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What is the structure of Canada's Federal Political system?

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by

Sherene Schmidtler

on 14 September 2016

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Transcript of What is the structure of Canada's Federal Political system?

Britain's Monarch
The King or Queen of Britain is the
FORMAL HEAD OF STATE
in Canada

Britain's King or Queen does
NOT
play an active role in Canada's government.
The Legislative Branch
AKA: The Parliament
The Executive Branch
The Executive Branch include the
PRIME MINISTER
&
CABINET


It is in charge of putting
LAWS
into action
The Branches of Government
What is the structure of Canada's Federal Political system?
THE JUDICIAL BRANCH
The
GOVERNOR GENERAL
is the monarch's representative and is part of the
EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE
branches of Canada's Government.
Canada's current Governor General is
DAVID JOHNSON
HOW TO BECOME PRIME MINISTER!

Be elected as the leader of a political party

Be elected as a Member of Parliament

Your party must win the most seats in the House of Commons
THE CABINET
There are approximately 30 MINISTERS
Made up of MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT or SENATORS
The Prime Minister appoints the CABINET MINISTERS
Together with the PM proposes most of the ideas that become LAWS
Each
PROVINCE
must be represented by at least one
MINISTER
in the
CABINET
Each appointed Cabinet Minister is given a
PORTFOLIO
A portfolio means that the Minister is
RESPONSIBLE
for a specific
GOVERNMENT

DEPARTMENT
or
AGENCY

For Example..
The Minister of the Environment runs the department of the environment, which deals with issues related to the environmental well being of Canada
Canada's Current Cabinet
http://pm.gc.ca/eng/ministers

THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
Makes the
LAWS
Consists of the
MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
who were elected by the people (
RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT
)
Representation in the House of Commons is by population
(REP BY POP)
MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
Elected for a 5 year term
Represents the voters of a political riding
Belong to a political party
The party with the most votes forms the government
The other parties form the
OPPOSITION
The role of the
OPPOSITION
:
Create
debate
in the House of Commons
Question Period
Act as a
Watchdog
Speak the different views and perspectives of Canadians
Majority vs Minority Government
A day in PARLIAMENT
THE SENATE
Includes Canada's courts of law
The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court

It gives the final word about rules and laws
The Judicial Branch acts as a watchdog for all of the other branches of government
The Judicial Branch interprets and applies the laws of Canada.

It ensures the rights of Canadians are being upheld and respected.
Judges of the Supreme Court of Canada
There are 9 in total (3 from Quebec, 3 from Ontario, 2 from Western Canada and 1 from the Maritimes)
It has an uneven number to prevent deadlock
How does one become a Supreme Judge?
Originally, Supreme Judges were appointed by the Prime Minister and Cabinet
As of 2006, judges are nominated and then reviewed by a committee of MPs.
As of 2007, the PM still has the power to appoint a judge of his/her choice.
First of all let's review what is a government?
The term government means a group which exercises power.
It is said that society needs people to make decisions and enforce decisions that affect the conduct of a group.

Do you agree or disagree with this belief?
Elements of Governments
There are a number of common elements found in all governments. They include...
Rules of Conduct
Authority
Acceptance
Jurisdiction
Law Enforcement
Rules that govern the lives of its members
The people are governed by a supreme power or authority
The people give the government the right to have power of authority over them
The area over which the government has the right or power to enforce rules or laws.
The power and ability to enforce government's rules and laws.
Anarchism
Dictatorship
Totalitarianism
Communism
Monarchy
Democracy



The absence of government
The people abolish the government because the believe it conflicts with a person's liberty
Chaos or Utopia - has proven ineffective for the growth and development of a country



The government is tightly controlled by one and only one political party
No freedom of choice
No private enterprises (business)
Restrictions on what a citizen can own, what groups they belong to and what they can say or do
Example: The Communist Party of China where they run businesses, pool resources and decides who gets what.








