“We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish the Constitution for the United States of America.” Without the right that the Constitution brings us, we wouldn’t have rights therefore the United States wouldn’t be a good place to live in. The Constitution brings us the right of freedom of speech (first amendment) , the right to bear arms (second amendment), and the right to protect against unreasonable government actions such as search and seizure of person property (fourth amendment). Being an American citizen means that you have rights that they would like you to fulfil. As an American citizen is it voluntary to vote, but others are required such as obeying the law and paying taxes. The Magna Carta, John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, and the Petition of Rights explains the rights and the responsibilities of an American citizen.
In theory, the Parliament is the most important institution in the Canadian government and all members of the parliament are equal. The Prime Minister is supposed to be primus inter pares, meaning first among equals. But over the years, the cabinet has become more institutionalized and less departmentalized. Hence the Prime Minister’s power has increased over the years. Canada is the one of the most decentralized federations in the
The Senate plays a key role in tandem with the House of Commons, in the operation of Canada’s government, some people think that the Senate should be abolished; however without the Senate, “The right to bear arms” could become true for Canada. The Senate should be reformed; abolishing or keeping the Senate at its current state would be unjust. The current Senate is not elected, effective, nor equal.
The electoral system in Canada is also known as a “first past the post” system. “First past the post” means the candidate with the highest number of votes wins the congressional seat, whereas the other candidates with a lower number of votes don’t get any representation. There are many cons to this system that will be highlighted throughout this essay. I will argue that the electoral system requires reform due to the discrepancies between the percentage of popular votes and the number of seats won. Canada’s electoral system has many problems and is not seen as fully democratic since it has provided poor representation for both candidates that win and lose. Candidates can win seats with less than 50% of votes, meaning that even if the majority of the nation, or province did not vote for the candidate they still win the election as they consume the highest number of votes among the parties. FPTP allows two people in different ridings to get the same number of votes with the outcome of one winner since the distribution of votes and seats are unequal. The system can also encourage strategic voting such as not voting for whom you think is the best fit but voting for the candidate that seems most likely to win in order to beat candidate you dislike. FPTP leads to an imbalance of power and has the potential for corruption.
Many modern democracies have a bicameral legislature which is a body of government that consist of two legislative chambers. The bicameral legislature provides representation for both, the citizens of the country and the state legislature on a federal level. The Canadian parliament has two chambers, the lower chamber which is an elected House of Commons and the upper chamber which is the non-elected Senate. The Canadian Senate is assumed to be a “sober second thought”  on government legislation which is a phrase that describes the Senate’s role in promoting and defending regional interest. There has been an immense amount of the public outcry regarding the Senate after spending scandal that occurred during the recent election period. A question that has induced discussion in parliament is whether the Canadian Senate should be reformed or not? This issue divides the population in half because of differing views. Some political parties want the abolition of the Senate to occur while other parties would like to have an elected Senate because provinces are not represented equally. A method of deciding the faith of the current Senate, the functions of the Senate and objectives of Senate reform should be defined. The assumptions about the purpose of the Senate, problems of the current Senate, the goal of Senate reform and the method of achieving the reform may help provide a consensus on how the Senate should be reformed.
Canada’s friendly neighbor to the South, the US, has an electoral system that is composed of 3 separate elections, one of them deciding the head of state. The president elected by the people and he or she is the determining person of the country’s political system. In the US runs like a majority system” In Canada, however, elections are held slightly differently. Citizens vote for a Member of Parliament in a 308-seat house and candidates win not by a majority, unlike in the US, but by a plurality. This means that a candidate can actually win by simply having more votes than the other candidates. This method of representative democracy, in general, does not cause too much controversy in a global scope but has
David C. Docherty’s scholarly journal responds to the continual controversy and debate of the usefulness of the Canadian senate in 2002. Docherty’s article does an amazing job at analyzing the current Canadian senate and argues that the senate is a failing Canadian institution because of two democratic deficiencies: the undemocratic nature of senator selection and the inability of senators to represent provinces properly (45). These two features of why the senate is a failing Canadian institution can be compared to how Rand Dyck defines democracy in Canadian Politics: Critical Approaches. Docherty looks at several previous senate reforms and answers the question of why these senate reforms failed, in doing so Docherty lays down a framework for a possible successful senate reform but acknowledges the obstacles. Docherty does a very good job at accessing the problem of the senate, accessing the problem of previous reforms, and suggesting a plausible type of reform for the senate. This provides the reader with the knowledge of why the Canadian senate is a failing institution but also the possible solutions of how the senate can be reformed in order to maximize its democratic potential. Although, Docherty fails to provide an exact reform that needs to be taken, he just draws upon other failures and hypothesis that this may be the right solution for reform. Rand Dyck’s chapter 11 fills in the missing gap of reform that needs to be taken by drawing upon one of the best attempts at
While senators are appointed, it does a notable disservice rejecting the voices of our Canadian public. In spite of the historical appointment process selection, the Federal Government of Canada should be pursuing a democratic electoral system for our Canadian Senate because it enhances democracy, by improving and developing the regional representation system, and by promoting candidates and citizens to participate and be accountable for.
