selects the members of Cabinet. Political considerations that affect choices include: G
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