Unit 1 - Thinking About Canadian Society & Government Flashcards Preview

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Aboriginal Title


The constitutional concept that First Nations retain an inherent relationship of care, concern and responsibility for protecting and preserving their lands for future Indigenous generations. While Canadian law recognizes that title can be extinguished by clear and explicit treaty provisions, this point remains debatable in constitutional discourse.


Public Policy


Explains the general purpose of government action and views of the best way of carrying out these actions
- The broad priorities, goals, and objectives of a government entity with respect to human activity and the interests of the government. Public policy refers to a set of interpretations of the appropriate outcomes of government actions in a given field.




The portion of society comprising the broad public sector, as opposed to the private sector, and based on the institutions of government. The Canadian state can be understood as comprising all the institutions accounted for and controlled and directed by the federal government, all provincial and municipal government, and all First Nations governments. Once can also refer to the federal state as all the public institutions in the federal realm and to a provincial state as all the public provincial and municipal institutions in that province.


What is the paradox at the centre of how Canadians think about government and public service?


Canadians hold high expectations of the role of the state but are also critical and hostile to the institution of the state that deliver these services


What is David Johnson’s view on the paradox?

  • Part of the paradox is that Canadians need government to make public policy and to deliver important programs and services
  • Governments face a very difficult operating environment with Canadians constantly criticizing government

What are the main difference between conservative and centre-left approaches to economic policy



  • Do not agree with state growth, government should have small role
  • view growth of government as a financial strain
  • bureaucratization resulted in a bloated public sector, government deficits and debt, rising taxation and the creation of an interventionist state endangering the well-being of Canada
  • private sector should be encouraged
  • develop more effective ways to meet socio-economic needs by modelling administration and management of the private sector

Liberal & Social Democratic:

  • the private sector should not undermine and delegitimize the valuable functions assumed by the public sector
  • not in favour of government restraints as this will lead to cutbacks in health care, education and social welfare and as a result, many will suffer
  • more government action for climate change
  • believe in the right to unionize
  • more money should be spent on federal and provincial labour

What was Harper’s response to the 2008 economic recession, and how has it impacted the Canadian Government?


- Brought forward a budget, $56 billion over two years - paid by deficit spending
-would face deficits until 2015
- another recession put the government back in debt
- Both the NDP and Liberals want to add public spending on national infrastructure to start economic growth
- the 2015 election, Liberals called for a return to modest deficits


List four uniquely Canadian policy areas that successive federal governments must confront


1) French - English Relations & Quebec as an issues
2) Canadian Regionalism, Regional Disparities and Politics of Accommodation
3) Managing the Canadian American Relationship
4) Indigenous Policy & Relations with First Nations


What are the principle ideas of the New Public Management (NPM) approach?


An approach to public sector management that emerged in the 1980’s to foster greater economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in government. It emphasized that the public sector should adopt some of the techniques and behaviour of the private sector and grant public servants much greater operational freedom, subject to the overall control of elected politicians.

  • adopts a conservative approach and frame of reference, business’ need to be more businesslike in their undertakings, emulating the private sector in much of their work and even transferring to private hands responsibilities
  • Privatization, deregulation, contracting out, commercialization, decentralization
  • a means to eliminate public sector deficits

What is deregulation?


the process of reducing or eliminating outright the legal rules that control and direct the behaviour of firms in the private sector


What is privatization?


The process of which governments divest themselves of Crown Corporations. Privatization can occur through the outright sale of a Crown corporation to single private buyer or through share offerings to multiple investors on the stock market


What is ethics?


The concept of appropriate forms of political and bureaucratic decision-making within government. The basic principles of government ethics stress that politicians and public servants are to undertake their duties in light of serving the public interest, maintaining fidelity to law, and avoiding having their private interests interfere with their public duties


What is accountability?


The duty owed by elected politicians and public servants who are responsible for the procedural and substantive merit of their decision-making and are called upon to abide by the concepts of ministerial responsibility, the rule of law and social responsiveness


What is Socio-Economic Policy?


The collective state policies designed to address social (health, education, welfare, environmental, and cultural) concerns and their relationship to economic (trade, business, income, commercial, and tax) concerns.


What is regulation?


