You are here

Political Science 200

Introduction to Canadian Government

Length of Course: 14 weeks

Classroom Hours per Week: 4 hours lecture

Number of Credits: 3 Credits

Prerequisites: 12 credits and Psci 100 or Psci 202

Corequisite: English 100

Text: Canadian Government and Politics in Transition, 6th Edition, Ch 1-13. Robert J. Jackson and Doreen Jackson. Pearson: Toronto, 2017.

Course Description

This course will introduce students to the basic components and structure of Canadian government. It examines the societal norms and institutions that have informed Canadian politics over time. It introduces students to Canada's branches of government and their role in informing Canadian democracy, as well as the politics and political parties that dominate it.Students will examine the policy-making environment in Canada, impact of the Canadian Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms on the lives of Canadians, intergovernmental relationships between the federal government and the provinces, as well as consider the evolving place of First Nations people within Canada. Finally, students will  examine the role of the media and ethics in Canadian government.   

Learning Outcomes: 

At the end of this course, students will be able to identify Canada's branches of government and key democratic institutions. They will be familiarized with common debates in Canadian politics and evaluate them critically. Students will be able to identify trends in Canadian government, politics and policy-making. Furthermore, this course builds on students' writing and analytical skills. Finally student's will have a better understanding of, and be better able to participate in, the politics of Canada.

Course Outline

Week Topic
Week 1 Introduction
Week 2 Themes in Canadian Government: Centrifugal and Centripetal Forces
Week 3 The Canadian Constitution: Setting the Rules of the Game
Week 4 The Canadian Federation: Federal-Provincial Relationships, Power and Finances
Week 5 The Canadian Nation: The English, Quebecois and First Nations - Seeking Social Justice
Week 6 The Executive of Canada: The Prime Minister and the Queen
Week 7 The Legislature of Canada: The Senate and the Commons
Week 8 The Administration of Canada: Bureaucracy and Policy-Making
Week 9 The Canadian Justice System
Week 10 Canadian Democracy 1: The Parties of Canada and the Role of Interest Groups
Week 11 Canadian Democracy 2: Elections, the Media and Political Participation
Week 12 Canadian Democracy 3: Ethics in Canadian Government
Week 13 Canada and the World: Foreign Policy


Students’ grades will be based on their completion of the following activities:

Class Participation 10%
Assignments 30%
Project 15%
Midterm 20%
Final Examination 25%


Matt Wadsworth, PhD (ABD); MPA