An extreme version of dictatorship
The government controls the running of the country and the lives of its citizens
Often destroys institutions such as churches, unions and corporations
Demands total loyalty to the government.
Use force and terrorism to enforce their rule
Example: Stalin





When a ruler or rulers have no restrictions on their power
Have exclusive control over the government
People have little to no say in the running of the country
A dictator often obtains and maintains their power through violence and trickery
Example: Hitler





The head of state inherits or is elected to the throne for a lifetime
Traditionally a monarch's power is absolute
Today, many remaining monarch's power is symbolic: leaving the running of countries to the various governing bodies.
Example: Queen Elizabeth






Representative are elected by communities to represent them when decisions are made.
The people have unlimited opportunities to make the government truly representative
Political parties run against each other and the part with the most votes by the citizens generally creates the government.
Example: The Canadian Government



Constitutional & Parliamentary





A Constitution is a basic set of laws by which the people are governed
Parliamentary Government means that the country is governed by a representative group


For example, Canada was once a
Monarchy
but is a
Democracy
that is run by a
Parliamentary Government
that abides by a
Constitution
.



Functions of a Government
Provide order
Provide protection
Create a set of laws that allow people to live together with peace and security
Ensures laws are obeyed
Protects the interests of the people
Branches of the Government
The functions of the government are carried out by three main branches
Legislative
Executive
Judicial
Prime Minister = Lots of Power!

Chooses the Ministers for the Cabinet
Can ask Ministers to resign
Can oppose the ideas of the Cabinet
Gets to help choose the Governor General
Chooses Senators for the Senate
Gets to live in a house maintained by the Canadian Government

What about the Members of Parliament who are not appointed Cabinet Ministers?
Backbenchers
Members of the governing party who are not in the Cabinet
They sit behind the Cabinet Ministers (thus the name backbenchers)
The Cabinet Ministers must try to convince them that proposed policies are a good idea
Backbenchers often have to weigh their loyalty to their party to the wishes of their constituents when voting for policies
Let's get to know our Parliament a little better.
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
The House of Commons is also known as the Lower House
Parliament sits about 27 weeks of the year
Sitting usually starts in September and continues until June
This allows house members to work in their regions or ridings
Parliament opens with a speech from the throne made by the Governor General
MOST IMPORTANTLY
A good MP will learn about the problems of Canada and how to solve them
They will use this knowledge to debate, study and vote on laws proposed for Canada. (A proposed law is called a BILL)
MPs will also inform their constituents about new laws and policies and how they may be affected. They will do this through newsletters, their website, blog, phone calls or letters.



Each sitting in Parliament has its own agenda. The agenda could include:
Committee reports
Minister's Statements
Presentations of petitions
Introduction of Bills
Debates of legislation

The best part of each day is Question Period.
This is when Members of the House can ask Ministers all kinds of questions about their departments and policies
It looks a little like our classroom debates
The Speaker of the House runs the proceedings
Only one person should speak at a time
Sometimes the Members get quite heated and behave badly
THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE
Presides over the House of Commons
Is impartial
Reads the daily agenda, reads the text of any motions and introduces Members during debates
Most importantly, the Speaker ensures that everyone follows proper rules of conduct
Hon. Geoff Regan
So know that we know a little more about happens in the House of Commons, let's go back to one simple reality in Canada's Parliamentary make up.
That means the province or territory with the larger population has more say in the House of Commons. They have more say in issues that affect the entire country
Do you feel the number of seats per province is fair?
Seats in the House of Commons
We will learn more about each of these parties soon...

The Senate is also known as the Upper House
The Senate can be made up of up to 104 men and women.


Senators....
Are appointed by the Governor General on recommendation of the Prime Minister
Must be at least 30 years old and must retire at 75
They must live in the province or territory for which they are appointed and own real estate worth $4000
Being appointed to the Senate is often seen as a reward for service to the country

The Senate is made up of members who have specialized knowledge. This can include...
Ex-premiers
Ex-mayors
Lawyers
Farmers
Scientists
Business Executives
Professors
The Senate can initiate, amend or reject a Bill as they see fit.
They can propose laws that affect all Canadians and the Parliament include taxes and revenue.
THE SENATE = ULTIMATE POWER
No Bill can become law unless it has been passed by the Senate.
The Senate will examine a Bill clause by clause. Rarely does it outright reject a Bill, but will often make amendments to Bills passed by the House of Commons to simply of clarify
The Senate will also examine and investigate important problems in society:
Poverty
Unemployment
Inflation
Senior Issues
Land use
Science and environmental policies
Aboriginal affairs
Relations with the US and other foreign countries
The efficiency of Governmental departments
Above all else the Senate is to be the
Sober Second Thought
to the Bills that are passed in the Legislature.
Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world and there have been some difficulties with how some Senators have behaved.
What is the message the author is giving about the Senate of Canada?
The public and political parties are arguing about what to do about the Senate
Leave as it is
Reform
Abolish
http://reformorabolish.ca/
What is being said...
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/canada-senate-reform/
http://news.nationalpost.com/tag/senate-reform


