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Chapter 10: The Citizen and Government
The political part includes candidates who want to be elected as Members of Parliament (MPs). When a group of candidates work together, they form a political party. There are many political parties in Canada.
Who can vote? To vote you must be: • a Canadian citizen • at least 18 years of age • your name must be on the list of electors
Public opinion polls Half (50%) Believe ‘Schools Less Safe’ One third (35%) cite Lenient, Absent, or Poor Parenting as Primary Cause of Violence in Public Schools; Almost Half (44%) Believe School Board Policies on School Violence ‘Too Lenient’ While Two Thirds (65%) Believe in Hand Gun and Long gun Registry, just 38% Agree with Automatic 10 year Sentence for those caught with non-registered Handguns
• Federal Landscape At One Month After Election • Tory Surge In Quebec (34%, +9 Points) Would Now Likely Yield Conservative Majority Conservatives And Bloc Quebecois (36%, -6 Points) Now in Virtual Tie In This Province • Nationally, Conservatives (39%, +3 Points Since Election Day), Liberals (27%, -3 Points), NDP (20%, +3 Points) • February 23, 2006
Election campaign process 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Dissolution Nomination Enumeration Campaigning Balloting Tabulation
The organizational part includes all the people who work for Elections Canada with the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO). They help you vote but do not tell you for whom to vote.
Dissolution • Parliament is dissolved • An election date is set • The prime Minister asks the Governor. General to dissolve Parliament Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, meets with the Right Honourable Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada, on Tuesday, November 29, 2005. During their discussion, the Prime Minister asked the Governor General to dissolve Parliament, to which she agreed.
Nomination Trudeau wins Montreal riding nomination Last Updated: Monday, April 30, 2007 | 5: 22 AM ET Justin Trudeau, the eldest son of Pierre Trudeau, will run for the Liberals in the Montreal riding of Papineau. Party members in the east-end Montreal riding gave Trudeau, 35, a slim victory on Sunday for the nomination over two rivals on the first ballot. Needing 634 votes to win, he received 690 from voting members, or 54 per cent. His two opponents, Montreal city councillor Mary Deros and former city councillor Basilio Giordano received 350 and 220 respectively. "For me, to represent people who represent the future of Canada and the great challenges we will face over the coming decades — this is where I wanted to start, " Trudeau said after his victory. His opponents had complained that Trudeau — whose first home was 24 Sussex Drive and who grew up in luxury — had no connection with the gritty, blue-collar Papineau district. Justin Trudeau celebrates the results of the vote to select the Liberal candidate for Montreal's Papineau riding on Sunday. (Peter Mc. Cabe/Canadian Press)
Enumeration In April 1997, door-to-door enumeration – the traditional method of compiling voter lists – was replaced by the National Register of Electors (a permanent voters list). Although the new system is more cost-efficient, some critics suggest that it contributes to the disengagement of citizens from the electoral process. First, difficulties have been encountered with respect to accuracy; given people’s increased mobility in modern society, many voters are absent from voter lists at election time due to relocation. In such situations, the onus of registering is placed on the voter, who may not have time to track down the local Elections Canada office. Second, many observers believe that because the door-to-door enumeration process is more personal, it heightens a voter’s sense of awareness and civic duty in a way that receiving a notice in the mail cannot. Against these arguments, door-to-door enumeration is costly and time-consuming; the minimum length of an election campaign would have to be extended to accommodate the additional time needed for enumeration. It is also increasingly difficult to find enumerators, and many people may not be home when enumerators call or may be reluctant to answer the door to strangers.
Tabulation Due to the time difference, most Eastern votes are counted before BC’s polls close – results are not broadcast until 8: 00 our time
Results Harper sworn in as 22 nd prime minister Stephen Harper was sworn in as Canada's 22 nd prime minister on Monday, 14 days after his party's narrow victory paved the way for the first Conservative government since 1993. He later said Parliament would reconvene on April 3. January 23 rd 2006
In an election, I have to make a choice. I must choose a person to help run Canada's government, a person to represent me.
I can find out about the candidates by listening to the radio, reading the newspapers, watching TV and talking to friends and family members. I will take the time I need to make my choice.
I can find the address of my polling station on my notice of Confirmation of Registration. It also tells me what time the polling station is open.
Inside the polling station, I look for a ballot box with the number that matches the number on my notice of Confirmation of Registration, so I know I am in the right place.
I give my notice to the poll clerk. It has my name and address on it. Or I just give my name and address to the poll clerk, so the poll clerk knows who I am. The poll clerk has a list of electors. The poll clerk will find my name on the list. The poll clerk will cross my name off the list to show that I have come to vote. The deputy returning officer will give me a ballot that is folded.
