Political Science - Theses, Dissertations, and other Required Graduate Degree Essays

Receive updates for this collection

Uncovering the judicial role in rights protection under the legal doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty

Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

In 19th century English constitutionalist Albert Venn Dicey's classic statement of the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty, Parliament can make any law whatever and no person or body has the authority to invalidate an Act of Parliament. In the Charter era, this doctrine continues to be invoked by supporters and critics of contemporary judicial review to signal a pre-Charter tradition of judicial deference to parliamentary policy choices regarding the definition and protection of rights. This view of the significance of the doctrine is challenged in this dissertation through a careful and novel re-evaluation of the role Dicey assigned to judges in the doctrine. Indeed, the interpretation of Dicey offered in this dissertation shows that common law judges have long been theorized to have a central role to play in defending common law rights under the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty. Judicial control over the application of law in particular cases facilitates a central role for the judiciary in rights protection by allowing judges to interpret statutes to minimize their detrimental effect on common law rights. This dissertation offers a significant contribution to Canadian constitutional debate by focussing attention on the fact that the judiciary neither needs a bill of rights to play a key role in protecting fundamental rights, nor is prohibited from playing such a role under the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty. In this dissertation, contemporary interpretations of the significance of the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty for judicial rights protection are contrasted to the arguments of Dicey and his Canadian Depression-era critics who were concerned with the policy implications of the central role Dicey assigned to the judiciary in protecting common law rights. This dissertation challenges the common view that the Charter introduced a radical change in the role played by judges in protecting fundamental rights. In fact, constitutional scholars have long praised and condemned the central role played by judges in protecting rights through judicial control over the application of the law in particular cases. This dissertation highlights the extent to which academic conflicts over the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty are ultimately rooted in conflicts over more fundamental values.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (Ph.D.)

Building a norm: the banning of anti-personnel landmines

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

Anti-personnel (AP) landmines have historically been used as a military tool. The humanitarian consequences of AP mines have generated support for an absolute ban on their use. Based on pre-existing principles of humanitarian law, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) campaigned for an international agreement banning AP mines. Canada and a group of like-minded states and NGOs provided the leadership and momentum necessary to gain a broad support for the Ottawa Treaty, which prohibits AP mines. The qualities of the treaty, including timeliness and unequivocal language have helped to create a norm against landmines within the international community. By surveying trends of recent landmine behaviour, this paper documents a trend of growing support and acknowledgement of the norm. This project will demonstrate how recent behaviour by many state actors is largely consistent with a constructivist explanatory perspective of international affairs.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Would terrorists go nuclear? Motivation and strategy

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

This thesis is an attempt to assess the likelihood that terrorist groups would use true nuclear weapons if they had them. It is highly unlikely, although not altogether inconceivable, that terrorists could obtain a hnctional nuclear weapon unless they were directly state-supported. However, non-nuclear radiological dispersion or emission devices could be used. A well-hnded terrorist religious cult, such as Aum Shinrikyo, would pose the greatest risk of nuclear terrorism because it would not be constrained by law or conventional morality and would be undeterrable. The next most dangerous would be a religiously-motivated transnational group, such as a1 Qa'ida, which claims a divine mandate, has no fixed homeland, and has a small, dispersed constituency. Nationalrevolutionary or separatist groups would be least likely to use nuclear weapons because their homelands are vulnerable to retaliation and they could be constrained by their constituencies. Right-wing and single issue groups are 'wild cards'.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Contesting discourse: Can deliberative democracy mitigate protracted ethnic conflict in Israel?

Author: 
Date created: 
2005
Abstract: 

This paper examines the question of whether deliberative democratic processes can be used to effectively mitigate protracted ethnic conflict in Israel. By examining peacemaking strategies used in the past, it tries to explain why peace has been elusive in Israel and what steps must be taken in order to make the regime more legitimate as well as build a lasting peace. A constructivist approach is used to demonstrate the malleability of hardened identities as well as the opportunity for deliberation. While it is not sufficient to create a lasting peace, the paper concludes that through the deliberative democratic process of contesting discourse in public spheres, citizens can engage in meaningful dialogue. Over time this dialogue can contribute to more legitimate institutions and peaceful interactions among citizens.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Department: 
Department of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.A.)

A feasibility study: can Paraguay learn from the Brazilian sugarcane ethanol program?

