But what is private?
Educating one’s children? Abortion? Marriage? Economic Dealings?
The limits of politics are themselves political questions!
What is Government?
Government is the term used to describe the institutions and procedures through which a territory and its people are ruled. We’ll study Canadian government.
Different forms of government are defined by who governs,
and how much government control is permitted.
Forms of government defined by “who governs” include autocracy/monarchy (rule of all by one), oligarchy (rule of the few or elite), and democracy (rule of all by all).
Forms of government defined by the degree of government control include constitutional, authoritarian, and totalitarian governments.
Canada has a liberal-democratic constitutional monarchy
How do we understand government and politics?
A: We use social scientific techniques
Logistics / Announcements
Tutorials are on. You should be going. Next week, they will be focussed on the reading and lectures from THIS week.
The course now has a coursepack of 8 required readings. You should by it at the bookstore(±$17)
there may still be a few web readings in addition
More information on papers is now on the website.
let’s have a look
Tuesday, Jan. 11 from noon-1pm in the Meekinson Arts Space (Buch D140)…
Vancouver Councillor Peter Ladner speaking on
“What’s Happening in Vancouver Civic Politics”
Education in the Middle East
Social science is an attempt to understand human behaviourbydescribing regularities in that behaviour, so that behaviour can be predicted.
And all of that behaviour takes place in society - interpersonally.
economics, political science, sociology, parts of psychology, human anthropology
Standards and goals differ from those of the natural sciences and of the humanities
Social Scientific Terms & Concepts
Theory is the key element of the social scientific enterprise: “a theory is a statement linking specific instances to broader principles.” A story without proper names.
Empirical statements – address the way things are; descriptive. These are necessary before theory.
Normative statements – address the way things should be, judgmental. (relating to “norms” or expectations)
Theories provide explanation and prediction
but they need to be tested if we’re going to trust them to predict behaviour
Political science: study of the political world, its institutions and behavior, in a systematic way
description, explanation, analysis, sometimes prediction. Particular emphasis on the state and individual interaction with the state.
Political science is also analysis and argument about the values, principles, and identities that form the basis for much of political behaviour and the policies of governments (e.g. national identity & unity)
At this point, Political Science doesn’t have overarching theories that have great success at prediction, as in the natural sciences. But understanding of behaviour and institutions has grown.
e.g: cooperation increases when likelihood of future interaction increases
Canadian Political Science
Like other ‘domestic’ political science
Goal is to understand, explain, and predict, and sometimes criticize how Canadian politics and government work.
Preoccupation with unity: Quebec and national identity, regional grievances, political parties as ‘brokers’ keeping the country together, the Charter of Rights as a unifying symbol, multiculturalism, etc.
But also study of citizen behaviour, party organization, elections, media, policy formation, policy effectiveness, political economy, foreign policy, equality and inequality, etc.
Approaches to Political Science – Non-Critical
Pluralist – Approaches to Political Science
groups compete for access (often through parties)
public involvement through interest groups
non-participation is voluntary, indicates satisfaction
elites protect democracy because they understand it
power is dispersed
policy is a result of compromise or ‘brokerage’
Rational Choice –
foundation is self-interest
politicians simply compete for power
they maximize votes by appealing to the ‘median voter’
result is policy that satisfies the median voter
Approaches to Political Science –Critical
Class Analysis –
Often called Marxian political economy (after Marx!)
The ‘State’ and ‘Capital(ism)’ are co-dependent
Welfare, public health care, etc, are ways to keep the “working masses” quiescent (also called ‘legitimation’)
Now, transnational corporations dictate a “race to the bottom” – governments forced to intervene less in the market
State-Centred Approach –
Other three see the State responding to society
State-Centred analysis sees the state as a big, autonomous, self-aggrandizing ‘actor’
Little democratic input; politicians and bureaucrats do what they like
The frame that constrains political discourse and action
The norms and mores of the society
It is what is understood as the values of a society produced through the interaction between political parties, the mass media, civil society, and mass opinion, mediated by a community’s history & self-understanding
Assumptions, often unconscious, that guide political life
It is enduring, stable and cross-generational
It does help us explain national differences
And it helps us predict broad patterns of political outcomes
Pol Culture changes through replacement, conversion, new experiences
Canadian Political Culture: Historical Basis
Anti-democratic/ anti-populist / elitist
Economically dependent (UK, then US)
Reliant on collective provision of well-being: a “Tory Touch”
National projects important to national political & economic development
No “one unified national and cultural tradition” –French/English divide etc.
