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Parliament and Government in Canada
Transcript of Parliament and Government in Canada
Government in Canada Looking at the structure of the federal and provincial governments in Canada The executive branch The executive branch of the government is responsible for implementing and enforcing the laws that are created by the legislative part of the government. At the federal level, it is comprised of The Queen, the prime minister, the federal cabinet, and the civil service. At the provincial level it is comprised of the lieutenant governor, premier, cabinet, and the civil service. The legislative branch The job of the legislative branch of the government is to discuss and debate political issues and to regulate and create laws. At a federal level this branch is made up of the Parliament, the Governor General, the House of Commons, and the Senate. At the provincial level it is made up of the Provincial Legislature, the Lieutenant Governor, and the Elected House. the judiciary branch The judiciary branch of the government is responsible for the application of the laws created by the legislative branch to specific situations. This branch is comprised of only the Federal Judiciary at the federal level and the Provincial Judiciary at the provincial level. The queen, currently Queen Elizabeth II, is the Head of State in Canada. She serves as the Queen of Canada separately from her role as the queen in the United Kingdom. Her acts are based completely on the advice of the ministers in the Canadian government. Currently, her role in the government is mostly ceremonial and symbolic, but she still has some responsibilities, such as approving new bills. This can be done either by her personally or her Canadian representative, the governor general. Usually the Queen makes visits to Canada to see the progress and growth that is happening in the country. A great example of this was in 2010, when Queen Elizabeth took a tour across several Canadian cities and even managed to visit the Research In Motion campus to see the technological advances happening there. The Queen Queen Elizabeth II
the current Queen The Federal parliament The federal parliament is responsible for the creation of new laws, policies, and regulations. They make changes to current laws and debate whether to allow new bills to pass. The members of the parliament also discuss general public issues and affairs. The federal parliament is comprised of the queen (or her representative, the governor general), the House of Commons, and the Senate. The Governor General The governor general is the main representative of the queen in Canada. He is appointed by the queen and acts on her behalf as the head of state. The governor general is responsible for completing all of the queen's Canadian duties. There is no fixed term for this position, because the governor general can stay as long as the queen wishes, but is usually replaced every five years. In 2010, after serving 5 years, Michaelle Jean was removed from the position of the governor general of Canada. After some deliberation by the queen, with recommendation from the Prime Minister, David Johnston was appointed to take her place. The governor general plays an important position in our country's federal parliament, because he is the main representative of the United Kingdom in Canada. David Johnston
the current governor general The Senate The senate is the upper house of the Parliament comprised of 105 appointed members. The job of the senate is to review and make any necessary changes to the bills that have already passed through the House of Commons. This ensures that all new laws are thoroughly thought through. The members are selected and appointed by the Prime Minister and approved by the governor general. At the moment, 61 members of the senate are part of the Conservative party, 39 are of the Liberal party, 1 member is from the now non-existent Progressive Conservative party, and 2 are independent, in the end leaving 2 vacant seats. The Senate resides in the same location as the House of Commons: in the Centre Block on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. The Senate in discussion Speaker of the House Pages Clerk and
table officers Hansard
Reporters Cabinet ministers Shadow Cabinet Prime
minister Leader of
opposition Members of parliament Members of parliament Leader of second-largest
opposition party The Members of Parliament are all of the people that make up the House of Commons. They are the ones who debate and express their opinions to make decisions about the legislation as a group. Members of Parliament usually belong to political parties, which greatly influence the way they act. Every MP also represents a riding that they have been elected in, which means that they have to always think about what is best for their particular riding. The House of Commons has two sides: the government side and the opposition side. All of the MPs that belong to the party that currently makes up the government sit on the government side, while the MPs from the other parties take the opposition side. The Speaker of the House is the manager of the House of Commons. He is responsible for the everyday procedures that go on in the house and for supervising the staff. He monitors the debates and makes sure that everything goes according to plan. The Speaker of the House is a regular Member of Parliament that is elected by other Members. Andrew Scheer
the current Speaker of the House The House of Commons in a debate The prime minister is the head of the Canadian government. His responsibility is to advise the monarch, the Queen, on what she should use her power towards in Canada. This means that he gets to make most important decisions, but they then have to be approved by the Queen, or most likely her representative the governor general. The prime minister is the leader of the party that was given the most seats in the House of Commons in an election. He holds the most power and importance in the house. Stephen Harper
the current prime minister of Canada Cabinet ministers are are Members of Parliament that are appointed by the prime minister to be in charge of certain specific areas of expertise. Some examples are: the minister of foreign affairs, the minister of finance, the minister of health, or the minister of public safety. These people are usually part of the governing party. They work to keep up and improve their specific aspects of the country's life. Jim Flaherty
Minister of Finance Leona Aglukkaq
Minister of Health Mace The leader of the official opposition is the leader of the party that got the second-largest number of seats in the House of Commons. He is responsible for finding alternatives to the ideas put forward by the governing side. He can also criticize the decisions of the prime minister and his party and present his own ideas to the house. Thomas Mulcair
Leader of Official Opposition (NDP party) The Shadow Cabinet is made up of the Members of Parliament opposing the governing party. Like the leader of the opposition, their job is to find alternatives for the ideas coming from the governing party and to criticize their decisions. More specifically, they each oppose one minister, mimicking the areas of expertise that they are in charge of. This prevents the House of Commons from always being one-sided and helps to provide many different ideas for the solution of a single problem. The logo of the NDP party,
which is the current official opposition The House of Commons The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament. It is comprised of 308 elected members. The House of Commons is responsible for creating new laws and improving existing ones. The decisions that are made in the House of Commons are then sent to the Senate for review and approval.
