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Canadian Democracy: A Lack Of Transparency And Accountability In Canadian Politics

1384 words - 6 pages

Introduction
A democratic government has long been favoured as the most fair and representative government for a country to have. This essay will explore the advantages and disadvantages of both minority and majority government (for example efficiency, compromise, and power) and argue that in fact neither offers a fair representation of Canadian’s due to lack of both transparency and accountability.
Parliamentary Government
In Canada there are three branches of government: the executive branch which enforces Canadian laws and carries out government business; the legislative branch which debates and passes laws; and the judicial branch which interprets the laws and dictates how punishment should be carried out. In parliamentary government the executive branch is drawn from the legislative branch and is responsible to it. The responsibility lies in the fact that the government must have the confidence (or majority support) of the House of Commons in order to remain in power and this confidence is assured through party discipline; in other words, the party expects their Members of Parliament (MP’s) to vote the way the party votes.
Minority Government
The composition of the ministry and cabinet also depends on how many seats the government controls in the House of Commons. A minority government is created when one single party has less than half the seats in the House of Commons yet more than the other parties when they stand alone. One of the main advantages in having a minority government is that the government must work with the other parties to come to a consensus regarding bills and policies; in doing this, there is broader representation of Canadian interests. While this is a benefit for Canadian citizens, it is a drawback for the governing party as they are unable to pass their legislation efficiently and without conflict or compromise – if they don’t work with the other parties they are at risk of a vote of non-confidence which will in turn give other parties the chance to form a government if they believe they can obtain the confidence of the House of Commons. Furthermore, Prime Ministers who lead minority governments must be very cautious in who they select for their cabinet ministers so to ensure the House members will support the government; however as Jackson, D., & Jackson R.J. (2002) states “even with such precautions, minority governments have tended to be quite unstable and pass less legislation than governments based on single-party majority control of the House” (p. 137).
Majority Government
A majority government occurs when a single party wins 155 (50% plus 1) or more seats in the House of Commons and the rest of the seats are split up amongst the other parties in the House of Commons depending on which party’s MP received the majority vote in their electoral riding. In fact, as Jackson, D., & Jackson, R.J. (2002) have pointed out “most elections have produced a majority government, based on the support of only one party...

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