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Polsci 2D03 - Week 5.docx - Canadian Democracy Political...

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Canadian DemocracyPolitical Executive in CanadaPolitical Executive and MPs-Prime Ministers-Cabinet-Central Agencies-DemocracyPrior to an Election-Where there are numerous fundraising limitations and advertising guidelines and the requirement to hold nomination process for candidates; there are no such rules guiding party behaviour. -Leader of each party signs the nomination papers for each candidate representing the party.-This dates back to the introduction of party labels on the ballot.-Fear of refusal for MPs in ‘safe’ ridings served to increase power of the PM and reinforce party discipline.-People can run as independent candidates, but their success rate is dramatically lower.The Crown-Although the crown is largely ceremonial, it is not entirely without merit.-The speech from the Throne sets the agenda-which is followed by 6 days of debate.-Governments also use royal commissions to investigate important matters. These commissions are independent (e.g. Romanow Commission on Health Care).Head of Government a Cabinet Maker-The Prime Minister is the head of government-Determine who is in the cabinet, as well as the size of the cabinet-Cabinets have blossomed over timeoIn 1869 under John A. Macdonald the cabinet was 11.oBy 1920 it grew to around 20, until the mid 50 were again it expanded to mid 20sunder Pearson.oOnly to grow again under Trudeau to 37, and then to 39 a record set by Mulroney.oThe Harper government had 39, and the Trudeau government 35, 18 men and 17women.Cabinet is assisted by Deputy Minister-The appointment of deputy ministers also affords the PM a great deal of power. -Many are experts in their areas – unlike ministers – and can stay on even after governments change. -Clerks have a say in DMs as well.
-Ministers only meet their DMs for a couple hours a week. The rest of the time they run the government show. -Some ministers are exceptions—namely finance who probably spends 3-4 daily with his DM. -DMs spend twice as much time with peers than ministers do. Cabinet dominates legislative agenda-Section 54 of the Constitutional Act of 1867 requires any legislation involving money must be introduced by cabinet.-MPs who are not part of cabinet can introduce legislation, instead these initiatives are confined to private members bills.-Private members legislation has very little time allotted in the House.-Party discipline works to impede the success of many of these initiatives.-Historically, private members bills are introduced to make a point or draw public attention.Mandate Letter-PCO prepares mandate letters to ministers when they take on their respective portfolios-Mandate letter is usually a two-page document that varies depending on the minister-Trudeau made a point to make these public as a means to usher in a new era of transparency-Newcomer’s letter includes basic information including conflict of interest, whereas a veteran would receive less procedural direction, and instead it would outline the areas that they should focus on-

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Term
Fall
Professor
Heather Bastedo
Tags
Government, Presidential system, Pierre Trudeau, Queen s Privy Council for Canada

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