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Canada's Political Systems Essay

1973 words - 8 pages

Across the political landscape, there are countless different ways that political systems operate. These systems do not have all their conventions enshrined by law, and are often the result of institutional frameworks. One of these institutional frameworks that influence Canada’s political system is the idea of party discipline within the House of Commons. The strict nature that parties operate in has lead to many aspects of Canada’s political system being affected. This essay will take an in depth look into the workings of party discipline as it exists in Canada. It will be argued that party discipline has formed and created many parts of the Canadian political system as it currently exists. This will be shown by examining the aspects of the system that have been influenced. These include the regional conflicts that go on throughout the country, the rise in popularity of third parties and the increased attention that the Prime Minister gets during elections. Following this, it will be examined the benefits and drawbacks of strict party discipline. With this setup, it will be shown the importance of party discipline and the effects it causes. In an attempt to narrow the focus, politics at the national level will be focused on and any reference to legislatures or other institutions should be viewed nationally unless otherwise noted. Before an in depth look at how party discipline influences Canada can happen though, its history and definition must be examined.
Whether a country has a parliamentary or presidential system, whether it is democratic or autocratic, political parties exist and flourish all over the world. One of the major ways that parties in various countries differ is by the way that the leadership enforces the rest of the party. While ideas can be enforced by a range of options, discipline within the legislature is a very popular yet contentious issue. Within Canada, our parties have developed to have all members vote together as a group. If for example, a bill is being voted on within the House of Commons, Canada’s style of party discipline would lead to a party such as the Conservatives having all their MPs vote the same way. Within the government, deciding which way to vote is mostly the responsibility of the federal Cabinet (Dyck, 2011, Pg. 553). If Members of Parliament fail to vote along with their respective party, there are often consequences. Risks of losing out on promotions or on key committees is a common form of discipline. It is more serious on key votes though, where penalties can get quite severe. Take for example David Kilgour, who was expelled from the Progressive Conservative Party for voting against the introduction of the GST on April 10, 1990(Charlton, M & Barker, P, 2009, Pg. 217). Party discipline is not restricted to Canada, and other parliamentary democracies utilize party discipline as well, but normally to a much lower degree than Canada. Canada is seen as having some of the strictness party discipline...

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