POL 104 Canadian Government

  • PLEASE NOTE: this abridged outline is an example description of the course, from past years. Instructors can change elements of the course year-to-year.

    COURSE PREREQUISITES:  There are no prerequisites for this course.

    COURSE OBJECTIVES:  Knowledge about the Canadian system of government is important for job preparation of all kinds, as the policy decisions of government affect every career. Through class discussion and debate, role-play, simulations, consideration of politicians’ perspectives, current events, and readings, this course examines the basic design, decision-making processes, and democratic credentials of such institutions as parliamentary democracy, the Crown, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, federalism, political parties, the electoral system and the constitution. The intent of the course is to assist students develop a critical approach to their engagement with Canadian politics so as to contribute to their sense of empowerment as citizens.


    Malcolmson, Patrick, and Richard Myers. The Canadian Regime. 5th ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012.

    Charlton, Mark, and Paul Barker, eds. Crosscurrents: Reader’s Choice. Toronto: Nelson Education.


    1. ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY. A written assessment of one of the political debates raised in the Charlton and Barker text, supporting either the YES or NO argument (worth 25% of the final grade)
    2. MIDTERM EXAM. Comprised of a series of political concepts that must be both defined and explained with reference to their relevance to Canadian politics and a series of short answer questions to be answered in paragraph form (worth 20% of the final grade).
    3. PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE OR FIRST MINISTERS’ CONFERENCE SIMULATION. Acting as Canadian politicians at either the national or provincial level, students will identify a topical issue of importance to Canada and produce a briefing journal in response to that issue from the perspective of their political actor.  Students will then participate in a model Parliamentary Committee or First Ministers Conference to discuss and try to resolve the issue (worth 20% of the final grade). 
    4. FINAL EXAM.  It will be identical in format to the mid-term exam with the addition of an essay question (worth 25% of the final grade).
    5. PARTICIPATION. (worth 10% of the final grade).