Public mandates and requirements established by either federal or provincial law to control, direct, and influence the actions of individuals, private firms, or related government institutions in order to achieve a public purpose


What are Crown Corporations?


a commercial enterprise established and owned by either the feral or the provincial state but possessing relative operational autonomy from the government. A crown corporation is not a department and thus is not headed by a minister but by a board of directors appointed by the government


What is bureaucratization?


The dynamic that occurs as social and economic affairs become subject to the influence and/or control of the state and its institutions


What is a government restraint?


the policy of restricting or reducing social and economic spending initiatives and promoting privatization and deregulation as ways to cut government spending and deficits and limit the scope of government involvement in the social and economic life of a country


What is program administration?


The managerial techniques of implementing public policy. Uses the tools of financial, operational, and human resources management to deliver programs to the public that meet policy goals


What is the Crow’s Nest Pass Agreement?


Federal railway freight policy designed in the late nineteenth century and formalized in an agreement between the CPR and federal government, to promote the industrial element of central Canada by artificially lowering the costs of transporting manufactured goods from the east to the west while artificially raising the costs of transporting goods from west to east


What is the National Energy Policy?


A federal policy in the early 80s designed to encourage the Canadianization of the energy sector by imposing federal taxes on oil and gas, largely generated in Western Canada, and enhancing the role of the federal Crown corporation Petro-Canada in the development and sale of oil and gas. Policy was greatly criticized in Western Canada.


What is the Equalization policy?


Federal policy in section 35 of the CA 1982, to provide funding to have-not provinces that brings their revenues up to the national provincial average required to provide pubic services of a quality comparable to the national average


What is a have-not jurisdiction?


A province in which the ability to levy taxes to fund basic public service falls below the average provincial revenue-generating capacity across the country


What is the national policy?


a national economic development policy designed in the 1870’s by the government of John A. Macdonald to support Canadian industrialization
Imposed high tariffs on imported American-manufactured foods in order to protect the national market for Canadian firms


What is the Foreign Investment Review Agency?


A federal regulatory agency established in 1974 to screen, analyze, and potentially prohibit foreign, especially America, direct investment in Canada in order to promote the Canadianization of the national economy. FIRA was renamed Investment Canada in 1985 and its mandate severely restricted


What is a treaty right?


An entitlement respecting land, social services, or economic rights extended to First Nations and their members by virtue of legal agreements between First Nations and the Crown


What is land claim?


A claim advanced by a First Nation to better arrangements with the federal government respecting the allocation of land rights between indigenous and non-indigenous populations and the compensation owing to the First Nation for lands relinquished or improperly seized in the past.


What is the Walkerton Tragedy?

  • Small town located in Ontario and in 2000, local residents suddenly fell ill
  • Concerns were expressed that perhaps this was the result of contaminated water
  • The Walkerton Public Utilities Commission, and its key staff members (including two brothers – Stan & Frank Koebel) claimed that the water supply
  • Lab results indicated that there were e-coli bacteria in the water meaning that it is in fact contaminated
  • Seven residents died due to e-coli and the Koebel brothers eventually pled guilty to the charges

Overall, who is responsible for providing safe drinking water? What issues does this have?


Municipal governments

The province should however have responsibility of regulating and overseeing the water supply


What is the main issue with First Nations communities and clean water?


While municipalities are in charge of providing safe drinking water, it is the federal government who is responsible for first nations communities .
- there are no mechanisms that are set up in the provincial sphere to manage drinking water, first nations are left in a vacuum
While in 2019 the federal government reduced communities without clean drinking water from 105 (2015) to 59 (2019), there is still lots of work to be done


What are the main roles of a democratic government?


o Deliver excellent policies & services economically & efficiently
o Respond to the general publics needs
o Must balance between public & private sector
o Must be consistent with the rules of administrative law
o Decision making must be more transparent
o Sound & prudent financial management budget must be open, honest & responsible


Discuss the French-English Relations & Quebec as an issue


• Large constitutional conundrums that date back to confederation in 1867
• Quebec is a provincial province made up of an 80% French population who identify themselves as Quebecois a nation within a nation
o Linguistically, culturally & ethnically a distinctive nationality
o Fear of losing French to the dominate English culture in remaining parts of Canada
• Quebec is a large province that has 78 members of parliament sitting in the house of commons
• Most of Quebec sees the provincial government as the best source to represent their policy agenda
• The Charter of Rights & Freedoms (CA 1982) had a large impact for Quebec as it amended their rights to their culture & language
o Important after 1970’s FLQ & separatist Quebec


What is the Quebec referendum? What are the two plans and which Prime Minister put the plans in motion?