Here is a diagram of the House of Commons: The provincial legislature The provincial legislature is very similar to the federal House of Commons. It follows the same structure and most participants have very similar roles, but instead of dealing with issues at a federal level, they do so at a provincial level. The provincial legislature is responsible for creating laws and regulations and making necessary changes to existing laws that only apply to their specific province. Speaker of the House Premier Cabinet Ministers Shadow Cabinet Pages Clerk and
table officers Mace Hansard
reporters Leader of
opposition Members of the legislature Members of the legislature Leader of second-largest
opposition party Members of the legislature are the participants of the provincial legislature. They are people who were elected in their riding and now represent that riding in the provincial assembly. The members of the legislature are called different names in different provinces: "Members of Provincial Parliament" in Ontario, "Members of the National Assembly" in Quebec, "Members of the House of Assembly" in Newfoundland, and "Members of the Legislative Assembly" in all other provinces and territories. Since most members belong to a certain party, they are more reflective of the views of their party than their personal views. For example, if one member of the legislature wants to vote for a law to be passed, while his whole party wants to vote against it, that one member will probably be inclined to vote against the law as well, even though it is against his personal beliefs. Ontario Legislative Building,
Toronto, Ontario The Speaker of the House is a Member of Legislature that is elected by other members. He is responsible for keeping the discussions and debates under control. He also supervises personnel and keeps everything running on schedule. Although this is not a person that most people have heard of, he plays a very important role in the legislature. Dave Levac
Speaker of the House of the Ontario Provincial Legislature The Premier is the head of the government of a province or territory. Just like the Prime Minister, the Premier is the leader of the party that obtained the highest number of seats in the legislature. The Premier is the chairman of the legislature and is responsible for appointing cabinet ministers. He has the most power in the legislature. Dalton McGuinty
the current Premier of Ontario Cabinet ministers are members of the legislature who are appointed by the Premier to be in charge of different areas of expertise in the province. The Premier usually chooses people from his own party, but may choose others if he feels that it is necessary. Once ministers are chosen, their job is to make sure that the area that they are devoted to is working well and improving at a constant pace. They also interact with ministers in other provinces to search for better solutions to specific problems. Michael Gravelle
Minister of Natural Resources of Ontario The Leader of the Official Opposition is the leader of the party that got the second largest number of seats on the legislature. He is responsible for putting out alternative ideas to counter the ones presented by the governing party. He may also present his criticism towards the decisions of the governing party if he feels the need to. The Leader of the Opposition is usually a very influential person in the legislature, because he is able to provide a different view of a topic that is being discussed. Tim Hudak
The Leader of the Official Opposition in Ontario The leader of the opposing party appoints members of his party to the Shadow Cabinet. The job of the Shadow Cabinet is to criticize the approaches and ideas of the governing party. The positions on the Shadow Cabinet are also the same as the ones on the actual cabinet, which means that each person gets an area of expertise to focus on. This allows the opposing party to voice their opinions and criticisms on exactly the same topics as the governing party and allows each member on the Shadow Cabinet to focus on one specific member of the actual cabinet. This allows for much more concentrated and clean discussions. Having two viewpoints on a subject is always helpful, because it encourages decisions to be better thought through. The logo of the Conservative party,
which is the official opposition in Ontario Bibliography Forsey , Eugene. "How Canadians Govern Themselves." Parliament of Canada. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 03 2012. Web. 9 Oct 2012. <http://www.parl.gc.ca/about/parliament/senatoreugeneforsey/book/preface-e.html>.
Munroe , Susan. "Canadian Senators Role." About Canada Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Oct 2012. <http://canadaonline.about.com/cs/parliament/a/rolesenators.htm>.
"How an Ontario Bill Becomes a Law." Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Legislative Research Service - Legislative Assembly of Ontario, 08 2011. Web. 9 Oct 2012.