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Course Description

Canadian parliament building with cauldron burning

This course explores the core institutions of Canadian government, including parliamentary government, federalism, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and electoral systems. How these institutions shape and are shaped by political parties and social forces, as well as current issues like Quebec nationalism, identity politics and Aboriginal governance, are covered.

Note: This course can be taken individually or as part of a certificate program.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the learner should be able to:

  1. Identify strengths and weaknesses of major Canadian political institutions including: the constitution, federalism, the legislature and executive, political parties and elections, the bureaucracy and the courts.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the origins and historical development of the major Canadian political institutions in relation to changes in Canadian society and culture and the evolving British and American influence on these institutions.
  3. Understand the impact of groups of key political significance including Aboriginals, women, Francophones, immigrants and ethnic minorities.
  4. Critically analyze the institutions in question with four broad themes in mind:
    • Institutions and society (domestic and international);
    • Institutions and history (political, social and economic);
    • Institutions and actors (groups and individuals); and
    • Institutions and discourse (public and academic).

Course Topics

  • Canadian Political Culture
  • Constitutionalism
  • Federalism
  • The Legislature and the Executive
  • The Other Policy Makers – Courts and the Bureaucracy
  • Political Parties
  • Elections
  • The French Question
  • The Aboriginal Question
  • Women in Canadian Politics
  • Multiculturalism / Social Movements (Diversity and Politics)
  • Regionalism / Provincial Politics


Assessment Item Weight
Discussion Group 20%
Quiz 1 10%
Quiz 2 10%
Term Paper 25%
On Campus Final Exam 35%
Total 100%

Applies Towards the Following Certificates

Technical Requirements

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*Course details are subject to change.


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