The Definition of American and Canadian Politics
One of the main reasons for which it is so hard to define politics is that this notion covers a wide range of definitions, participants, events and tendencies. As it comes from the explanation of Guy, every society is an organized community of individuals who want to achieve a unique social order, so their challenge is to survive in the world of change. In this context, politics is the means by which we create and maintain this order, so it is highly individual for each country, each community and each group. The definition of politics that Canadians use is substantially different from the one used in the USA. As Guy cites it, the definition is as follows:
“Politics…refers to all activity whose main purpose is one or more of the following: to reshape or influence governmental structures or processes; to influence or replace governmental office holders; to influence the formation of public policies…; to gain a place or influence or power within government”.
Hence, Canadian politics is not only a distant, institutional phenomenon, but a behavioral one as well – people encounter revelations of politics in their everyday lives, being not remote but highly participative. In contrast to the American definition that presupposes administrative power over people, institutions and the country, Canadians do not realize the coercive element of politics as a dominant one. Consequently, Canadians value authority more than Americans do.
However, the group of ethnical minorities living in the territory of Canada called Aboriginal people should also be taken into account. In the discussion of Aboriginal people politics also becomes the field of conflicting interests: since the Canadian politics is based on such political values as fight against poverty, provision of health protection, justice and openness, respect to authority, work and employment, Indigenous people feel that their rights are violated, and they are excluded of the overall welfare of the country.
The claims seem reasonable because of the highest figures of unemployment, poverty, poor health and education facilities granted for Aboriginal people. These minorities continue the fight for their rights for many years, and no consensus is still achieved. So, surely, the definition of politics for Indigenous people should look in a completely different way: it should be the provision of equal rights for health, for education, for representation, etc.
My own definition for politics in a just society is as follows: politics is the flexible and sensitive tool for detecting the needs of community, catering for those needs and identifying troublesome aspects with their further elimination; politics should be the way to provide the nation’s prosperity, to raise the living standards of all members of the society, to provide decent healthcare and educational facilities and to ensure transparency and justice of political power representatives.