"A democracy is a government by the people. The supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections. A democracy must allow the people to be represented by having mechanisms and procedures to limit the power of the executive (leaders) and to hold office-holders accountable" (Merriam Webster 2004).
The following two forms of democracy will be discussed in this paper, the Parliamentary system in Canada and the Presidential system in the United States of America (USA). The strengths and weaknesses of each system of government will be discussed. Which one is more democratic? Are the strengths of one the weaknesses of the other? Which one represents the people the best?.
By definition, a parliament is the supreme legislative body of a major political unit that is a continuing institution comprising a series of individual gathering (Margach, 1972 p.23). The term parliament is also derived from the French adjective parle, which is to speak. Parliamentary governments originated in Great Britain in the 18th century. It is a form of government that is widely found today in countries such as Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan and Great Britain (UK). The executive has two parts in a parliamentary system, each with its own head. Usually the symbolic representative of a parliament system is a monarch and in Canada's case, the Queen, through the Governor General, her representative in Canada. The Queen's representation is mostly ceremonial. In Canada the Constitution provides for the executive government of and over Canada to be vested in the Queen. The Queen is the head of state and symbolizes Canada's status as a "constitutional Monarchy" (Berjermi, 2000 p.7). In one breath parliamentarians describe the Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson as a "classy lady" but they are quick to add that the costs associated with her office a reported $41 million in the past year raises a debate on the value of this country's head of state (Paraskevas, The Vancouver Sun, 2004).