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Canada is Formally a Democratic Country Canada, supposedly a democratic country, has a power structure that has been criticized by both domestic and foreign political observers. (Howe, p. 14) The federal government of the country is certainly not that efficient and democratic as the countrys population would like to see it. If we closely analyze Canadas government and politics from the perspective of the formal and substantive aspects of democracy, it is evident that some drastic changes need to be made to make Canadian government more efficient, democratic, and more responsive to the needs of population. There are certain areas within Canadian government that needs to be changed: Senate reform, representation by population, free votes in the House of Commons, the institution of Members of Parliament recall and fixed election dates. (Cross, p.162) Without those changes, the future of Canadian people at large is rather vague; therefore they should be implemented as soon as possible. Before elaborating on those changes, we will first discuss democracy at large, as well as some illusions people have about democracy. Democracy is a form of organization and a way of dealing with issues that affect the citizens of the country. (Docherty, p. 163) There are contrary opinions of some key philosophers that argue against democratic governance. Democracy has come a long way since man has existed. As you study history, you will find that many people have not been used to a society in which democracy has been the basis of ruling a country. Throughout recorded history, most people have been ruled by kings and other dictators. Democracy is not purely bad or purely good but I think that democracy is sometimes overrated and people think of it as a savior to the many problems that man has faced over the years. When we look at todays society, it consists of many different cultures, religion, and social class that divide us. Democracy states that all people are free to voice their opinion and that they are allowed to participate in the electing of a government. However, you have to look at the situation from all angles. First, you have the divisions in religion. A person is allowed to voice their opinion, but when you are involved in a certain religious group, you are very much constricted from making your own decision because if you do, that group will consider you as a trader and they will certainly shun you. As well, looking at cultures it represents the same idea. If you speak out against something you believe but your culture disapproves of this idea, then they will most likely consider you as an outsider and you will not be a part of their group. Now looking at the perspective from the average citizen in a democracy, they are free to their personal beliefs, but in the case that your opinion is not the same as the majority, then your voice does not have any effect on the issue. What happens is that, often that person will not speak up because of fear. When they do speak out, the popular opinion of the masses will view your opinion as wrong or in a way that makes you out to be the enemy. Also, a person who has a high status in a society often will sway the opinions of the masses. Once he gets the people to jump into his bandwagon then he clearly controls their opinions, which is suitable to him. As well, a person who has established himself in the society, but not so much that he has an overwhelming amount of power, will not speak freely because he does not want to lose or risk losing his status in that society. Alex de Tocquevilles argument is ideal for this context. He argued that although people are physically free in a democracy, they are constricted in the mind and soul. His theory suggests that there is a trade off between a democracy and an autocracy. In order to get rid of the uncontrollable force of a totalitarian society, democracys imprisonment of a freedom of opinion is lost, and vice versa. Democracy misleads people into believing that they are free, but in reality, it is a way to conform the entire nation, without even the people knowing it. (Kingdon, p. 213) Now we will look at the current situation within Canadian power structure and analyze what particular changes would help Canada to become more democratic. The prime minister appoints senators to the Senate, instead of them being elected into office by the voters of Canada. This is how Canadian government has been formed and how it has worked for the last hundred years; this is no longer the most democratic form of government for Canada. The Senate is chosen by the Prime minister of Canada and therefore is biased, by this patronage appointment. Canadas Senate should be elected, to return democratic principals to the citizens of Canada. To be equal and democratic, senators must be elected by their constituents in their provinces. If the senate was elected it would become fair, each province having the same amount of representatives no matter how large or small. (Tanguay, p. 77) Once this is in place the Canadian Senate would become effective. Hearing bills from every province and every party being apart of the senate, Canada would be heading for triple E senate (Elected, Equal and Effective). (Neil, p.111) For this to be done, the Constitution of Canada would have to be changed, and all ten provinces would have to be in agreement of the amount of elected representatives coming from each province. In the Canadian House of Commons, the lower house is the first to debate bills to be passed. All members of Parliament have been elected into the house. The number of Members of Parliament is determined roughly, by the amount of people in each province. Each member of Parliament should be representative of about 70,000 voters of his or her riding. This should be equal for each province, but it is not. Prince Edward Island has a total population of 134,557. (Cousins, p.44) All of the four ridings in Prince Edward Island have around 23,000 voters each, yet about three ridings in British Columbia have more than 100,000 voters each. Is this fair? A small province like P.E.I. having 4 representatives in the house and B.C. having 34 representatives. Prince Edward Island has 4% of British Columbias total population. The Electoral Boundaries Commission tries to equalize the amount of people per constituency, about 70,000 people, but this is not always the case. Instead of small ridings having MPs they should link two ridings together to form one with a total number of voters closer to 70,000. Provinces like B.C. could maybe get more MPs, and representation by population would be achieved. (Cousins, p. 85) The government should have the choice of going against its own bills if they are non beneficial to the country. This would be called a free vote. Right now if the Liberal government was to go and vote against one of its own bills, the government would be overthrown. This makes no sense because that means that every bill that the head party conjures up has to be voted for, or else the party is thrown out of power. This is not a written rule or anything it has been around only for the last 130 years and should be forgotten. (LeDuc, p. 94) The defeat of a government measure in the House of Commons should not automatically mean the defeat of the government. Defeat of a government motion should be followed by a vote of the people in parliament of a vote on non-confidence that will either lead to self resignation or the disappearing of the house in a general election. The next issue is recall. If a member of Parliament should do something against his or her constituencies wishes, the voters of their constituency should have the option of recall. This entitles constituents to initiate a recall procedure against their MP if they believe he or she has violated his or her oath of office or neglected to listen to their ridings needs. Lastly, elections should be held every four years at a predetermined time, like in the United States of America. The election date would be four years from the same predetermined time of year. By-elections should be held within six months of a seat becoming available in the House of Commons. Canadas Federal Government could run better with some of these suggestions. The way to make Canadas citizens happier is to get the Canadian citizens more involved in what is going on. If the senate was voted into power rather then appointed, more of Canadas problems would be met and solved. Representation by population will have more of Canadas people heard, therefore making Canada more democratic. Free votes in the House of Commons will result in a government with more power and the ability to say no. The institution of Members of Parliament recall will let the people be in control of the government indirectly, keeping what they want in their hands. Lastly, by having a pre-determined election date the government will run more effective and efficient. These changes should be implemented to make Canada a more democratic nation.
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An essay on why Canada Is Formally A Democratic Country
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An Essay On Why Canada Is Formally A Democratic Country