Patterns of settlement:
French Catholics to Quebec
United Empire Loyalists coming north from American Revolution
Americans in Alberta
working class Brits (to Manit and Sask) with roots in Labour
Southern/Eastern European immigration to Prairies then cities
Later immigration from Caribbean, East Asia, South Asia mostly to big cities
Is any of this still relevant? Differences from the USA due to history?
Regime Principles: Liberty and Equality
Textbook calls these Canada’s “regime principles”
Most political theory/philosophy thesedays involves debate over the relative weight of these two values in cases where liberty and equality clash
For example: what the leaders were talking about:
How do we make public decisions on these matters?
leave it to people to do what they want
parliament (representatives) make laws
Courts say what laws are in line with the Constitution – particularly the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Executive branch (enaction and enforcement of law)
Judical branch (interpretation and adjudication of law)
Federal division of powers
Term of legislative office (when elections must be held)
Limits of Government: Bill of Rights (Canadian Charter)
Other stuff! (e.g. Canada has provisions on religious education)
Contains an amendment formula for the constitution itself
Often a statement of values the community endorses:
“Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law” (texbook p. 250)
Logistics / Announcements
I apologize for the confusion and changes to deadlines, etc.
I have updated information on the website now
1) Changes to paper due dates: week of Feb 7th for first one
submit to turn-it-in AND paper copy to TA in tutorial
2) The turn-it-in course ID is 1234743, password is Canada
3) TA office hours are listed on the tutorials page
4) The schedule has been updated to show topics for all weeks
5) lecture notes for last week AND this week are up
Plus, the coursepack is available. It's about $15.
Example: Charlottetown Accord text on VALUES
This DIDN’T make it into the Constitution!
(1) The Constitution of Canada, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the following characteristics:
(a) Canada is a democracy committed to a parliamentary and federal system of government and to the rule of law;
(b) the Aboriginal peoples of Canada, being the first peoples to govern this land, have the right to promote their languages, cultures and traditions and to ensure the integrity of their societies, and their governments constitute one of the three orders of government in Canada;
(c) Quebec constitutes within Canada a distinct society, which includes a French-speaking majority, a unique culture and a civil law tradition;
(d) Canadians and their governments are committed to the vitality and development of official language minority communities throughout Canada;
(e) Canadians are committed to racial and ethnic equality in a society that includes citizens from many lands who have contributed, continue to contribute, to the building of a strong Canada that reflects its cultural and racial diversity;
(f) Canadians are committed to a respect for individual and collective human rights and freedoms of all people;
(g) Canadians are committed to the equality of female and male persons; and
(h) Canadians confirm the principal of the equality of the provinces at the same time as recognizing their diverse characteristics.
(2) The role of the legislature and government of Quebec to preserve and promote the distinct society of Quebec is affirmed.
The Canadian Constitution –
“The Living Canadian Constitution”
British North America Act (1867)
Parliament of Canada Act (1875)
Statue of Westminster (1931)
BNA Amendment re: Supreme Court (1949)
Constitution Act (1982)
Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Indian Treaties and Aboriginal Land Claims
Conventions such as Responsible Government
(e.g the Cabinet resigns on a loss of confidence)
Judicial Interpretation of Constitution
Organic Statutes: Like the Federal Government’s ‘regional veto’ legislation (Constitutional Amendments Act)
Elements of the Canadian Political System
The TOTAL Constitution: Written and Unwritten
“A Richer Conception of Democracy”
The Crown (the Head of State)
Rule of Law
Supremacy of the Legislature / Responsible Gov’t
Rights and Freedoms
Independent Judiciary / Judicial Review
Rule of Law
What is the opposite of the rule of law?
The arbitrary decisions of a person or group of persons
Decisions about rules after the fact
So the Rule of Law involves “Procedural Justice”
Power exercised according to rules
But… law approved by the legislature can’t do everything
For example, it can’t make the determination of whether a person has been trying to find a job while receiving employment insurance
Or whether a business is complying with employment standards
Real people are authorized by law to make regulations, determine procedures, make case-by-case decisions. In Canada: Ministers of the Crown.
e.g. How much alcohol in blood is safe for driving
whether the value of a bottle of wine donated to charity is reasonable
So the “rule of law” also means that these decisions, too,
are to be done equally, fairly, with evidence, and with procedures for appeal
Canada is a constitutional monarchy
The Queen is the Head of State
the ultimate authority to choose who exercises power
The collective power of the political community is represented in The Crown
So we have Governor General, Crown Attorneys, Crown Land, Royal Commissions, Throne Speech, etc.
The power of the Crown has to be directed by some set of people: The Queen’s Privy Council for Canada
(and the provinces’ Privy Councils)
In practice this means the Prime Minister & Cabinet
The independent judiciary is also part of the Crown
… But that means they are responsible for everything government does
In practice, this means the members of the governing political party
and especially the Prime Minister and Cabinet, who are collectively responsible to the legislature
Cabinet Ministers are responsible for the actions of everyone in their department
A way to change this so-called “supreme law”
it has to be at least somewhat flexible to respond to changing circumstances and changing preferences
trade-off is flexibility versus unanimity/consensus
Ours is federal – it involves the consent of provinces
Consensus seems natural, but this gives veto power to sometimes very small players (PEI, pop. 130,000)
So… Canada’s General Formula:
7 provinces with at least 50% of Cdn population
TREMENDOUSLY IMPORTANT IN CANADA
one reason it took so long to get the Constitution patriated
so much subtlety: more than 5 different formulas!
Amending Formula: Example
Meech Lake agreement to recognize Quebec failed because it wanted to change the amending formula
Quebec wanted ‘distinct society’
But it also wanted veto power over (section 42):
(a) the principle of proportionate representation of the provinces in the House of Commons prescribed by the Constitution of Canada;
(b) the powers of the Senate and the method of selecting Senators;
(c) the number of members by which a province is entitled to be represented in the Senate and the residence qualifications of Senators;
(d) subject to paragraph 41(d), the Supreme Court of Canada;
(e) the extension of existing provinces into the territories; and
(f) notwithstanding any other law or practice, the establishment of new provinces;
So that meant the Meech Lake agreement needed UNANIMOUS CONSENT FROM ALL PROVINCES
That’s where it met it’s downfall
UBC POLI 101
“In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”
James Madison, 1788
Responsible Gov’t / Supremacy of Legislature
The legislatures can make any law they choose
But that means they are responsible for everything government does or does not do
But how can we hold 308 separate people responsible?
We don’t. Instead, we select a government from these 308
the US does not have a government in the same sense! More later.
Government in practice means the members of the governing political party
but even that’s too many separate people
So the government is the Queen’s Privy Council:
the Cabinet and especially the Prime Minister
It’s these characters who are collectively responsible to the legislature
Cabinet Ministers are individually responsible for the actions of everyone in their department – in a more legal sense
Canada’s ‘Fusion of Powers’
Theoretically, executive and legislative branches are distinct
Executive: power to propose and then implement and enforce law
Legislative: power to accept (pass), change (amend), or reject laws proposed by the executive
and to oversee what the executive does as it implements laws
e.g. US system and the Auditor General of Canada
the executive is the Cabinet (Queen’s Privy Council),
the legislative is the House of Commons AND Senate
THESE ARE THE SAME PEOPLE!!!
or, at least, the members of the executive are drawn from the legislature
Canada’s ‘Fusion of Powers’ – Cabinet in Parliament
In Canada’s Westminster System, the executive (Cabinet) is always part of the legislative – it is selected from the legislature by the Crown
The identity of the Cabinet is determined by the legislative:
Cabinet is responsible to the Members of Parliament
technically, if MPs don’t like the Cabinet, they can throw them out
but really the other way around: PM gets to pick Cabinet Ministers because…
In practice, the Prime Minister is the leader of the party getting the most seats. The Governor General “asks him/her to form a government”
it focusses on accountability of Ministers and Public Servants
4 paper topics up
1st paper due week of Feb 7th Can be on either the Constitution questions or the Responsible Government questions
Answer the question, but in a balanced way:
Take a position, but consider the other side
Or, just take a compromise position!
