Question #1 

A group of 200 political activists have gathered on the lawn of Parliament Hill (the location of Canada’s House of Commons and Senate) in order to raise awareness about childhood poverty in Canada. They argue that the federal government has continuously failed to address this critical issue and ignored the fact that childhood poverty is more likely to be experienced by Aboriginal children. Two of these activists have begun a hunger strike and vow not to eat until they are granted a meeting with the Prime Minister.

How can this event be understood as a demonstration of the strengths and/or weaknesses of Canada’s democratic system? More generally, what measures should be used in order to evaluate the strength of a democratic system of government? What in your view is the most important measure and why? Remember that in order to successfully answer this question you need to define what democracy is and defend your definition of this essentially contested concept. 

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Question #2 

You are a senior policy advisor in the Government of Canada. You have been asked to write a memo to the Prime Minister on whether Canada should change its system of government from a parliamentary system to a presidential system. Your memo should make a clear recommendation as to whether this is a desirable reform and the reasons for your recommendation. To write an effective memo, make sure to consider the following questions: What are the key differences between a parliamentary system of government and a presidential system of government? What are the perceived strengths and weaknesses of Canada’s current system of government? Could this reform affect the way citizens are represented in Canada? Why or why not?


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