Words: 1541    Pages: 6    Paragraphs: 12    Sentences: 91    Read Time: 05:36
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              Canada is Formally a Democratic Country Canada, supposedly a democratic country, has a power structure that has been criticized by both domestic and foreign political observers. (Howe, p. 14) The federal government of the country is certainly not that efficient and democratic as the countrys population would like to see it. If we closely analyze Canadas government and politics from the perspective of the formal and substantive aspects of democracy, it is evident that some drastic changes need to be made to make Canadian government more efficient, democratic, and more responsive to the needs of population. There are certain areas within Canadian government that needs to be changed: Senate reform, representation by population, free votes in the House of Commons, the institution of Members of Parliament recall and fixed election dates. (Cross, p. 162)
             
              Without those changes, the future of Canadian people at large is rather vague; therefore they should be implemented as soon as possible. Before elaborating on those changes, we will first discuss democracy at large, as well as some illusions people have about democracy. Democracy is a form of organization and a way of dealing with issues that affect the citizens of the country. (Docherty, p. 163) There are contrary opinions of some key philosophers that argue against democratic governance. Democracy has come a long way since man has existed.
             
              As you study history, you will find that many people have not been used to a society in which democracy has been the basis of ruling a country. Throughout recorded history, most people have been ruled by kings and other dictators. Democracy is not purely bad or purely good but I think that democracy is sometimes overrated and people think of it as a savior to the many problems that man has faced over the years. When we look at todays society, it consists of many different cultures, religion, and social class that divide us. Democracy states that all people are free to voice their opinion and that they are allowed to participate in the electing of a government. However, you have to look at the situation from all angles.
             
              First, you have the divisions in religion. A person is allowed to voice their opinion, but when you are involved in a certain religious group, you are very much constricted from making your own decision because if you do, that group will consider you as a trader and they will certainly shun you. As well, looking at cultures it represents the same idea. If you speak out against something you believe but your culture disapproves of this idea, then they will most likely consider you as an outsider and you will not be a part of their group. Now looking at the perspective from the average citizen in a democracy, they are free to their personal beliefs, but in the case that your opinion is not the same as the majority, then your voice does not have any effect on the issue. What happens is that, often that person will not speak up because of fear. When they do speak out, the popular opinion of the masses will view your opinion as wrong or in a way that makes you out to be the enemy.
             
              Also, a person who has a high status in a society often will sway the opinions of the masses. Once he gets the people to jump into his bandwagon then he clearly controls their opinions, which is suitable to him. As well, a person who has established himself in the society, but not so much that he has an overwhelming amount of power, will not speak freely because he does not want to lose or risk losing his status in that society. Alex de Tocquevilles argument is ideal for this context. He argued that although people are physically free in a democracy, they are constricted in the mind and soul. His theory suggests that there is a trade off between a democracy and an autocracy. In order to get rid of the uncontrollable force of a totalitarian society, democracys imprisonment of a freedom of opinion is lost, and vice versa.
             
