Assignment Three: Representative Democratic Governments

Assignment Three: Representative Democratic Governments

Read pages 332-345 to answer the following questions.
1. The most common type of democracy found in North America is
a. direct democracy.
b. representative democracy.
c. responsible democracy.
d. republican democracy.
2. An important characteristic of direct democracy that is not found in liberal
democracies is
a. referendums.
b. recalls.
c. oligarchies.
d. initiatives.
3. Which of the following is untrue of referendums in Canada?
a. It is required to call a referendum before amending the Constitution.
b. Referendums are often held so politicians can gauge public reaction to
c. Citizens often expect to be consulted before constitutional amendments are
d. Only three referendums have been held in Canada at the federal level.
4. In Canada, an action representing a move away from traditional representative
democracy and toward the practice of direct democracy would be
a. the Prime Minister calling a national referendum to determine government
policy on environmental concerns.
b. the Prime Minister allowing members of Parliament to vote their conscience on
a controversial environmental policy.
c. the House of Commons amending a private members bill on the environment.
d. an environmental activist group disrupting a sitting of the House of Commons.
5. The primary purpose of periodic elections in democracies is to ensure that
a. new candidates are chosen to prevent majority tyranny.
b. one leader cannot monopolize control of a political party.
c. legitimacy and accountability of the government is maintained.
d. minority groups are guaranteed political representation.
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Social Studies 30-1 Module Five: Challenges to Imposing Liberalism
6. An advocate of the ‘first past the post’ system of representative democracy would
argue that it improves government
a. stability.
b. flexibility.
c. accountability.
d. ability.
7. Which of the statements below comparing Canada’s parliamentary democracy and the
United States’ republican democracy is false?
a. The three main branches of government consist of the executive, who propose
laws, the legislative, who either pass or reject laws, and the judicial, who
enforce laws.
b. Members of both the House of Commons and the House of Representatives are
elected in a single-member constituency system, which operates by dividing
electoral districts based on population.
c. Voters in both systems first vote for a federal candidate of their choice by
electing a regional representative for that party, who then represents the will of
his or her constituents in electing the Prime Minister or President.
d. The legislative branches of Canada and the United States require both the
House and the Senate to either recommend changes to proposed legislation, or
to pass legislation into law.
8. A serious weakness of the ‘first past the post’ system is that it
a. does not allow lobbyists to influence the government.
b. stifles the decision-making power of the executive branch.
c. distorts the ideals of representation by population.
d. may not express the true will of the electorate.
9. A solution to the problem described in question 8 might be to adopt a system of
a. proportional representation.
b. totalitarian government.
c. direct democracy.
d. consensus decision-making.
10. A concern with the system identified in question 9 is that this type of representative
democracy leads to
a. powerful lobby groups exerting control over governments.
b. more disagreements among members of the same political party.
c. minority or coalition governments which may prove unstable.
d. unchecked power among the mainstream political parties.
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Social Studies 30-1 Module Five: Challenges to Imposing Liberalism
Examine the table below together with Figure 10-12 on page 344 to compare the 2008
Canadian election results produced through both representation by population and
proportional representation.
Although seats in Canada are awarded through representation by population, examine
which parties would have gained representation and which would have lost representation
if the distribution of MPs in Parliament had been calculated based on proportional

PartyNumber of
VoteNumber of
Seats Awarded
by Population)Number of
Seats Awarded
Representation)Number of
Seats Lost (-) or
Gained (+)

Bloc Quebecois1 379 991104930-19

Conservative Party
of Canada5 209 06937143114-29

Green Party of
Canada937 6138025+25

Liberal Party of
Canada3 633 185267780+3

New Democratic
Party2 515 288193759+22

Total Votes Cast13 929 093

Taken from Perspectives on Ideology text, page 345. Reproduced for educational purposes only.
11. If the proportional representation system were to be adopted in Canada to calculate
voting results, describe the potential benefits and concerns to the Canadian political
system that may arise. Be sure to explore your ideas in a well-developed paragraph.

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