5.Legislature and Executive

Legislature and Executive

Week 5

Class coordinators

Adem Ayoub, Justin Bowman-Laverriere


Review the four basic functions of government (ELAJ) and the role of government in achieving good governance. In July 2016 I attended a riding association meeting with Rob Oliphant in Don Valley West on the subject of the Defence Review. He co-chairs the Public Safety and National Security Committee. I was surprised when he said that he was not in the government, and that members of all parties on the committee will be holding the government to account on behalf of their constituents. Stephen Harper made a point that all Conservative MPs were responsible for the government agenda. Justin Trudeau sees the role of parliament as holding government accountable, and it implies different priorities for MPs. The conventions on a fused legislature and executive can change with an election.

Learning objectives

Understand the relationship between executive and legislature, and their roles in government and governance.

Key terms: Executive (Crown / Head of State / Governor General / Prime Minister / Cabinet / Privy Council Office / Prime Minister’s Office), Responsible Government, Legislative (Parliament (Senate, House of Commons); Official Opposition), Parliamentary supremacy, Types of government (Minority / Majority), Accountability

Required reading

  • Dyck, Critical Approaches, Chapter 21, “Executive: Crown, PM, and Cabinet”
  • Dyck, Critical Approaches, Chapter 23, “Parliament”


Weekly activities can be adjusted by class coordinators in consultation with the professor
Week 5 checklist of material

[1] Introduction from class coordinator – time allocation
[2] Current events of political significance (domestic, international) [60s]
[3] Review/amend focus of learning objectives [5D]
[4] Key terms [5D, GLI]
[5] Critical Approaches and Studying Politics [5D, GLI]
[6] External resources [class coordinator]
[7] Exam questions [5D, GLI]
[8] Looking ahead: next week’s class coordinator introduces (last 15 minutes)

Suggested resources

  • Dyck, Studying Politics, Chapter 8, “The political executive and bureaucracy: on top, and on tap”
  • Dyck, Studying Politics, Chapter 9, “Legislatures: centre stage but not top billing”
  • Barber, M. (2015) How to Run a Government
  • Curran, R. (2016) “Will Deliverology Work for the Federal Government?” Policy Options: The Forum for the Public Good.
  • CBC The House

Next up

The judiciary is the third major function. An independent judiciary is one of the hallmarks of liberal democracy and good governance. You will have to decide on the balance of time spent on various aspects of the legal system and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.