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The Canadian Political System: A Comparative Perspective Study Canada Summer Institute in Ottawa/Montreal July 3, 2012 Donald Alper Department of Political.

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Presentation on theme: "The Canadian Political System: A Comparative Perspective Study Canada Summer Institute in Ottawa/Montreal July 3, 2012 Donald Alper Department of Political."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Canadian Political System: A Comparative Perspective Study Canada Summer Institute in Ottawa/Montreal July 3, 2012 Donald Alper Department of Political Science 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 -fewer; serve as regional power centers French-English ‘accommodation’ –Quebec = French-speaking homeland within Canada

4 In US—states have strong/equal rep in national government via US Senate In Canada—no elected/ equal senate to represent provincial interests A Closer Look at Pol Structure and Provincial Influence 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 Nfld and Labrador 7 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 United States - Separation of powersCanada - Fusion of Powers

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) House of Commons focus of power; carries out will of majority party Unelected senate, mostly advisory Opposition principle built into House of Commons Question Period United States - Separation of powers Canada - Fusion of Powers

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 Have students simulate question period. Assign roles such as PM, Leaders of Opposition parties, cabinet ministers, etc.

10 PartySeatsPopular Vote Conservative16640% New Democratic Party10331% Liberal3419% Bloc Québécois46% Green Party14% Independent/Other 01% TOTAL308 A Minority Government 2008 A Majority Government 2011 Majority & Minority Governments Have the students work out the numbers and likely partners in a possible coalition government PartySeatsPopular Vote Conservative14338% Liberal7726% Bloc Québécois4910% New Democratic Party3718% Green Party07% Independent/Other 21% TOTAL308

11 Political Parties & Leaders

12 Thank You


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