The Grass is Always Greener: A Response Essay
Written by Jennifer Smith in the book Canada and the United States: Difference That Count, the Grass is Always Greener: Prime Ministerial and Presidential Government tackles the difference between the presidential government of the United States and the Prime Ministerial government of Canada. Smith focuses her discussions on three divisions namely selection, term and removal, and powers.
In the selection process of the president and the prime minister, there is a major difference. The process exercised in selecting the leader of the US presidential government is much more complicated and long compare to selecting the leader of Canada’s parliamentary government. However, the US system of selection is older and written compare to Canada’s system.
According to Smith, the American system of selection can be described as an Electoral College system of election. This system was made by the Constitutional framers in order to balance the system of the government which means that the selection of the president will not be on the hands of merely legislative branch of the government and somehow will not rely on the hands of the people. The framers have doubted the people’s ability to know the candidates true personalities and in turn resulted to the Electoral College system.
The Electoral College system of election is a method of indirect election of the president and is based on the states. Each state has there contributions of electoral votes which depends on the number of senators and congressman in the state. Originally, the people will vote the electors that will vote for them. It was then an effective system until the political parties came into the scene. With the involvement of the political parties on the electors, the influence to the results of the state’s elections is considered an all out win. The president and vice-president chosen by the political party are eventually the all-out-winner in a state. Although the constitution provided how to manage the presidential and vice-presidential election, it does not specifically discussed how to be a specific candidate or contender. This is usually determined through a party selection. The political parties hold their national convention to choose their candidates for president and vice-president.
On the other hand, the Canadian system differs from American system based on its convention. The decision-making rules in the Canadian system convention require the candidates with the fewest votes after each ballot be dropped. This process continues until one of the candidates gains the majority of the cast votes. Another difference of the Canadian system of government to the American government is the prizes of the winning candidate- the party leadership and the obedient party.
The terms and removal in office of the president is originally designed by the Constitutional framers. The framers decided to design a four-year term for president with unlimited re-eligibility. With the history of the four-term success of Franklin Roosevelt, legislators were able to pass the 22nd amendment which limits the president terms in to two. Removal, on the other hand, is equivalent to impeachment and is constitutionally applicable to the US system of government. An impeachment can be charged against a president, vice-president, and civil officers of the United States. The grounds may vary from bribery, treason and any high crimes.
In terms of power, the difference between the two types of government is obviously seen. The American applicable constitutional provisions are brief but clear. The executive power and being the Commander-in-Chief are all part of the president’s power. Moreover, the American cabinet which includes all the federal government departments are all selected by the president with the conformity of the Senate. In contrast with the American cabinet, the Canadian cabinet is a collective unit.
In every form of government there are always lapses and weaknesses. As what we always hear, there is no perfect in this world; even a powerful government can experience lapses on its own system. The important thing is how the officials and leaders of the government be able to adapt and learn the imperfections of their own system of government and in turn will choose to have their decision for the benefit of both the country and the people.