Do you feel your government is fair? Does it manage the issues properly, with careful thought, and an open, objective mind? Is it effective? Do you feel that the Senate is a “sober chamber of second thought?” Do you feel that the best interests of the Canadian public are always preserved in the current model of our governance? If so, you’re mistaken. Under our present governance, we have two houses, the House of Commons, and the Senate, the reform to the latter being the main topic of
The Canadian Senate has been a long standing problematic section of the Canadian government and since its creation in 1867 and has been scrutinized for its effectiveness and purpose. In recent years, concerns have been raised and approaches have been suggested into reforming the Senate. Those in favour of taking drastic measures to reform or even abolish the Senate agree that the Senate is not functioning and not a trustworthy part of Canadian government. However, there are those who view that the Senate can still be saved say it has a purpose in the Canadian government since it serves a vital function in passing Canadian legislature. Nonetheless, maintaining a government body that is non functional needs to be addressed and revised and gone
Fred Cutler and Matthew Mendelsohn’s article “Unnatural Loyalists or Naive Collaborationists? The governments and Citizens of Canadian Federalism”, delved into a compelling analysis of Canadian citizens and federalism. In a country of much diversity, as discussed in lecture, it is difficult for citizens to hold the ‘right’ government accountable because of the blame shifting each level of government does. To give an illustration, this article briefly touches upon the propaganda the provincial and federal government use to shift blame on one another for policies such as healthcare and education. However Cutler and Mendelsohn go one step further and analyze if Canadian citizens are able to judge policies without allowing their provincial status
People who elect Senators into congress feel that they need a leader who will advocate for their needs, and one who will fight for their economic, academic and political empowerment. As such, they believe that they have the power to decide whoever goes into the Senate, as long as genuine elections are held.
How can the Canadian government be dominated by one ruler when it has democratic elections with many competing parties? Mellon believes that Canadian elections have low voter turnouts and even lower public interest. Canadian elections are essentially sporadic. Finally, Mellon also believes that prime ministers “…are supported by a growing circle of advisors, pollsters, and spin doctors that help protect their position,” (Hugh 175). The main focus of Mellon’s argument is this idea of a prime-ministerial government.
Today, Ontario and Quebec have maintained their 24 member senatorial status. The four Western provinces have 6 members each. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick both have 10 seats. Prince Edward Island was given 4 out of the original 24 Maritime senators. Together, Newfoundland and Labrador have a total of 6 members. Finally, Nunavut, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories stand in the equation with 1 senator apiece. Along with the Senate`s original intentions, the principle of equality between the provinces is evidently lost. The Senate primarily fails because it was formerly created to balance out the representation by population which lies in the House of Commons however currently only seems to reinforce it. In fact, Canada’s central provinces, Ontario and Quebec, account for 60 percent of the seats in the House of Commons and almost half of the seats in the Senate at 46 percent.5 The inadequacy of regional representation is emphasized as the Canada West Foundation clearly states: “Canada is the only democratic federal system in the world in which the regions with the largest populations dominate both houses of the national legislature.“6 With an unelected Senate that no longer fulfills its role of equal regional representation and a House of Commons grounded on the representation of provinces proportional to their population, the legitimacy of Parliament has become a
The individual is of minimal significance when considering who to vote for in an election. Canadians can vote with confidence because they know politicians' actions will fall in line with the ideology of their respective party, which they have elected to become government.