Ree and Fair Elections Canadian Politics

For your written assignments in this course, use the Chicago Manual of Style authordate system for citations.

Research Essay (The Democratic Assessment): Descriptioni?
What is a democracy assessment? The idea is a very simple one. It involves a systematic assessment of a countryas political life in order to answer the question: how democratic is it? Where is it satisfactory from a democratic point of view, and which features should be a cause for concern? How far have we progressed, and what remains still to be done? How can we improve on what we have already achieved? This questionnaire (see pp. 910) provides you with the tools to make a set of provisional or impressionistic judgments about these questions, as a basis for discussion, or for more systematic enquiry and assessment.
How was this questionnaire developed? It was developed as the key instrument for International IDEAas program on the a?State of Democracya. This program was designed to assess the condition of democracy in countries from every region of the world. An international panel of experts crafted the framework of questions after exhaustive discussion and comparison of existing assessment frameworks and methodologies. The assessment framework is based on a number of distinctive assumptions:
i · democratization is a process that is never completed, and those working to establish or consolidate new democracies, and those seeking to renew established ones, are engaged in a similar enterprise, share similar values and confront similar problems, though these may indeed be more acute in some countries than others.
i · the idea of democracy is a common one, and can be disaggregated into a set of specific criteria or indices, which are of general applicability, however much countries may differ in their cultural traditions or development status.
i ·
i · the best people to act as auditors or assessors of a given countryas democratic condition are its own citizens, rather than outsiders sitting in judgment upon it, and the chief purpose of such an exercise is to contribute to the democratization process through internal debate and discussion.
But what exactly is democracy? A simple answer is that democracy is based on two key principles: popular control, meaning the people having the right to a controlling influence over public decisions and decision makers; and political equality, meaning that the people should be treated with equal respect and as of equal worth in the context of
i? This questionnaire has been adapted from the Democracy Assessment Questionnaire published by the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, Stockholm (democracy_assessment.cfm). The order of the sections have been changed and re-numerated to match the requirements of the course, and certain sections have been added.

such decisions. Although these two principles are nowhere fully realized, to the extent that they are, we can call a system of public decision making democratic. Democracy is not an all-or-nothing state of affairs, but a matter of the degree to which these two principles are realized in practice.
These two principles have taken many different historical forms, and have been realized at many different societal levels. In the context of the modern state, however, they require a distinctive set of institutional and societal components for their realization. The key ones are the following:
1. A guaranteed framework of equal citizen rights, including access to justice and the rule of law, as well as the freedoms of expression, association and assembly, and the basic economic and social rights to enable citizens to exercise these freedoms effectively.
2. A civil or democratic society, including free and pluralistic media of communication, and the civic associations, consultative processes and other forums necessary to ensure popular participation in the political process, and to encourage government responsiveness to public opinion and the more effective delivery of public services.
3. Institutions of representative and accountable government, including not only free and fair elections to provide the means for popular choice and control over government, but also procedures to ensure the continuous accountability of officials, elected as well as non-elected, to the public.

Instructions for Completing the Democratic Assessment:

In this course, we will focus on the institutional components related to these issues. As such, the democratic assessment questionnaire has been narrowed down into four topics.

You will use the democratic assessment to look at Canada. Students are also encouraged to consider comparing the state of democracy in Canada to that in another country. Students will select one of the following four main topics from the democratic assessment. The topics themselves are divided into several questions. You are required to complete one topic answering the majority of the questions through your essay:
1 a Free and Fair Elections
2 a Democratic Role of Political Parties
3 a Government Effectiveness and Accountability 4 a Levels of Government

You must answer a majority of the questions under the main topic of your choice (at least 3 per topic) a but this does not mean using the questions as subheadings. Instead, use the questions to guide your research as you develop your position on the quality of democracy that manifests itself within a specific institutional context. These assessments are analytical and argumentative research essays. For each one you must consider the concepts involved. Your argument should be in the form of an answer to the central question of the topic.
Building your argument requires engaging the academic literature. At least eight of your sources must be academic, peer-reviewed sources (books or articles in reputable journals). The course readings do not count towards your minimum eight sources. Academic sources should inform the bulk of you analysis.
And you should use your academic sources in the proper way: to inform you about the central concepts you are interested in. Letas say that you are interested in elections. You may look at electoral systems. Electoral systems translate votes into representatives. You will therefore need to look at what the political science literature says about representation.

Substantiating your argument will involve research from both academic and nonacademic sources. Review the research essay policies in the course outline carefully. Essays that rely on sources found through google or similar internet search engines typically do not earn high grades.

Strong sources include:
a? Academic books and journal articles
a? Reputable newspapers or newsmagazines, hard-copy or online.
a? International organization publications (online or hard-copy)
a? Government documents (online or hard-copy)
a? Reputable international or domestic non-governmental organizations publications (online or hard-copy), but be alert for potential bias.
a? Political parties, but again, note potential bias.
a? NGOs

1.0 Free and fair elections
The Questionnaire
Do elections give the people control over governments and their policies?
1.1 How far is appointment to governmental and legislative office determined by popular competitive election, and how frequently do elections lead to change in the governing parties or personnel?
1.2 How fair are the procedures for the registration of candidates and parties, and how far is there fair access for them to the media and other means of communication with the voters?
1.3 How effective a range of choice does the electoral and party system allow the voters, how equally do their votes count, and how closely does the composition of the legislature and the selection of the executive reflect the choices they make?
1.4 How far does the legislature reflect the social composition of the electorate?
1.5 How fair and transparent are the rules governing electoral finance?

The quality of your sources is an essential component to your grade. The majority of your sources should be refereed academic jour