Canadian Interest Groups

.. re inebriated. The ban lasted four years. The traders were able to influence the British Crown of the benefits of the money that was saved purchasing the furs from drunks outweighed the expense to the Aboriginal peoples. The number of interest groups, especially those groups promoting social change, has steadily increased during the 1970s.

Many factors may have contributed to the rise of interest groups including the expansion in the population of minorities, the increase of federal funding by the government to interest groups, or it could be due to the rise in social movement that has gone on in the last forty years. Many people whom study interest groups give considerable consideration for the rise of new social movements to the adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in 1982. Interest group activities are more visible and have more media attention since the introduction of the Charter, giving an increasing number of single-issue groups a chance to participate. The Charter allows groups that lack the resources the ability to influence government to obtain important victories in court. The judiciary aid interest groups in stopping or starting government action through litigation as well as helping the interest groups gain public attention to rally behind a certain cause. Another contribution for the rise is interest groups come from the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing (Loritie Commission).

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The commission examined the decrease in party representation has lead to an increase participation in interest group activity. Parties are likely to concentrate on short-term electoral goals and neglect the long-term policy development. Since the increase in partisan politics, many Canadians have refocused their attentions towards private organizations, such as interest groups, for the development of important policies. The policy community is affected not only by conditions in civil society and structures in the economy but they also have a potential constraint on self-sufficient sector-level activities. The four activities with the biggest impact are the degree of stateness, the position of corporatist or pluralist state, the position of business interest, and the impression of globalization. Canada being such an extensive landmass with a diverse population would be considered a weak state.

Citizens show less tolerance for government intervention because of the many divisions in Canadian society. Canada, however, must have some degree of being a stronger state because as in all liberal democracies, the majority of decision making and policy formation resides with the legislative and executive branches of the government. The government in Canada has the final say over which policy proposal will be heard from which interest groups. Although Canada does exhibit some degree of pluralism, Canadians are far from a perfect pluralistic society. Fundamental pluralism, as discussed earlier, does not exist. It is unrealistic to think that each interest group has the same resources be it economic, levels of education, or the power the members hold.

If all interest groups do not stand equal then there will be parts of society (minorities, the poor, etc.) which are underrepresented. Then only the elite will be making the demand for change in society but it will be change only for a select few and not for the masses. Also, there is evidence that governments do favor some groups over others and favoritism causes governments to hear the need of the preferred group over another. The theory of cooporatism attempts, like pluralism, to describe the actual relationship between interest groups and government. This relationship is described as cooperative between some interest groups and government with the goal to be providing stability in the development and implementation of policies. In theory, the government of a fascist state essentially forcefully controls state corporatism. Neither pluralism nor corporatism seems to fit with the Canadian system.

A theory of corporate pluralism fits better in with the system of government. Corporate pluralism allows the government to grant the power to certain interest groups to speak and negotiate for their sector. Secondly, it involves the intervention of government in the economy and society to achieve certain goals or policies. Businesses in Canada are the major political supporter for political parties. In 1999, business and commercial organizations contributed over 12.7 million dollars to the different parties in Canada and it is not too suprising the top recipient of the business worlds generosity was the Liberals receiving more and six million over what any other party received. Politicians listen and comply with those whom pay the bills.

Not all business demands will be accommodated just because of large campaign contribution, especially if there is a conflict of interest between two contributing business groups. . Business concerns are dealt with at the highest levels of government and have nation wide significance. Businesses are courted by parities to ensure both groups get what they want. Parties will guarantee favors or business contracts once elected to office, is a contribution is made.

Businesses buy access to the people in power. The large monetary gifts ensure the government will be willing to a least listen to the problems of the business community. The government will usually grant business requests if they are reasonable and within the governments power. If business feel strongly about a specific desision regarding a particular issue, individual business will lobby together and form a coalition. In November of 1981 a business coalition was formed in protest of the MacEachen budget. The outrage of the business community caused the government to issue an economic statement, detailing a new budget seven months after the first budget was released.

Big business does get their way. When technical issues are involved government usually follows the advise of businesses because the goverment needs an explanation on the impact new technology has on society and whom better to answer than those whom designed it. Although globalization does influence Canadians, the effects are minimal compared to the rest of the world. Canada is a nation of immigrants, with origins reaching all corners of the globe. The character of the country represents peoples with varying interests, goals, and resources.

Globalization does change the organization of interest groups but the effects are immeasureable because of the country is one of the most international of nations and will likely deal with global issues in the confines of government policy. Interest groups in Canada have been dependent on the three levels of analysis that separate interests groups. Organizational interest groups have been gaining great momentum in Canadian politics which conditions [political party] groups from the outside. The interest group community is becoming a huge force within all policy communities. The constraints placed on interest groups at the sector level has helped interest groups to organize their resources and enabled them to project their view to government more efficiently.

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