Canadian Interest Groups Interest group representation in Canada identifies society’s influence on the governing body and the policies decided upon in the legislative setting. The composition of interest groups has evolved over time and has lead to study of three distinct approaches to the power the representational groups have. The growth and change of interests in the Canadian state are dependent upon the structure between societal and government values. An interest group refers to a group of individuals bound together to excerpt pressure upon the government to achieve a common goal and acquire a common benefit. The Canadian government can not deal with the immense responsibility, which is delegated to it without interacting with every major sector of national institutional structure. The interaction gives interest groups a great deal of power because they provide the organization and the knowledge required by the government to oversee the numerous demands and then present the issues back to the government in an easily understandable process. Single issues or individual influence groups are the basic building blocks of modern pressure groups.
Every interest is seen as expressing a combined purpose of individuals that have come together to achieve certain objectives. These groups have limited organizational skills and lack the knowledge of government to succeed in the few specific issues on their objective. Single issues interest groups usually have a fluid membership base, which use the media and extreme action to obtain their goals. The groups usually are fighting for a change in private or public policy they find unfair of unjust. These groups tend to disband when they reach their goals (or concede defeat). Although single interests groups are not completely ineffective, their tendency towards fanaticism makes them not well liked in the beacratic community and in turn do not stay around for to long.
The main key to success for these groups lies within their effectiveness to appeal to public opinion. If the single interests group is around for enough time either by succeeding or refusing to give up they usually band together with other similar single interest groups to carry on the fight. Groups such as this are referred to as organizational interest groups and usually contain a higher degree organization than the single interests groups. Joining two or more groups with attention on structuarl interests can attracts a wider membership base that in turn provides a larger financial support to work with. With more money the group can take hire small staff of experts including lawyers, public policy experts, and public relations staff to help meet the changes in the government. The structure and basic goals of the organization do not change after the merger it simply becomes more complex. Organizational groups tend to avoid excessive behavior in the name of the cause and the use of media to gather public attention.
Instead, the groups use formal briefs to get their point across to the general public. The organizational groups are competent in the political arena but are not as effective as the institutional groups. Institutional groups or superorganizational groups have an extensive membership basis that allows for a stable membership of like-minded people. Everyone within the institutional group does not partake in the same specific interest; the members are required to share the information with others in the group to act in a common fashion. The groups have considerable resources to carry out their concrete and immediate objectives. The resources include a highly trained staff that has extensive knowledge of the government that effects the appropriate government officials and can communicate easily with them. Unlike the single interests or organizational groups, institutional interest groups have the skills and knowledge needed to act as a go between, keeping the political process going among the disagreeing agencies.
They have the ability to evaluate policy and develop opinions outside of party discipline. Institutional group’s members follow an unwritten code of conduct that prohibits action that would make the group unfavorable to the higher up members in government. The need for minority representation in government is the substructure of interest groups. In a pure democracy a society consist[s] of a small number of citizens who assemble and administer the government in person by a majority vote. The uncertainty lies in the fact that there is no protection for the smaller and weaker sections of society. The purpose of interest groups in a democratic system is to represent their members’ views against the groups whom share conflicting views, even when the opposition is the majority government.
The theory of pluralism is based upon four fundamental principles. The first is equal access to the political process and to the policy making arena, everyone should have an equal right to have their voice heard. Secondly, there must be a conflict between the government and the people which makes it necessary for there to be different interest groups representing different ideas. The third factor is that there must be fragmentation within society, without which Canada would be made up of like-minded people and there would be no need for minority representation. Finally there must be neutrality of the State, the government should not show any bias for the interest groups vying for their attention.
Pluralism explains the more interest groups there are in a political system, the more likely those groups are to neutralize each other’s strengths to make sure the state is to run for an elite few. Instead, the large number of interest groups in a system creates a society for the common good of all citizens. Government is unlikely to ever agree to an issue interest groups desire to change if it threatens to change the economic system of the country, raising the real minimum standard of living for the poorest Canadian. Those in power are less inclined to deal with highly controversial issues that would result in the party losing voter support – elimination of the restrictions in the prejudice against gay and lesbian rights. Interest groups are often thought the group should be a legitimate, wealthy, coherent interest, having access to legislative process [tend to be more influential than the] less legitimate, poor, diffused interest, having few sources of access to the legislative process. The government is able to manipulate groups by determining which groups to listen to and which groups receive funding no matter how closely interest groups follow the proposed keys for success.
Since government controls which interest group will be heard, it is in the best interests of the groups to share the opinions of the current government. Interest groups weigh the needs from their own sector in order to decide which proposals to present to the government, in hopes of obtaining legislative support for grants and proposed policies through the policy community. Almost every area of government has its own special lobby association looking out for the interest in that particular field of policy making. Interest groups are the commanding view in a specialized field of public activity in policy communities. Everyone with a direct or indirect interest in a policy area shares a common policy focus and attempts to influence policy outcomes. Those whom share in a policy communities’ interests are divided into two small groups – sub-government and the attentive public. Sub-goverment includes government agencies, businesses, and institutional interest groups, both of which represent the companies and groups that receive automatic inclusion on advisory committees and panels for policy issues. The attentive public is not as plainly defined because it varies depending on the policy field.
It includes the media, organizational groups, single interests groups, and other individuals affected by or are interested in the policy at hand and want a chance to try and change the situation. In Canada interest groups lobbying has been happening since before Confederation. It dates back to the sixteenth century when French and English fur traders propositioned the Sovereign Council to lift the decree prohibiting giving intoxicant to Aboriginal peoples in order to barter for a better price on furs and were successful. The fur traders would give the Aboriginal peoples alcohol and then cheat them out of good price on the furs when they we …