Author: 
Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

This research investigates the feasibility of Paraguay developing a productive sugarcane ethanol sector, by drawing from the Brazilian experience with biofuels. Brazil is clearly a key case for examining whether there are certain lessons which can be extrapolated for other developing countries, such as Paraguay which have the factor endowment conditions to grow sugarcane and use it for the development of an ethanol industry. This study is framed around the following question: to what extent can the Brazilian ethanol program be replicated in Paraguay? This project’s framework for analysis is based on three categories: political and institutional arrangements that govern the value chain of ethanol in Brazil and Paraguay. These categories include: an evaluation of the multiple stakeholder’s intricately involved; the economic costs and benefits; and sustainability requirements which must be incorporated in order to credibly assess environmental gains and penalties associated with this renewable source.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
D
Department: 
Department of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Exploring the relationship between democratization and corruption in the Philippines, 1986-2006

Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

This project examines why corruption levels in the Philippines did not perceptibly improve during the periods of 1986-2006 when the country embarked upon a series of democratization measures. The research finds that several factors were involved: an entrenched political culture of patronage politics; weakness in the judicial system; decentralization of corruption networks; and deficiencies in civil servants’ wages. The research concludes that these factors are unlikely to be effectively addressed in the Philippines until democracy is consolidated. While the democratizing processes that came into being at the end of the Marcos regime established an ‘institutional democracy,’ democratic norms, values and practices have not yet become entrenched in the deeper fabrics of society. Without developing these, it is likely that corruption will continue to plague the country. Democratic consolidation―that is, enhancing institutions and making politicians and bureaucrats more accountable to civil society―is therefore most important in reducing corruption.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
M
Department: 
Department of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.A.)

Do political preconditions affect environmental outcomes? Exploring the linkages between proportional representation, Green parties and the Kyoto Protocol

Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

Is there a relationship between positive environmental changes, a quick ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and preconditions such as green party presence and a Proportional Representation (PR) electoral system? The findings suggest that Proportional Representation electoral systems are correlated with green parties in legislatures. PR is also correlated with a faster time to ratify the Kyoto Protocol after December 1997, as well as the change in percentage of world total carbon emissions. The presence of green parties in cabinet and legislatures does not have a statistically significant relationship to the dependent variables. Finding very little correlation between PR, green party presence, and better environmental outcomes may indicate that even in a PR system, those politicians with an environmental agenda often set aside their convictions and go along with the majority in the coalition they have joined.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
A
Department: 
Department of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.A.)

Harm reduction and supervised safe consumption sites: Ideas and policy in Toronto and Vancouver

Author: 
Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

In 2003, the city of Vancouver opened North America’s first supervised injection site, Insite. Insite presents a case where the municipal government initiated change in drug policy and responded to a health crisis. It provides a case for understanding change in the ideas that guide policy making. In Vancouver, policy-maker’s decisions were informed by the idea of harm reduction. The extent to which this occurred is unique to Vancouver, and such developments have not taken place elsewhere in North America. In order to understand how this happened, Vancouver has been compared with Toronto. Through elite interviews and analysis of primary documents, the process of policy change in Vancouver and policy stability in Toronto are traced. Ultimately, in Vancouver an alignment of the public, media, politicians and police occurred, and all actors recognized the need for an alternative to the existing enforcement approach and Insite was part of that alternative.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
L
Department: 
Department of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)

Who identifies with Europe? A multi-level analysis of European identity and political support for a European community

Date created: 
2010
Abstract: 

In today’s European politics, European integration and further enlargements of the European Union (EU) are two of the most salient issues on the political agenda. Public opinion is becoming increasingly decisive for EU policy-making, and it is crucial to identify the factors that shape European identity and public opinion about the integration process in order to understand and predict the dynamics of European integration. I argue a European identity that indicates support for the EU is a “civic” or “political” identity that reflects economic and political values and principles promoted by EU institutions. Employing survey data from the 2005-2006 World Values Survey for 17 European countries, I evaluate the effects of utilitarian and national identity factors on European identity. The results of the multiple, multi-level linear regression analysis indicate that economic and political factors on both the macro and micro level shape European identity and support for European integration.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
S
Department: 
Department of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Research Project (M.A.)

Framing action: assessing the impact of obesity framing on program design in British Columbia

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2009
Abstract: 

The percentage of Canadians who are overweight or obese has risen dramatically in the past twenty years, prompting federal and provincial governments to take action on obesity. This thesis studies the impact of obesity framing on program design in BC. The focus of this thesis is two-fold. First, it is demonstrated how ideas and discursive processes are framing obesity as a health individualism construct. Second, it is shown how dominant obesity orthodoxy is impacting the design and creation of obesity intervention strategies in BC. It is shown that antiobesity literature has been instrumental in framing obesity as a serious health problem for which individuals are ultimately responsible. Moreover, it is argued that obesity program design in BC has centered on obesity as a health individualism construct, which has had the effect of relegating Government to a resource-base, relying on nodality-based policy instruments such as self-serve e-health resources and information campaigns.

Document type: 
Thesis
File(s): 
Senior supervisor: 
M
Department: 
Dept. of Political Science - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)