Research Paper: Majority and Minority Governments

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SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] Francois and Hoyland stated, "Minority governments usually rely on the support of at least one other party to sustain the confidence of the legislature" (Francois and Hoyland 2009, 01).

One main reason behind this responsive attitude of minority governments is that they do not have any other option. As stated above, they also need approval of other parties for passing legislation. Therefore, whether they like it or not they have to take the views of MPS. Their case is very different from that of a majority government in which the elected members follow the rules of the party. Opposite to this case, minority governments are dependent on other parties and their votes.

Accountable

The Mandate of the Auditor General of Canada defined accountability in the 1975 Report of the Independent Review Committee as an answer of the responsibility that was given to someone. A minority government is more accountable compared to a majority government, especially in those cases when it is dependent on the votes of other parties. The logic behind this is that it is very easy for the opposition parties to hold government accountable for its processing. They can simply do it by going against the government legislation and giving a vote of no- confidence.

This way, minority governments are very much accountable for what they do. They give a better opportunity to the parliamentarians to raise questions and hold the executive accountable for the actions. Therefore, all the calculations performed by a minority government suffer from the issues of fragility. Their decisions criticized and questions raise for clarifications, which make minority government very much alert and concerned. They only move ahead by taking into confidence the members of the other parties so that no one criticizes them. Minority governments take the responsibility, hold themselves accountable and consider it as their obligation to answer and justify their actions. They explain their intensions and reasons of taking a particular action and explain the results and targets achieved.

Transparent

The last but not the least benefit of the minority government is about its quality of being transparent. There is a lot of formal and informal communication between the parties. Parties inform each other about their demands and intentions in order to pass the bills and which is achieved high level of communication. The government policies become public largely and as a result, government becomes transparent.

The effectiveness of a minority government also depends upon the type of minority government (Geller 1979). In case of a single party minority government, only one party has the responsibility of preparing and delivering the government policies. However, in the case of minority parliament, the concessions and policies are open to the parliament and negotiated with other parties. In both cases, the government is responsible for the performance so it keeps itself transparent and does not hide anything behind the doors.

Therefore as stated in the beginning of the paper, minority governments pay special attention that they communicate and negotiate with the other parties in order to secure their position and stay in power until the election times come. They work hard and cooperate with others to maintain the confidence of the House and drive ahead by taking other parties along with them.

Conclusion

It can be concluded from the above literature and evidences that minority governments are better than majority governments. They should be taken as an excellent opportunity as they have delivered key initiatives in the past and have proved to be responsive, accountable and transparent. However, minority governments cannot bring changes in isolation; they also need support from other levels. According to Hazell and Paun (2009), if minority governments want to work in a better way and bring positive changes, than significant changes are also needed at other levels because it is not possible to bring change only from a public service. Changes are needed in the governments, prime ministers, governor-generals, and media and most important of all, in the entire political culture.

It can be observed that the minority governments of the past did tremendous jobs and created an example for the future minority governments. If the minority governments make a good relationship with the civil services, become responsive and transparent, they are a lot better than the majority governments. They have capability of bringing those changes and take steps that majority government hesitates to do. Therefore, it can be said that the thesis statement 'Minority government is better than a majority government for Canada' proves to be true.

References

Accountability Measures. (1975). Report of the Independent Review Committee on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada. Report of the Secretary General, Ottawa: Information Canada.

Cody, Howard. (2008). "Minority Government in Canada: The Stephen Harper Experience." American Review of Canadian Studies 38.1 (2008): 27+. Questia. Web. 26 June 2012

Forsey, Eugene. (1964). 'The Problem of "Minority" Government in Canada,' The Canadian Journal of Economics and Political Science 30, 1: 1-11.

Francois, Jean and Hoyland, Bjorn. (2009). Voting Coalitions and Minority Governments in Canada. American Political Science Association Meeting Toronto, September 5.

Geller, Linda. (1979). 'Minority Government Reconsidered', Journal of Canadian Studies 14, 2: 67-79.

Hazell, Robert and Akash Paun. (2009). Making Minority Government Work: Hung Parliaments and the Challenges for Westminster… [END OF PREVIEW]

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