Canadians confused as to the nature of their government

December 4, 2008

No doubt this comes from being too close to the USA. Canada has a parliamentary democracy, not the mishmash that exists in the US between the branches of government, the judiciary, executive, legislative, and the putative fourth branch of Dick Cheney. However Canadians apparently believe that their Prime Minister is like a US President:

Q. A lot of Canadians just don’t get this. They think whoever wins an election gets to govern, period, until there’s another election.

A. That’s the core of the problem. Formally speaking, we elect a Parliament not a prime minister. That’s what Stéphane Dion is trying to impress upon people: we elect a Parliament and we need to let Parliament find its stable governance. But people commonly don’t think that way. We have debates among the party leaders just like the Americans have debates between the candidates for president. People don’t think they are electing a parliament; they think they are electing a prime minister to lead the government.

Q. So our parliamentary traditions clash with public perceptions.

A. Our formal parliamentary system has bumped up against what goes on in popular discourse. People think we elected Harper, but we elected a whole bunch of MPs.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: