This lecture course will critically assess salient contemporary issues within Canadian politics. The course addresses many of the main aspects of Canadian politics but will do so in a question-oriented manner that is designed to elicit a critical evaluation of the topic. Topics will include the major institutions of Canadian government (including federalism and Parliament), aspects of citizen participation in politics (including including political parties, voting in elections

Page 1 of 5

The University of Western Ontario

Department of Political Science
Political Science 2103F
Current Issues in Canadian Politics
Fall 2020

Instructor: Cameron D. Anderson

Virtual Office Hours: Thursday 10am-11:30am (see below for details)
Email: cander54@uwo.ca

Course Description:

This lecture course will critically assess salient contemporary issues within Canadian politics. The course addresses many of the main aspects of Canadian politics but will do so in a question-oriented manner that is designed to elicit a critical evaluation of the topic. Topics will include the major institutions of Canadian government (including federalism and Parliament), aspects of citizen participation in politics (including including political parties, voting in elections, the electoral system and the role of third parties), and important political, social and economic issues (including language, gender, Aboriginal, region) that characterize the current Canadian experience. Where possible, each topic will be considered in light of the influence of and response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of the course students will:
-Be able to demonstrate understanding the main aspects of some Canadian political institutions and processes

-Be able to demonstrate understanding of diverse theories of and approaches to the study of Canadian politics

-Be able to critically understand and assess the functioning of democratic politics in Canada

Course Readings:

Brooks, Stephen. 2020. Canadian Democracy. (9th edition) Toronto: Oxford University Press.

This book is available in the UWO bookstore and, alternatively, online as an e-book

(https://www.vitalsource.com/en-ca/products/canadian-democracy-9e-stephen-brooks-v9780199032549?term=9780199032549).

Page 2 of 5

Additional Readings available through course page on OWL or online through the Western Library’s website.

Course Requirements:
Midterm Exam 40%
Final Exam 60%

Important Course Policies

1.) Exams: Both of these exams will be multiple choice-only. They will be conducted through the OWL course page. They will be timed – meaning that you will have a limited amount of time to complete the exam. The exam will also be linear – meaning that once you have answered a question you will not be able to go back to review prior answers and will only be able to proceed forward through the exam. The first exam will be scheduled during the week of October 26-30. The second exam will be scheduled during the final exam period.

2.) Lectures: Given the current pandemic situation, public health directives and the decisions of the University of Western Ontario for on campus meetings, the delivery of content for this course will be entirely online. Lectures will be recorded with attendant power point slides and posted each week of the course. Lectures will be in smaller 20-25 minute segments and you should expect between 2-4 lecture segments per week. All lecture segments should be posted by Monday evening for that week’s topic.

3.) Student engagement: An important part of any university course is the ability to interact with the professor to ask questions, clarify material and further engage with the course topics. To ensure that there is the opportunity for such interaction, I will be engaging in three initiatives. The first is simply to respond to emails as they are sent by students in the class. The second is to set up a Chat room on OWL to allow students to post and respond to questions arising from the textbook, lecture or the application of this material to current events ongoing. I will periodically check in on the Chat room through the term and respond to questions posted there. The last means of engaging with me will be through virtual office hours. I will set up a zoom meeting link and make myself available for individual consultation once a week. This will occur on Thursday mornings from 10am-11:30am. To attend these office hours, please log in to zoom and join the waiting room. I will meet with students in the order that they entered the waiting room. This office hour meeting link will be posted in OWL at the beginning of the course.

4.) Changes to syllabus: Please note that I will do everything I can to stick with the plan for the course laid out in this syllabus. This said, I reserve the right to make minor and reasonable alterations to the topics, readings and exam dates should unforeseen circumstances arise.

Page 3 of 5

Course Topics and Readings:

I. Introducing Canadian Politics (and its various issues):

Week 1 (September 9-18) Introduction and Overview Brooks Chapter 1

II. Some Institutions of Canadian Government and their issues:

Week 2 (September 21-25) Federalism – What is federalism and does it help Canada function?
Brooks Chapter 8
Béland, D., Lecours, A., Paquet, M., & Tombe, T. (2020). A Critical Juncture in Fiscal Federalism? Canada’s Response to COVID-19. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 1-5. doi:10.1017/S0008423920000323.

