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Westminster Parliamentary Systems

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TEACHING TOPICS IN DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTINS AND POLICY PROCESS
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Democracy
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The Democratic Deficit: Ethics, Responsiveness and Performance
The International Context of Domestic Institutions
The Policy Cycle
The Political Context of Policy Making
Weber: Rationalization and Bureaucracy
Westminster Parliamentary Systems
Who are the Players in the Policy Process?

 

 
Westminster Parliamentary Systems

This topic covers the foundations of Westminster forms of government. Countries of focus can include the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, and over two dozen other countries that use the Westminster system. Discussions centre on foundational theories including responsible government (Dalhousie PUAD 5100). It may also include the core principles of federalism, democratic deficit (Toronto PPG 1000H), and reform theories (Carleton PADM 5117). Students learn about the differences with alternative regimes such as presidential systems.

Core Concepts associated with this Topic: Westminster Style Parliamentary System; Official Opposition; Parliamentary Accountability; Parliamentary Budget Officer; Parliamentary System of Government; Responsible Government; Standing Committees; Statute; Backbencher; Cabinet Secrecy; Central Agencies; Government Bill; Legislation; Legislative Auditor; Legislative Committees; Legislature; Legitimacy; Regime.

Recommended Readings

Carleton University: PADM 5117 Public Sector Management and the Canadian Political System

Savoie, Donald J., Court Government and the Collapse of Accountability: in Canada and the United Kingdom (Toronto: UofT Press, 2008). Introduction and Chapter 2.

Leone, Roberto and Frank Ohemeng. Approaching Public Administration: Core Debates and Emerging Issues (Toronto: Edmond-Montgomery, 2011). chapter 3

Gerald Baier, Herman Bakvis and Douglas Brown, “Executive Federalism, the Democratic Deficit and Parliamentary Reform,” in G. Bruce Doern (ed.), How Ottawa Spends 2005-2006: Managing the Minority. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2005, 163-183.

Paul Thomas, “Parliament and the Public Service,” in Christopher Dunn (ed.), The Handbook of Canadian Public Administration. Don Mills, Oxford University Press, 2002, 341-368.

Joseph Heath, “The Myth of Shared Values in Canada,” 2003 John L. Manion Lecture, Canada School of Public Service. May 2003, 1-35.

Eugene Forsey, How Canadians Govern Themselves, 7th Edition (Ottawa: Supply and Services, 2005). Available at: http://www.parl.gc.ca/information/library/idb/forsey/PDFs/How_Canadians_Govern_Themselves-7ed.pdf/

University of Toronto: PPG1000H Governance and Institutions

Aucoin, P., Smith, J., Dinsdale, G. (2004). Responsible Government: Clarifying Essentials, Dispelling Myths and Exploring Change. Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Management Development. Available online: http://publications.gc.ca/collections/Collection/SC94-107-2004E.pdf

Johnson, D. (2011). Chapter 3. “Institutions of Governance”, pp.105-156 in Thinking Government: Public Administration and Politics in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Griffith, A. (June, 2013). Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism. Optimum Online. Vol. 43, Issue 2.

Dalhousie University: PUAD 5100 Organizational Designs for Governance and Public Management

Peter Aucoin, Jennifer Smith and Geoff Dinsdale, Responsible Government (Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Management Development, 2004) http://www.csps-efpc.gc.ca/pbp/pub/lte-eng.asp

GG agrees to suspend Parliament. Watch Keith Boag Report. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/12/04/harper-jean.html

Prorogation 2008: A Crisis in Responsible Government. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMypCB6UgoE

 

Sample Assessment Questions:

a) What is the role of the Prime Minister in the Westminster parliamentary system and what is meant by the term "primus inter pares”?

b) What is the cabinet and its role in the Westminster parliamentary system? 

c) Explain the meaning of the term "responsible government" with reference to the relationship between the cabinet and the legislature.

Page updated by Sean Goertzen on 6 May 2015, updated by Ian Clark 15 June 2015.

 

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School of Public Policy and Governance