I take my ballot behind the voting screen. No one can see how I vote. There is a pencil there for me to use. I open the ballot so all the names of the candidates show. If I need help to mark my ballot, I may bring a friend or family member or I can ask the deputy returning officer. I find the name of the candidate I want
Voting is Secret No one can force you to vote for a particular candidate on the ballot. No one can force you to tell whom you voted for or are going to vote for. The law makes sure that the vote is SECRET.
Minority/majority governments Canada has a first-past-the-post electoral system. There are four major parties, the Conservatives, Liberals, New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Bloc Québécois (BQ). The BQ runs only in Quebec, while the other three run in all 308 electoral ridings. The party with the most seats nationally wins government, with their leader becoming Prime Minister.
• A majority government is one where the victorious party holds more than 50% of the seats. Canada’s parliament with 308 seats cut in half is 154. A majority government would be considered a minimum of 155 seats. • The one major disadvantage to a majority government would be that there’s only one agenda being heard. The party in power has to listen to the opposition, but they don’t have to work with them or use their ideas. A majority government is considered more stable, because there isn’t the constant threat of an election.
• The other possibility is a minority government. A minority government is where one party doesn’t win the seats necessary for a majority (155), but still wins more than their competitors. • A minority government is more complex because the opposition parties control the majority of the seats. The government has to work with them, and often compromise by passing pieces of their agenda in exchange for confidence. • When the government loses confidence, it means that all opposition parties have voted against them. • Minority governments are often seen as less stable, although many like the fact that the government has to consider suggestions from other parties
Why Do We Need Government? A government : - is the structure that individuals set up with others to enable them to do what they cannot do on their own. - provides order, protection of property and lives - makes a set of rules that allow individual members in society to live together in peace and security - makes sure these rules are obeyed - the question is: What are the rules? ? ?
Government, Freedom and Equality • Freedom - the belief that the rights of individuals are important • Equality - the belief that individuals have rights to be dealt with in the same way • Intellectual Freedom - Rights of individual to believe in and think about what they wish • Intellectual Equality - protects society from unacceptable expression of intellectual freedom • Economic Freedom - the right to own property, run a business, invest money, or advertise products. • Economic Equality - the right of everyone to have an adequate level of good, clothing and shelter
What are the five significant political ideologies that exist today? • • • communism socialism liberalism conservatism fascism
The Main Differences Between Right and Left Wing Ideologies? Left wing ideologies are often times more supportive of progress and change, whereas right wing ideologies often support tradition and less change.
What is Democracy? · Where people have a say in who rules the nation ·Conservatism, liberalism, communism (theoretically) and socialism are all democratic, but each of the above have differing interpretations of democracy.
What is Totalitarianism? · government that is in complete control of all aspects of daily life in the nation ·fascism and communism (in current practice) are types of dictatorships that may be considered totalitarian.
What Kind of Government does Canada Have? Five Possible Answers: A democracy (people have power) A monarchy (our head of government is a monarch) A parliamentary government (government by the Queen, Senate, and House of Commons) Cabinet Government (members of parliament that carry out the executive functions of government) Federal Government (power to make laws is shared between two levels of government - the national/central government and the provincial governments
What Are the Functions of Government? • Legislative - concerned with making laws or passing legislation • Executive - decides what legislation should be placed before the legislature and puts the laws into effect on a day to day basis, or running the municipality, province or country • Judicial - concerned with deciding whether an individual has broken society’s law and with punishing the guilty.
Executive Branch The Executive Branch is made up of four main components • The Governor General (ceremonial) • Prime Minister (leader of the party with the most seats in the House of Commons) • the cabinet (selected. MP’s that are in charge of gov’t portfolios/departments) • the government bureaucracy (Gov’t departments involved in administration federally)
Legislative Branch Speaker of the House The Member elected by the House to serve as its spokesman and to preside over its proceedings. In particular, he or she is responsible for maintaining order and decorum. As Chairman of the Board of Internal Economy, the Speaker oversees the administration of the House. Speaker Andrew Scheer with the Clerk of the House of Commons, Audrey O'Brien
Background to the Legislative Process
Three Criticisms of the Legislative Process • The senate is of little use and should be abolished – distribution of seats is not fair for all regions of Canada – generally a patronage device from the Prime Minister of the time – used to represent business interests
Three Criticisms cont. . . • As a result of party politics, the ordinary Canadian citizen has little influence of what happens in the House of Commons – once citizens elect an MP, the MP’s influence can be limited if he/she is not a cabinet minister or not a member of the governing party.
Three Criticisms cont. . . • Parliamentary committees have little power or influence in the House of Commons. – Argument that since the Cabinet is part of the legislative and the executive, cabinet ministers are too powerful, and ordinary MP’s have little influence, even in a committee
Federal Elections and Political Parties Representative Democracies involve people being elected by a community to represent the community (constituency or a riding or seats) in a legislative body like the House of Commons ·The number of seats a province receives is directly to that of province’s population. However, some province’s number of ridings are not proportionate to the number of ridings that other provinces have or may have lost as a result of population decline. Dissolution occurs when the Governor-General dissolves the House of Commons to call an election. There are usually two reasons why the House of Commons has been dissolved: Once, the governing party is near the end of its five year term and the PM requests the governor-general to dissolve Parliament, or the governing party has been defeated on a major bill. The election takes place within 50 days of dissolution.
