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Canadian Democracy Essay

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This paper will assess the condition, strengths and weaknesses of Canadian democracy in many different respects. It will evaluate how free and fair the electoral process is, if governments operate according to democratic principles, the extent to which minority rights are recognized and protected, and the ability of people to influence and control government. Furthermore, this paper will conclude by discussing if Canada is becoming more or less democratic and suggest what can be done differently to improve Canadian democracy.

Democracy, rule by the common people, has been and continues to be defined and interpreted in various ways. Over time, with the generation of new ideas, society's expectations and standards of democracy change. For this reason, there is no shared consensus in defining the democratic ideal. Although core principles of democracy are complex and multifaceted in nature, some form of it is desirable worldwide (Catt Helena p. 5). Moreover, there are three popular models of democracy; direct, deliberative and representative. Each believe in rule by the people, rule of law, probity, and equality but differ in there conceptions of society, political beliefs, decision-making processes and the extent to which civic involvement should influence public policies in office (White G 2006).

Canadian democracy is representative; the people elect and delegate extensive powers to a few individuals to govern the countries affairs. Despite popular opinion, these officials act according to their conscience by making decisions they feel are just and desirable to serve the common good. Moreover, through access to information laws and the reports of auditor generals, representative democracies always have a mechanism for accountability and transparency (White G). Recently however, a fraction of the population has developed a growing discontent with representative democracy claiming it concentrates too much power in the hands of the Prime Minister. The PM does have considerable power over elected officials but at the same time, there are constraints, checks and balances on his/her power. In a democracy, the power of elected officials is subject to the rule of law which ensures that everyone be treated equally under the same laws and regulations. Although the PM controls federal funding, appoints and shuffles cabinet members, sets the cabinet agenda, establishes cabinet structure and decides when to call for an election, the PM does not always get his/her way (White G). This is because PM's are not experts in all aspects of governing a nation and therefore, they still require the opinions and experience of individuals with expertise in various fields. In today's complex political system, to produce a strong, stable and effective government, the PM and cabinet must operate interdependently of each other and not act as dictators. At present, the condition of Canadian democracy has been consistently challenged by Canada's first-past-the-post electoral system.

In an attempt to improve Canadian democracy, there have been several heated debates concerning whether or not the FPTP system is in need of electoral reform. Within this system, the candidate with the highest number of formal votes wins, and although it is ...

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