The real content, the way you should answer,
should be exploring and analyzing the:
behaviour of the actors involved (parties, individuals, governments, civil servants, citizens, non-governmental organizations, interest groups, etc.)
changes to the system and its institutions that would alter behaviour and thus alter the results or consequences of that behaviour
the desirability of certain goals and values
Define your terms clearly, but don’t waste a whole lot of space on this
Don’t waste a page on intro and a page on conclusion
write the paper as an answer to the question and then write a one-paragraph intro and one-paragraph conclusion when you’re done!
Look at the style in section 3.7 of the texbook…
Try to write like that, except with a bit more of an argument/answer
Question: Is the Prime Minister too powerful? What can be done about it?
… Within the federal government, the PM defines the agenda and ultimately makes the important policy decisions. The fact that he/she controls appointments in his/her party means that other members of the governing party will try to please the PM, keeping their mouths shut if they disagree…
The federal system in Canada, however, provides a check against the power of the Prime Minister. …
Contrast with the USA: Separation of Powers
The Americans wanted to keep the executive and legislature from getting together and using their combined power to oppress the people
So they set them up in competition with one another
President directly elected; bureaucracy under his thumb
Congress is elected independently
They have to agree for laws to be passed
The legislature (Congress) then has to monitor the bureaucracy to make sure that it enforces those laws
The Logic of Responsible Government:
Delegation and Accountability
We need to delegate decision-making and enforcement to a small group (law-makers, law-enforcers)
We want that group to always do what we would do if we were all making the decision
So we must make it in their self-interest to do what we would do (what we want done) – we create incentives for them
First, we make it worth their while to do it (income)
Then we hold them accountable: We threaten to take their power away if they
do stuff in their interest rather than in our interest
or let the people the get to do the work (civil servants) get out of hand
doing what they themselves prefer
or just “shirking” – not doing their jobs, performing services we pay for
We delegate this power to our representatives
a. Our representatives can stop them before they do that stuff
b. Our representatives can remove them afterwards
If our representatives don’t do this for us, we can remove the representatives themselves!
Diagram of Delegation and Accountability
We could bend this into a circle
The key here is information
how much effort should/can each one spend in monitoring the people it is supposed to monitor
might each one try to keep real information about its activities away from the authorities that are supposed to monitor it
might they all decide to blur the responsibility so they can all get away with things
Example: APEC Demonstrations HERE at UBC!
Police used too much force against protestors
Who is responsible? Who do we punish?
Minister responsible: Solicitor General
Political apointees in the Prime Minister’s Office
Later? Our representatives for not watching the PM or the minister closely enough?
Problems at each step with information and identities
In 1991 Jean Chretien told the Commons: "I would like to tell the people of Canada that there will be one thing: when we form a government, that every one Minister in the Cabinet that I will be presiding; will have to take the full responsibility of what's going on in his office. And if there's some bungling in the department, nobody will be singled out, but the Minister will have to take the responsibility.
"And if there are errors, some might be moved. But the people who cannot defend themselves [civil servants] will not be singled out, hanging out there in front of the public. It is shameful. It is an indignity that we have not seen in Canada since a long time and it's why I stood today. Because if the system of Ministerial responsibility and integrity is not respected; if Ministers cannot anymore go home and look at themselves in the mirror and say do I have the trust of my employees; do I have the trust of the people of Canada; if they cannot do that because they want to keep their little jobs, people will never -- have never anymore confidence in public service in Canada.“
"I think one of the major changes over the last decade or more has been the extent to which basically Prime Minister Chretien has got contempt for parliament itself and for the parliamentary committees," Robinson says. "At least Mulroney -- and I never thought I'd say this -- but at least Mulroney understood and respected the fact that we had a role, as members of parliament; as opposition members of parliament and government members of parliament, to try and get at the truth.“ – Svend Robinson, NDP MP for Burnaby Douglas
UBC POLI 101
The Government of Canada
The Federal System
(not Constitutional Mega-Politics)
Separate “orders of government” defined by the Constitution
But not Confederalism: where the higher-level assembly is made up of representatives of governments not representatives of the people
US Senate, originally
Division of Powers - Constitutionalized
Neither can change this unilaterally
Disputes go to a third party – the Supreme Court
General support in the political culture for the existence of multiple levels of government …
Canadians Like Co-operation – But They’re Confused
Why Federalism? (but Vernon reading doesn’t buy them!)