Prime Minister Chretien tried to come up with a governmental plan to help calm down the issue at hand
Plan A
• His first plan which he came up with prior to the referendum
• Purpose of Plan A was to have sound social & economic policy throughout the country to aim at improving life for everyone
• Also wanted to undermine the idea of Quebec sovereignty, and prove to Quebecers that there are advantages for Quebec to remain a part of Canada
Plan B
• Plan B came after the results of the referendum
o Results were 49.4 – 50.6 in favour of Quebec remaining a part of Canada
• As the results were so close, Plan B called for the federal government to make changes for future separatist referendums
o Referendum must provide a clear question on separation
o To be legitimate, any victory must be grounded in a clear majority
o Federal parliament will play a role in deciding whether the question is clear and that the majority is sufficient
o If all conditions are met, there will be further negotiations between the two, renewed relationships will be subject to bargaining
 New international boundaries
 First Nations Status
 Economic, Financial & Currency Trade


Discuss the linguistic & cultural policy


Federal Government try to provide a good & effective government of Quebec through policy and administrative undertaking due to its cultural distinctiveness
• Official Languages act 1969
o Both French& English are the official languages that governments must support and promote them by bilingualism and biculturalism
• Clarity Act
o 1995 referendum, changed legislation on the governments processes in case of a secession vote of one of the provinces
o Chretien liberal government clarified rules 1998
 9 judges of the supreme court rest of the country cannot keep Quebec against its will
 Must be a clear majority & clear question
 NDP disagrees and believe a majority of 1 percent is significant enough


Discuss Canadian Regionalism, Regional Disparities and Politics of Accommodation


• Canada is divided up regionally and possesses have and have not provinces
o Regions: Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada, Prairies, B-C, Far North
o Each region has their own economic goals and interests and cultural composition
• Ontario has a large economic dominance over the remaining Canadian regions without a voice especially Western & Atlantic Canada
o Crows Nest Pass Agreement – CPR & Canadian Government
o National Energy Policy – To gain greater control of the Canadian oil industry.
• Equalization policy
o 1950’s federal funds to provinces whose total provincial revenues are lower than the national provincial per capita average
o Main goal – to ensure that the quality of public services is more or less the same throughout the country
o Line changes with economic circumstance creating tension between haves and have nots which is enshrined in the CA 1982
“Canada is like an old cow. The west feeds it. Ontario & Quebec milk it. And you can well imagine what it’s doing in the Maritimes”. – Tommy Douglas
• Demographic & Political Representation
• Different areas have different representation & population making it difficult to govern Canada
o Makes it harder for provinces such as Manitoba & Saskatchewan to compete with larger provinces


Discuss Managing the Canadian-American Relationship


• Canadian leaders want to preserve Canadian culture to promote a Canadian national identity, creating a Socio-Economic Policy
o Ex: John A. Macdonald policy 1879
o Foreign Investment Review Agency (FIRA)
o National Energy Policy (NEP) – P-E-T Era
o Brian Mulroney US free trades agreement January 1st, 1989
• Security Policy
o Following 9/11 it was important that the Canadian border also enhances its security to assure the United States that its northern border was secure and could be trusted.
o Canadian government spent hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrading border security
 Enhanced the role of the (CSIC) – Canadian Security Intelligence Service – Bill C-51
 Enhance the role of the (RCMP) – Royal Canadian Mounted Police
o War on Terror led both liberal and conservative governments to increase funding for the Canadian military
• Environmental Policy
o The Canadian government are followed in the footsteps of the U.S in the Kyoto accord
 Have since failed to meet these environmental goals


Discuss Indigenous Policy & Relations with First Nations


o History of manipulative, abusive, imbalance of power relationships committed to re-negotiating
 Idle No More, Nisga’a Final Agreement
• Promotion of Self-Government
o In promoting social & economic development for Indigenous peoples, the negotiation of treaty rights and land claims are of crucial importance.
 British often made treaties with many indigenous leaders and the British often failed to meet their obligations enlisted in the treaty
 Often a lack of communication and misunderstanding due to language barriers