Format of the Test
Multiple Choice (20pts)
Short Answer (14pts)
Sample Short Answer Questions
1) Give three reasons why law making is such a difficult task.
(1) laws must be able to meet both the legal challenges and the approval of most citizens;
(2) laws must be enforceable;
(3) laws should balance frequently competing interests.
2) Use examples to demonstrate your understanding of the terms intra vires and ultra vires.
Answers could vary. (e.g., It would be ultra vires the federal Parliament to pass laws that relate to labour and trade unions, however, it would be intra vires if the laws pertained to employment insurance.)
3) Identify the two systems of government that Canada was considering at the time of Confederation and explain how they differ.
(1) a unitary system where power is concentrated in one parliament with a Prime Minister, and
(2) a federal system where power is divided between two levels of government: the central (federal) government to look after national interests, and provincial governments that govern on more regional matters.
4) What is the purpose of lobby groups? Provide an example.
Lobby groups consist of people who try to influence legislators to pass laws that would favour their cause. Examples will vary, but may include MADD, the Coalition for Gun Control, and LEAF.
5) Explain what the following means: "... the distribution of legislative powers was intended to be exhaustive".
Section 91 of the BNA Act granted legislative control to the federal government in certain designated areas. Section 92 gave the provinces other enumerated heads of power. In addition, the opening words of s. 91 conferred residual powers on the federal government authorizing them to make laws for the "Peace, Order, and Good Government of Canada" (i.e., giving all unassigned areas of law-making to the federal government.) This had the effect of ensuring that every conceivable subject of legislation was assigned to one level of government or the other.
6) Outline the problems that exist with the BNA Act with respect to jurisdictional authority over resources.
Some resources, such as fisheries, are under the jurisdiction of the federal government and others, such as timber and wood, are under provincial control. Therefore, disputes arise over which level of government would have control over other resources such as oil and natural gas. The BNA Act is silent with respect to these resources, since its drafters could not possibly have had them within their contemplation in 1867.
7) What obstacle to patriating the Constitution was presented at the Saskatchewan First Minister's Conference in 1982?
Quebec's premier, Renaccent(e) Laccent(e)vesque, was not prepared to support patriation until Quebec was assured of greater economic and cultural powers under the new Constitution.
8) Describe the four key components added to Canada's Constitution under the Constitution Act, (1982).
(1) A principle regarding the equalization of services across Canada;
(2) a clearer interpretation of jurisdiction over natural resources;
(3) a formula to clarify how amendments would be made;
(4) a charter guaranteeing individual rights and freedoms was included.
9) Identify two reasons why the Charlottetown Accord did not receive unanimous support throughout the country.
(1) Quebec felt the Accord did not give them enough power, but other provinces believed it gave them too much power, and, (2) Aboriginal self-government clauses were of concern to provinces like Quebec
10) What is the primary purpose of Royal Commissions?
Their role is to conduct impartial investigations into specific national problems. They may indicate that new laws are necessary in order to remedy the situation.
SAMPLE ESSAY QUESTIONS
A. Describe the law-making process. Provide an explanation of what occurs at each stage in the passage of a federal bill.
B. Using historical references (significant events, dates, etc.) describe the evolution of Canadian legal autonomy from 1867 to 1982.