              Democracy misleads people into believing that they are free, but in reality, it is a way to conform the entire nation, without even the people knowing it. (Kingdon, p. 213) Now we will look at the current situation within Canadian power structure and analyze what particular changes would help Canada to become more democratic. The prime minister appoints senators to the Senate, instead of them being elected into office by the voters of Canada. This is how Canadian government has been formed and how it has worked for the last hundred years; this is no longer the most democratic form of government for Canada. The Senate is chosen by the Prime minister of Canada and therefore is biased, by this patronage appointment. Canadas Senate should be elected, to return democratic principals to the citizens of Canada. To be equal and democratic, senators must be elected by their constituents in their provinces.
             
              If the senate was elected it would become fair, each province having the same amount of representatives no matter how large or small. (Tanguay, p. 77) Once this is in place the Canadian Senate would become effective. Hearing bills from every province and every party being apart of the senate, Canada would be heading for triple E senate (Elected, Equal and Effective). (Neil, p. 111) For this to be done, the Constitution of Canada would have to be changed, and all ten provinces would have to be in agreement of the amount of elected representatives coming from each province. In the Canadian House of Commons, the lower house is the first to debate bills to be passed. All members of Parliament have been elected into the house.
             
              The number of Members of Parliament is determined roughly, by the amount of people in each province. Each member of Parliament should be representative of about 70,000 voters of his or her riding. This should be equal for each province, but it is not. Prince Edward Island has a total population of 134,557. (Cousins, p. 44) All of the four ridings in Prince Edward Island have around 23,000 voters each, yet about three ridings in British Columbia have more than 100,000 voters each. Is this fair? A small province like P. E. I. having 4 representatives in the house and B. C.
             
              having 34 representatives. Prince Edward Island has 4% of British Columbias total population. The Electoral Boundaries Commission tries to equalize the amount of people per constituency, about 70,000 people, but this is not always the case. Instead of small ridings having MPs they should link two ridings together to form one with a total number of voters closer to 70,000. Provinces like B. C. could maybe get more MPs, and representation by population would be achieved. (Cousins, p.
             
              85) The government should have the choice of going against its own bills if they are non beneficial to the country. This would be called a free vote. Right now if the Liberal government was to go and vote against one of its own bills, the government would be overthrown. This makes no sense because that means that every bill that the head party conjures up has to be voted for, or else the party is thrown out of power. This is not a written rule or anything it has been around only for the last 130 years and should be forgotten. (LeDuc, p. 94) The defeat of a government measure in the House of Commons should not automatically mean the defeat of the government.
             
              Defeat of a government motion should be followed by a vote of the people in parliament of a vote on non-confidence that will either lead to self resignation or the disappearing of the house in a general election. The next issue is recall. If a member of Parliament should do something against his or her constituencies wishes, the voters of their constituency should have the option of recall. This entitles constituents to initiate a recall procedure against their MP if they believe he or she has violated his or her oath of office or neglected to listen to their ridings needs. Lastly, elections should be held every four years at a predetermined time, like in the United States of America. The election date would be four years from the same predetermined time of year. By-elections should be held within six months of a seat becoming available in the House of Commons. Canadas Federal Government could run better with some of these suggestions. The way to make Canadas citizens happier is to get the Canadian citizens more involved in what is going on. If the senate was voted into power rather then appointed, more of Canadas problems would be met and solved. Representation by population will have more of Canadas people heard, therefore making Canada more democratic. Free votes in the House of Commons will result in a government with more power and the ability to say no.
             
              The institution of Members of Parliament recall will let the people be in control of the government indirectly, keeping what they want in their hands. Lastly, by having a pre-determined election date the government will run more effective and efficient. These changes should be implemented to make Canada a more democratic nation.
Canada Essay 
Cousins, J. Electoral Reform for Prince Edward Island: A Discussion Paper. University of Prince Edward Island: Institute of Island Studies, 2000. Cross, W.

Political Parties, Representation, and Electoral Democracy in Canada. Don Mills: Oxford University Press.2000 Docherty, D. Reforming Parliamentary Democracy. Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 1998. Howe, P., and Northrup, D. Strengthening Canadian Democracy: The Views of Canadians. Policy Matters.

Montreal: Institute for Research on Public Policy) Vol.1, No. 5 (July), 2000. Kingdon, J. Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1984. LeDuc, L., Niemi, R., and Norris, P.

Comparing Democracies: Elections and Voting in Global Perspective. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 1996. Neil, N. Value Change and Governance in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002. Tanguay, B., and Gagnon, A. Canadian Parties in Transition.

Toronto: Nelson Canada, 1995..
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