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The Canadian Political System: A Comparative Perspective Study Canada Summer Institute June 24, 2009 Donald Alper Center for Canadian-American Studies.

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Presentation on theme: "The Canadian Political System: A Comparative Perspective Study Canada Summer Institute June 24, 2009 Donald Alper Center for Canadian-American Studies."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Canadian Political System: A Comparative Perspective Study Canada Summer Institute June 24, 2009 Donald Alper Center for Canadian-American Studies Western Washington University

2 A Federal System 14 governments (excluding First Nations) 1 federal 10 provincial 3 territorial

3 Characteristics of Federal System Highly decentralized –provinces exert greater power than states French-English accommodation –French-speaking homeland –bilingualism Intense regional competition –geography –economic forces –fueled by political structure

4 In USstates have strong rep in national government via US Senate In Canadano elected/ equal senate to represent provincial interests House of Commons is based on rep by pop-thus huge inequality in provincial clout at national level

5 Ontario 106 Québec 75 British Columbia 36 Alberta 28 Manitoba 14 Saskatechewan 14 Nova Scotia 11 New Brunswick 10 Prince Edward Island 4 Yukon 1 NWT 1 Nunavut 1 Total308 House of Commons Representation by Province 181 = 60% 92 = 30% } }

6 Parliamentary v. Presidential-Congressional Systems: Comparative Framework

7 Role of Legislative Bodies US Congress (House and Senate) House and Senate roughly equal in power and influence Strong, independent powers to legislate Canadian Parliament (Commons and Senate) Unelected senate, mostly advisory House of Commons carries out will of majority party Opposition principle built into House of Commons Question Period

8 Government and Opposition Note the face-off architecture of The House of Commons

9 Question Period: A Unique Parliamentary Institution See: Model Parliamentary Unit Teaching File http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/about/education/mpu/index_e.asp Have students simulate question period. Assign roles such as PM, Leaders of Opposition parties, cabinet ministers, etc.

10 PartySeatsPopular Vote Liberal17241% Canadian Alliance (Consv)6625% Bloc Québécois3811% New Democratic Party138% Progressive Conservative1212% TOTAL301 PartySeatsPopular Vote Conservative14338% Liberal7726% Bloc Québécois4810% New Democratic Party3618% Green Party07% Independent/Other 11% TOTAL308 A Majority Government 2000A Minority Government 2008 Majority & Minority Governments Have the students work out the numbers and likely partners in a possible coalition government


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