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Is Canada's democracy strong enough to experience the challenges the U.S. has?

Last Updated Jan 20, 2021 at 11:50 am PDT

The Senate of Canada building and Senate Chamber are pictured in Ottawa on Monday, Feb. 18, 2019. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is tapping Sen. Marc Gold, a constitutional law expert and former chair of the Jewish Federations of Canada, to serve as the Liberal government's representative in the upper chamber. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Summary

Experts are looking into how durable Canadian democracy is after recent U.S. Capitol attack

SFU political scientist says Canadian democracy has two big differences from the U.S. system

The presence of a Governor General and an electoral infrastructure overseeing the election offers Canada a safeguard

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – After the storming of the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago, experts are investigating what systems are in place in Canadian democracy to protect against similar pressures on the governmental system.

Jordan Heath-Rawlings, host of the Big Story Podcast, spoke with SFU political scientist Stewart Prest to find out, given the chaos in America recently, how likely Canada’s parliamentary system is to withstand similar pressure.

According to Prest, two big differences that offer Canadian democracy a degree of protection are the presence of the Governor General or Lieutenant Governor at the provincial level, and a non-partisan electoral infrastructure for overseeing elections.

“The president is at the head of government and the head of state. There is no office whose job it is to basically say no to the President when they are trying something that falls beyond the constitutional amendment of the office,” said Prest.

At a provincial level, Prest also referenced B.C.’s situation in 2017, when Lt. Gov. Judith Guichon denied then Premier Christy Clark’s request for a snap election as a demonstration of how our system can act as a safeguard.