First of all we have to explain a few terms...
Canada's electoral system is a FIRST PAST THE POST system.
This means the party winning more than 50% of the Seats in the House of Commons forms the government. This is a MAJORITY GOVERNMENT
In this case, if the Governor General agrees, a MINORITY GOVERNMENT is formed.
Canada is organized into electoral ridings. In total there are 338 ridings or seats up for grabs in the House of Commons. In a FIRST PAST THE POST system, the party that wins 170 seats wins the right to lead Canada's Government.
Now because Canada has many different
political parties, sometimes the voice of the
people is a little more divided and the
voting across the country is split.
Sometimes there is an election where no
single party wins 170 seats in the House of
Commons.

In this case the leader of the last ruling Party tries to convince the Governor General that they can form an effective government.
For example Party A was the last ruling party. The recent election results were like this:
Party A - 61 seats
Party B - 64 seats
Party C - 58 seats
Party D - 47 seats
Party E - 78 seats
In this example, Party A, even though they won fewer seats than Party E, can still try to convince the Governor General to let their party rule the country
This system is based on a few simple rules about how a ruling government is defeated.

The ruling party (in our country that means the Conservatives) can be defeated if:
Another party wins majority seats in the House of Commons
The Prime Minister resigns
The ruling government loses a "vote of confidence" on a major motion in the House of Commons. (For example a vote to accept budget)
There are many who argue that this electoral system is not effective.
The GOVERNOR GENERAL is APPOINTED by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister.
Roles of the Governor General
Opens and ends Parliament
Gives royal assent to bills
Reads the speech from the throne (Queen)
Approves Cabinet decisions or bills on the advice of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Swears in the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
Ensures there is always a prime minister in office
Many people feel that the maintaining the Governor General is too costly to tax payers and that Canada should take a final step towards true sovereignty and eliminate the role entirely
What do you think?
Well... not always but more on that in a bit...
What factors do your think the Prime Minister must take into account when appointing Cabinet Ministers?
How a Bill Becomes a Law
http://www.parl.gc.ca/about/parliament/senatoreugeneforsey/inside_view/follow_bill-e.html
How a Bill
Becomes a Law
Time to slow down and get the the real work of the Legislative Branch - Making Laws!
Step 1: Introduction and First Reading
The title of the bill is introduced in the House of Commons. It is printed and give a number. Eg: Bill C50
Step 2: Second Reading
In the House of Commons the principle (idea) of the bill is debated and voted on. Essentially they are voting on if they should keep debating the bill
Step 3: Committee Stage
The bill is then examined clause by clause by any Parliamentary Committees that it applies to.
Step 4: Report Stage
The committees report on any amendments to the bill. All amendments are considered and voted on.
Stage 5: Third Reading
The now amended bill is debated and voted upon in the House of Commons. If the vote is a majority YES then it will go to the Senate
Stage 6: Senate
Once in the Senate the bill will now go through the same process of debate and amendments.
If the Bill is unamended and is accepted by the Senate it is given
ROYAL ASSENT
and becomes
LAW
If the Senate has amended the Bill then it goes back to the House of Commons where it must be debated and voted upon AGAIN
If the House of Commons accepts the amended Bill then it is given
ROYAL ASSENT
and becomes
LAW
If the
House of Commons
only accepts SOME of the
Senate's amendments
then it goes back to the
Senate
to be debated and voted upon again
Once the
House of Commons
AND the
Senate
accept the bill is given
ROYAL ASSENT
and becomes a
LAW
An easy chart to follow is in page 40-41 of your textbook
Currently, there are 86 Senators and 19 vacancies in Canada
Full transcript