Prevention of tyranny
Division of sovereignty – tempers Parliamentary Supremacy
“Multiplication of factions” – Madison
Information about citizens’ preferences more reliable
Service delivery more cost-effective
Representation closer to the people (more democratic)
Citizens shop for ‘bundles of services’
Geographical variation in preferences
In Canada: the accomodation of ethno-cultural difference
Recruitment of leaders through the levels of gov’t
36. (1) Without altering the legislative authority of Parliament or of the provincial legislatures, or the rights of any of them with respect to the exercise of their legislative authority, Parliament and the legislatures, together with the government of Canada and the provincial governments, are committed to
(a) promoting equal opportunities for the well-being of Canadians;
(b) furthering the economic development to reduce disparity in opportunities; and
(c) providing essential public services of reasonable quality to all Canadians.
(2) Parliament and the government of Canada are committed to the principle of making equalization payments to ensure that provincial governments have sufficient revenues to provide reasonably comparable levels of public services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation.(19)
Block Grants (federal $ to provinces)
replace federal spending power
lets provinces set relative priority of health, educ, welfare
Development of Canadian Federalism 1 – Confederation +
Reasons for Federalism in 1867:
Deadlock of United Canada’s – “Double Majority” stalemate
Quebec – desire for constitutional guarantee of control over language, education, culture, civil law, religion
Martimes – wanted self-government, feeling of distinct political culture, different economic interests
“we have avoided all conflict of jurisdiction and authority”
– Sir John A. Macdonald
Constitutional Division of Powers
Remember, federalism is a situation where neither government can infringe on the other’s powers
But in Canada, at the beginning…
Paramountcy – federal gov’t laws stand in case of conflict
Reservation and Disallowance
Residual Power of the federal government
Declaratory Power (public works for national benefit)
Unequal power of taxation Federal Spending Power
Federal appointment of judges
First PM John A. Macdonald thought of the provinces as colonies
Development of Canadian Federalism 2 – to 1949
Post-1867 Empowerment of Provinces
Provinces’ Rights, Strong Premiers – Compact Theory
Judicial decisions undermined residual power
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) in Britain
Limited federal powers to those enumerated in s.91
POGG limited to matters not covered in s. 91&92 (Local Prohibition case - 1896) and to an “emergency power” (Fort Frances case - 1922)
Generous interpretation of provincial “property and civil rights” and “all matters of a merely local or private nature in the prov”; with a limited interpretation of federal “trade and commerce” power (unlike USA)
Swing back to centralization, but against JCPC resistance
WWI – federal War Measures Act, temporary centraliztion
Depression: JCPC says not an emergency, so POGG can’t justify federal ‘New Deal’ social programs: welfare, unemployment insurance, pensions, etc.
WWII intervenes and provides the emergency the federal government needs, as well as an economic solution
Quebec opts-out of Canada Pension Plan and Tax Sharing
start of ‘asymmetrical federalism’
Development of Canadian Federalism 3 – Post-War
1940 amendment adding unemployment insurance to fed.
1949 Elimination of Appeals to the JCPC in Britain
Growth of the Spending Power – Shared Cost Programs
Problems with Shared Cost Programs:
undermines provincial independence
Growth of both levels of government, so less conflict
Tax sharing, tax ‘rental’
But… Equalization allowed provinces to provide similar services
Co-operative federalism: so many problems and opportunities were new and not provided for in the constitution – so negotiation became the rule