Hanniman, K. (2020). COVID-19, Fiscal Federalism and Provincial Debt: Have We Reached a Critical Juncture? Canadian Journal of Political Science, 1-7. doi:10.1017/S0008423920000621

Week 3 (September 28-October 2) Parliament – Just how dysfunctional is it? Brooks Chapter 9
Malloy, J. (2020). The Adaptation of Parliament’s Multiple Roles to COVID-19. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 1-5. doi:10.1017/S0008423920000426

Rayment, E., & VandenBeukel, J. (2020). Pandemic Parliaments: Canadian Legislatures in a Time of Crisis. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 1-6. doi:10.1017/S0008423920000499

III. Participation Issues

Week 4 (October 5-9) i. Political Parties – Are parties serving Canadian Democracy or just self-serving?
Brooks Chapter 11 (pp. 292-313)
ii.Third Parties – Do third parties exert too much influence in Canadian Politics? Brooks Chapter 11 (pp.327-331) and Chapter 12 (pp. 333-361)

Recommended but not required:

Montpetit, Eric. “Are Interest Groups Useful or Harmful? Take Two” in Bickerton and Gagnon (eds.) Canadian Politics (6e) Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Week 5 (October 12-16) Voting and Elections – Are enough people participating in Canadian elections?
Brooks Chapter 11 (pp.320-327)
Kanji, M. and K. Archer. 2002. The Theories of Voting and Their Applicability in Canada.

In Everitt and O’Neill (eds.) Citizen Politics. Toronto: Oxford University Press.

Page 4 of 5

Week 6 (October 19-23) Electoral System – Should we change our electoral system? Brooks Chapter 11 (pp.317-320)
McDougall, B. 2016. Stick with the electoral system we have. Policy Options. https://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/june-2016/stick-with-the-electoral-system-we-have/

Thomas, P. G. 2016. Electoral Reform and the pros and cons of compulsory voting. Policy Options. https://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/july-2016/electoral-reform-and-the-pros-and-cons-of-compulsory-voting/

Week 7 (October 26-30) Public Opinion – (How) does the Canadian public form opinions about issues?
Gidengil, E. 2002. Bringing Politics Back In: Recent Developments in the Study of Public Opinion in Canada. In Everitt and O’Neill (eds.) Citizen Politics. Toronto: Oxford University Press.

Merkley, E., Bridgman, A., Loewen, P., Owen, T., Ruths, D., & Zhilin, O. (2020). A Rare Moment of Cross-Partisan Consensus: Elite and Public Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Canada. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 1-8. doi:10.1017/S000842392000031.

Pickup, M., Stecula, D., & Van der Linden, C. (2020). Novel Coronavirus, Old Partisanship: COVID-19 Attitudes and Behaviours in the United States and Canada. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 53(2), 357-364. doi:10.1017/S0008423920000463

********************* Midterm Exam***********************

October 30 9:30am-1:30pm on OWL

*******************Fall Term Reading Week********************

No class during week of November 2-8

IV. Enduring Issues in Canadian Politics

Week 8 (November 9-13) Linguistic and Regional Issues – How do language, economics and geography divide Canada? Part 1
Brooks Chapter 5 and 14

Week 9 (November 16-20) Linguistic and Regional Issues – How do language, economics and geography divide Canada? Part 2
Brooks Chapter 5 and 14
Chouinard, S., & Normand, M. (2020). Talk COVID to Me: Language Rights and Canadian Government Responses to the Pandemic. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 53(2), 259-264. doi:10.1017/S0008423920000359

Page 5 of 5

Week 10 (November 23-27) Gender – (Does) the gender divide remain(s)?

Brooks Chapter 15
De Silva, N. (2020). A Human Rights Approach to Emergency Response? The Advocacy of Canada’s Human Rights Commissions during the COVID-19 Crisis. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 1-7. doi:10.1017/S0008423920000438

Week 11 (November 30-December 4) Indigenous Politics – Canada’s national shame? Brooks Chapter 16
De Silva, N. (2020). A Human Rights Approach to Emergency Response? The Advocacy of Canada’s Human Rights Commissions during the COVID-19 Crisis. Canadian Journal of Political Science, 1-7. doi:10.1017/S0008423920000438

Reference no: EM132069492

GET HELP WITH YOUR PAPERS

WhatsApp
Hello! Need help with your assignments? We are here