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Basics of Canadian Politics and Government Essay

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Updated: Apr 5th, 2019

Canada is one of the most democratic countries in the world. However, like other modern democracies, it faces democratic challenges. According to Simpson (2001), Canadian system can be regarded as a friendly dictatorship and lacks the idealness to be a fully democratic country.

There is no clear theory of assessing democratic level of a country. There has been a debate on democratic deficit in Canada with some people arguing that democracy should be assessed by its voting practice.

Although some issues have been addressed and people made to vote, others like human rights, competitive political parties, a wide representative institutions, rule of law, consultative and deliberative exercise, free press and the protection of individual rights and liberties have not been exhaustively achieved.

Basing on different assessments, the state of democracy in Canada will depend entirely on the background theory of democracy one endorses (Simpson, 2001).

The country’s political system is not pro-active and has lagged behind mature democracies like Britain. Furthermore, Canada has inappropriately relied on the United State for reforms, excess of provincialism and ignorance on how the Canadian political system functions. There is overreliance on voting as a measure of democracy in Canada putting it in a doubted position.

Civil disobedience has been used in several countries to force political systems to embrace real political democracies. In the past, courts have inflamed dissatisfaction with status quo by adhering to the strict letter of the law. This means that at some point, either the citizens or people in power may feel that courts administer unjust or unfair judgment.

This can justify reasons to embrace civil disobedience. Most people believe that the governments have a responsibility of giving health care, education, provision of social safety for the poor, sick and afflicted. However, in many cases governments fail to exhaustively address or attend to such cases.

Government and lawmakers have the power to change laws which are inadequate or oppressive to the people. On the other hand, courts interpret and administer justice based on these laws without favoring any party in a case. When such laws are oppressive, the public may resort to civil disobedience to pressure the government and those in power to act or change laws.

Therefore, civil disobedience can be appropriate when justice cannot be delivered using of existing laws. Classic civil disobedience should take four forms; clear identification of the law being challenged, open disobedience of the law, non-violence and acceptance of the legal consequences of breaking the law.

Aboriginal people and women have been faced with poverty because of marginalization and general oppression due to colonial, patriarchy, and the effects of Euro-Canadian governance on their families’ history and their life experience. As a result of this, it has spread to other minority groups such as immigrants.

The main causes of poverty among these people are lack of adequate employment income or lack of government support. Lack of adequate employment is caused by marginalization and poor political representation of aboriginal people in Canadian system. Poor representation has been attributed to lack of education, resources and numbers to support one of their own.

Furthermore, the continued lack of education from parents to children is worsening the bad situation of aboriginal people in Canada. Aboriginal people and women are faced with racial and gender discrimination in labour market causing them to do poorly paying jobs or stay jobless. Entering job market with poor education contributes to poor pay.

The government is currently providing relieve food to poor people across Canada. Both government and humanitarian groups have been engaged in charity activities. To reduce poverty among these vulnerable groups, there have been economic strategies aimed at creating local and community based economic opportunities in inner-city and high-need neighborhoods.

This includes cooperatives and local businesses supported by loans and credit funds. The government has responded to public demand by enacting legislation aimed at having a road map to ending poverty (Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives 2005).

To end poverty in Canada, a more effective approach should have been taken by the government. Apart from policies aimed at reducing or ending poverty among vulnerable groups, there should have been advocacy to change mainstream culture and the way these people live their lives.

The government should involve organisations which have the capacity to carry out such activities. The government should provided money and logistical support while other organisations provide human resource and expertise (Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives 2005).

Although Canada has the highest social mobility in developed world, there are several barriers especially for marginalized people. Absolute social mobility has been hindered by crowded workforce at managerial level.

When the Canadian economic growth was high, there was a high absolute social mobility. Now, the people who are in management remain in management, while those at lower work level do not easily penetrate to management especially if they are from minority groups. There are few emerging firms which can allow social mobility.

Relative mobility has its own barriers in Canada. Individuals from elite families have the advantage of ascending to managerial levels easily than those from poor background and aboriginal groups.

People who want to climb career ladder and improve their standards of living as individuals are likely to face several barriers but can succeed if they have the right qualification and venture into diverse firms. Social ladder is hard to climb when one has a poor job, income and social status. This has been experienced by aboriginal people and immigrants in Canada.

The government and private firms should make hiring and promotion of employees fair and competitive to allow people to climb career ladder. This will consequently increase their income and improve their standards of living. School going children should be encouraged to finish their basic education and pursue college diplomas and degrees to increase their competitiveness in job market.

Canada has a stable economy compared to several other countries in the world. However, several trade agreements signed between it and the United States has pressured the Canadian economy and made the United States a centre of economic power in the region. For this reason Canada has become susceptible to being dependent on the U.S. Economy. Its survival is tied to the relationship based on trade agreements.

Because of dependence on the United Sates economy, Canada has been made to bend by both global processes and internal or regional processes. Canada can be held back by the United States from seeking other trade partners due to trade agreements. Political pressures can arise from various groups who feel they are not benefiting from trade ties with the United States (Mercer, 1994).

To stop dependence on the United States, Canada can allow current signed agreements to expire and seek other trade partners who have equal bargaining power. Signing trade agreements with different partners will shield its economy from financial crisis like the one which faced the United States and other countries in 2008.


Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives. (2005). Ending Poverty in Canada: From Political Advocacy to Social Transformation. A periodical on global Issues of economic Justice. 4 (2).

Mercer, J. (1994). Canada and its Continental Future: A Matter of Survival. The London Journal of Canadian Studies, 10, 26-38.

Simpson, J. (2001). The Friendly Dictatorship. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart.

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