Enumeration occurs when “returning officers” begin preparing voter’s lists in preparation for an election. Voters vote at polling stations. Nominations occur when candidates from one political party in a constituency decide who will represent the party in the elction for the constituency’s seat. If someone wants to run without being affiliated to a party, they are called “Independents” Campaigning takes place within the 50 days as candidates from each party within a constituency campaign in the community for votes
HOUSE OF COMMONS PARTY COLOUR BLUE Currently, the Canadian House of Commons is divided as follows: RED Party Name (& Nickname) Conservative Party (Tories) Liberal Party (Grits) # of Members of Parliament 165 35 L. BLUE Bloc Québécois (BQ) ORANGE New Democratic Party (NDP) 101 Independent (no party) 2 Green Party 0 Total Seats 4 308
HOUSE OF COMMONS
HOUSE OF COMMONS Each political party has a leader. The leader of the party with the largest amount of seats is called the PRIME MINISTER. The leader of the party with the second largest amount of seats is called the LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION.
HOUSE OF COMMONS PRIME MINISTER: STEPHEN HARPER
HOUSE OF COMMONS LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thomas Mulcair
HOUSE OF COMMONS LEADER OF THE LIBERALS: Justin Trudeau
HOUSE OF COMMONS LEADER OF THE BLOC QUEBECOIS: Daniel Paillé
HOUSE OF COMMONS LEADER OF THE GREEN PARTY: ELIZABETH MAY
HOUSE OF COMMONS Being Prime Minister is a big job, so he chooses a group of Ministers to help him. The Ministers form a “Cabinet”. The Cabinet is a group of people from his own party that the Prime Minister consults about decisions. Everyone in the Cabinet must always agree. This is called “Cabinet Solidarity. ” Each person in the Cabinet is responsible for one thing. For example, there is a Minister of Finance, a Minister of International Relations, a Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, etc. Each job is known as a “portfolio. ”
HOUSE OF COMMONS The Opposition Leader also chooses a Cabinet. They are called the “Shadow Cabinet, and their job is to follow what the Cabinet Ministers are doing and criticize them.
Canadian Political Parties Historically, there have been two main parties • The Conservatives currently led by Stephen Harper. • The Liberal Party Formerly led by Pierre Trudeau, now by David Ignatief. The standings in the House of Commons currently sees the Conservatives with 143 seats, the Liberals - 76, Bloc Quebecois - 50, the NDP – 37 and 2 remain as independents.
Conservatives • First Canadian PM, John A Macdonald was a Conservative • the Conservatives are more right-tocenter of the political spectrum.
Liberals • First liberal PM was Alexander Mackenzie. Other notable Liberal PM’s include Wilfred Laurier, William Lyon Mackenzie King and Pierre Trudeau (all of whom served
New Democratic Party • Originally called the CCF (Cooperative Commonwealth Federation) that originated in Saskatchewan. • First leader of the revised NDP was Tommy Douglas
Role of mass media
Civil disobedience • Theories and techniques • In seeking an active form of civil disobedience, one may choose to deliberately break certain laws, such as by forming a peaceful blockade or occupying a facility illegally, though sometimes violence has been known to occur. Protesters practice this non-violent form of civil disorder with the expectation that they will be arrested. Others also expect to be attacked or even beaten by the authorities. Protesters often undergo training in advance on how to react to arrest or to attack, so that they will do so in a manner that quietly or limply resists without threatening the authorities.
For example, Mahatma Gandhi outlined the following rules, in the time when he was leading India in the struggle for Independence from the British Empire: • • • A civil resister (or satyagrahi) will express no anger. One will sometimes suffer the anger of the opponent. In doing so, one will put up with assaults from the opponent, never retaliate; but one will not submit, out of fear of punishment or the like, to any order given in anger. When any person in authority seeks to arrest a civil resister, he will voluntarily submit to the arrest, and he will not resist the attachment or removal of his own property, if any, when it is sought to be confiscated by authorities. If a civil resister has any property in his possession as a trustee, he will refuse to surrender it, even though defending it he might lose his life. He will, however, never retaliate. Retaliation includes swearing and cursing. Therefore a civil resister will never insult his opponent, and therefore also not take part in many of the newly coined cries which are contrary to the spirit of ahimsa. A civil resister may not salute the Union Flag, but he will not insult it or officials, English or Indian. In the course of the struggle if anyone insults an official or commits an assault upon him, a civil resister will protect such official or officials from the insult or attack even at the risk of his life.