Canadian Politics: Institutions and Issues – Research Paper

POLS 1010: Canadian Politics: Institutions and Issues – Research Paper – Due
11:59pm Friday, November 22.
Write a paper, not to exceed 6 pages, and no less than 5 pages, typed, double-spaced, on
one of the topics listed below.
1. Canada should either designate a certain, sizeable portion (select 25%, 33%, 50%, or
some greater percentage) of seats in the Senate to be held by indigenous representatives or
Canada should entrench inter-state institutions in the Constitution to create a separate level
of indigenous government within federalism. Examine proposals to guarantee
representation to indigenous peoples in Canada and other states.
2. Healthcare should be a legislative right and responsibility of the federal government
rather than the provincial governments.
3. Canada should adopt institutions at the federal level which employ quotas to guarantee
levels of descriptive representation for women. E.g., reserving 50% of the seats in the
Senate and/or House of Commons.
4. Canada should amend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to explicitly recognize and
protect the right to a healthy environment for all Canadians.
5. Canada should enact a comprehensive ban on the possession of handguns and rapid-fire,
assault firearms. Examine the experience of other states which have banned such firearms
to provide a comparative perspective.
6. Canada should adopt a system of proportional representation or a preferential ballot
instead of the plurality single-member constituency system currently in place.
7. Natural resources should be a legislative right and responsibility of the federal
government rather than the provincial governments.
8. Voting should be mandatory in Canadian elections, both at the federal and provincial
levels. Penalties for non-voting by eligible voters should include fines or possible prison
sentences. Examine other jurisdictions where voting is mandatory to determine if their
provisions are feasible for Canada.
The essay must be 5-6 pages (excluding title page, references, and bibliography, typed and
double-spaced in Times New Roman 12 point font) and 1250-1500 words in length
(excluding title page and references). A title page and APA referencing are all required
components of your paper. The five criteria are described below, with a description of
dimensions of assessment (or rubric) following:
1. Thesis. Have a clear, concise thesis statement in your introductory paragraph. The thesis
should remain the focus of the argument and evidence in the paper.
2. Evidence. Utilize evidence from sources other than Brooks and Menard, Canadian
Democracy. It’s a good starting point to gain some basic information on your topic, and
the authors even give you sources to further pursue at the end of each chapter (obviously,
you want to follow the ones relevant to your chosen topic). News sources are acceptable…
but do not take the place of scientifically researched academic journal articles or books.
3. Presentation. Introduce your topic. State your thesis. Provide an outline of the form your
paper will follow. Support your thesis with evidence and logic. Think of possible objections
to your claims and or arguments and try to respond to them. Conclude your paper by restating
your argument in summary form; but then, analyze or explain the significance or
further implications of your answer to the question. The mechanics of spelling, grammar,
and paragraph structure can either facilitate or impede the clarity of your communication.
Do not forget to employ correct APA formatting.
4. Logic and argumentation. You are making a case for a particular position. Make sure
your arguments are logically connected and reasonable. Consider the counter position.
Failure to account for obvious objections to your position demonstrates a deficiency of
logic and argumentation.
5. Analysis. Employ terms and concepts we have encountered in this class to assess the
validity of positions and arguments. This paper will require you to use critical, independent
thinking to evaluate political ideas. Tell your reader why your answer to the question
matters.
Dimensions for assessing Research
Paper Assignment
Unsatisfactory
Addresses
criteria in a
rudimentary
fashion or not
at all.
(0 – 1 marks)
Minimal
Addresses
criteria but
major issues
with quality
or effort.
(2 marks)
Average/
Satisfactory
Basic and
acceptable
treatment of
criteria.
(3 marks)
Very Good
Generally
addresses
criteria with
occasional
lapses.
(4 marks)
Excellent/
Outstanding
Comprehensively
addresses
criteria.
(5 marks)
Thesis – 5 marks – Thesis statement
in opening paragraph is clear,
concise, and argumentative;
informing the reader of what policy
position you are supporting and the
specific basis of support.
Evidence – 5 marks- assessed on the
quality of the evidence and the use
the paper makes of it. At least five
peer-reviewed sources (books or
journal articles) are needed for full
evidence. Omission of seminal
materials widely known and
available constitutes a lapse in
evidence.
Presentation – 5 marks – Assessed on
spelling, grammar, syntax, paragraph
composition, structure of paper,
clarity of communication. APA
formatting, including references, is
assessed in this dimension.
Logic in Argumentation – 5 marks –
assessed on the logical progression
and support of your argument;
assessed on the presence and
productive use of a counter-argument
(without making a deliberately weak
counter-argument, a.k.a. a “straw
man” argument).
Analysis – 5 marks – assessed on the
correct application of terms and
concepts learned during the course
either from the textbook or from class
lectures to assess the validity of
positions and arguments. Productive
use of at least three such concepts will
demonstrate understanding. Analysis
is assessed on your ability to use
critical, independent thinking to
evaluate political ideas.