Parliamentary And Presidential Systems Of Government

2935 words - 12 pages

Throughout history there has been progression on how the government has been organized and, alternatively, its position, and role in the public sphere. Two dominant, different government systems have emerged in North American politics, the presidential and parliamentary systems, in America and Canada respectively. These neighbouring systems have components, which are different but also share some commonalities; these key characteristics propose several strengths and weaknesses among them.
Even though the presidential system provides stability of position during the president’s ruling term, the inability to pass laws swiftly in the legislature postpones any active political change, thus the parliamentary system of Canada is a more balanced and reliable system of government in regards to passing bills and making a significant change. However, in terms of power, the president has more control over the vast majority of the country. The prime minister, although still powerful, is restricted by the vote of non-confidence, and is vulnerable to losing his position at any time. A recent event that occurred in America from October 1st to 16th 2013, involved the US federal government temporarily shutting down, after congress failed to enact legislation appropriating funds for 2014. This indicates the potential unpredictability and instability of the American system. In justification to this, differences and similarities amongst both systems will be accounted for, as well as the strengths and flaws that follow in order to evaluate which system offers a better balance overall.

Part I: Features of the Parliamentary and Presidential Systems of Government
Role of the Head of State and Government:
The parliamentary system of government dates back to 18th century Great Britain, in which many countries including Canada, have adopted key characteristics from. One of the features of this system is that it functions with a separate head of state and head of government. For instance, the Queen functions as the head of the entire system, as she is symbolically above all other government officials and may even act as the ‘guardian’ of the entire constitution (even though there is a head of government who actually directs the work of the executive.) The strength of having a head of state is that they act as a referee and keep the system and keeping the head of government in check. Despite this, a criticism of the parliamentary system is that the people cannot directly elect the head of government. In contrast to this, the presidential or congressional system of government in the United States has one official, in this case the president, which fulfills both of these positions. In the USA there is no one above the president that can make authoritative decisions. The president is both the head of state and head of government and derives much authority from this dual status. This is beneficial; in that all the power remains within one person who...

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