You – Part of the Law Making Process
What law-making values are important to you?
Is it dealing with significant scarce resources? Is it:
- everyone with land to “own”,
- decent housing,
- access to post-secondary education,
- clean air,
- health care?
Disagreement and conflict are inevitable in handling scarce resources. The difficulty in obtaining a satisfactory resolution does not dictate that the effort to keep working on an amenable solution for all should be abandoned.
What you think matters. The black box (not the proverbial “little black book”) of inputs, outputs, and feedback are core to politics.
Inputs are the information upon which political decisions are based. Demand needs to rise in quality towards health care (illness prevention) and a national day care system. Support fluctuates as people reluctantly comply to taxes and may riot over issues. Political Parties agrigate demands – not a “necessary evil”, but part of a neccessary process.
The output product or the work reveals itself in laws, policies, and decisions that the system does. It is either allocative (policy making and application) or symbolic (new flag, holiday, abolishing monarchy). When we assess Crown Speeches, it would do well to determine what is substance and which is window dressing. Society needs a good mix of both.
Feedback: the effect of a policy in its stated intent and in its delivery or lack thereof. The disenfranchised or overworked may not have the energy or wherewithall to give adequate feedback for policies to move forward.
Once an envied political bureaucracy after WWII, Canada’s bureaucratic system is stressed with too little in staffing and retraining when there are policy shifts and little in a listening ear to the working bureaucrats in the system. There is not enough efficiency in the system to reallign and update fully and properly. The processes of the system are what make the country move forward as a people of peoples. “Total employment by all levels of government in Canada is far below that of most modern western democracies and very close to the United States.” pg. 17, Kenneth Kernaghan, David Siegel, Public Administration in Canada, Nelson Canada, Scarborough, 1991, pg 18, Footnote 27: Sutherland, “Federal Bureaucracy,” 73.
French political philosopher Jean Bodin (1530- 96)
Bodin reasoned for a strong central government ruling over all to address instability in France. Sovereignty law is such that the law holds the state together. The state is above the law from which the laws emmanate (explaining certain cavalier attitudes to laws by some politicians who will remain nameless). Divine law, natural law and international law restrict it.
Bodin also spoke of family: parents, children, and that property is neccessary for survival. Ownership of property is a natural right. The father has total power [I thought this was fine when I was a child since I didn’t know there existed evil men to see the implications]. Bodin’s views need to be seen in the context of the times. The larger association of the state is for protection and punishment for disobedience.
Theory of state sovereignty is a western European concept. It does not fit in with clans, tribes, or religious authorities. Hence Somolia is visited with warring clans. According to Bodin, government is at the center ruled by one person who is superiour to local rulers and the church. It consists of a unified government embodied in an absolute monarch, ruled over a geographic area and cannot be challenged. The state has absolute and final legal authority over all matters and is not subject to any power outside itself. The state is sovereign over life and death and can allow or veto assisted suicides. It is compared to God ruling heaven. There is seen to be a connection between divine rule and rule on earth. The state is characterized by justice. Justice is likely to exist when you have an equal chance and your rights are protected. The State regulates almost everything. States normally endure whereas governments come and go. Law enforcement is left to the authorities. The laws formulated are binding rules emanating from the government and are enforceable by police and courts.
There are two kinds of law:
- Customary law is developed over time by habit and custom. It is not always written down. There is no law written that we need a Prime Minister but it has become Common Law.
- Statutary law is a written legislative process with the lower level of consent, the greater the need to exert force.
Modern sovereignty is popular sovereignty in which the existance of the state, its activities and nature of its governemnt are subject to the wishes of the people, maintaining law ans order and taxes, ect.
Is sovereignty obsolite? States have limits with international law and sovereignty is shared. Separatists want sovereignty/association. yet in the Viet Nam War China could have intervened but did not.