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The Canadian Government for Dummies
Transcript of The Canadian Government for Dummies
What does the Structure look Like?
There are three "levels" of government:
Political Parties of Canada
There are currently 11 registered political parties in Canada. The current party in power is the Conservative Party of Canada, the official opposition being the New Democratic Party.
The Purpose of the Canadian Senate
Now with 105 appointed members, the Senate is there to represent the groups often unrepresented in the Parliament, such as visible minorities, First Nations peoples, and women.
The Federal Government encompasses all of Canada.
There are three levels of Federal Government. Formally, Queen Elizabeth II resides at the top of the political pyramid, as the Formal Head of State.
The Prime Minister
The Prime minister is the head of the Canadian Government. The PM chooses MPs to serve in his Cabinet, who are delegated specific tasks (Minister of Finance, etc.). The current PM is Stephen Harper.
House of Commons
The House of Commons: Canadian citizens elect representatives to the House of Commons. These representatives are called Members of Parliment (or MP's) and usually belong to a political party. The political party that has the greatest number of MPs forms the government.
The Senate reviews laws put forth by the House of Commons. The Senate is made up of Senators chosen by the Prime minister.
Territorial and Provincial
The Territorial and Provincial governments govern a given Province or Territory.
The Lieutenant Governor represents the Queen at a Provincial/Territorial Level.
The Legislative Assembly makes laws. And in some cases, they are called "Members of Provincial Parliment" or MPPs.
The Premier leads the Provincial/Territorial government, and appoints MPPs to a cabinet.
The Municipal Government is made up of councils and committies headed by a mayor.
- Bloc Quebecois
- Canadian Action Party
- Christian Heritage Party of Canada
- Communist Party of Canada
- Conservative Party of Canada
- Green Party of Canada
- Liberal Party of Canada
- Libertarian Party of Canada
- Marijuana Party
- Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada
- New Democratic Party (NDP)
- Pirate Party of Canada
- Progressive Canadian Party
- Rhineceros Party
- United Party of Canada
What is a Political Party?
A Political Party is a group of people who share the same ideas about the way the country should be governed. They work together to introduce new laws, and alter old ones. Political paties try to control what happens in parliament by securing a majority of seats (Members of Parliament).
The Senate was created in 1867 and had 72 seats. It was created to counterbalance representation by population in the House of Commons.
Is Canada in Fact, a Democracy?
As per the Constitution Act (1867), Canada is a Constitutional Monarchy.
The ruling sovereign (Queen Elizabeth II), is considered to have rule in every role except political.
What is a Constitutional Monarchy?
The Political Spectrum
A constitutional monarchy means a nonpolitical monarch acts as the head of state, within the parameters of a constitution. In Canada, this is the Queen.
The British monarchy is by far the oldest in the world, dating back to before the Norman Conquest. The origin of Canada's constitutional monarchy (tied to Britain) and be traced back to 1867, the year the Constitution was written.
The Political Spectrum contains Left-wing parties on one end and right-wing on the other. It is a model that shows a division of beliefs and values. Most parties lie on one side or the other, with the odd exception.
The Charter of Rights and Freedoms
The charter of rights and freedoms is a bill of rights contained within the Constitution which gives political rights to some Canadian citizens and civil rights to ALL Canadian citizens.
It is designed to unify Canadians around a set of principals that embodies those rights.
There are seven main pillars of this bill:
Fundamental Freedoms, Democratic Rights, Legal Rights, Equality Rights, Language Rights, and Minority Language Education Rights.
This radical change to Canadian Constitution was included in the charter and means that a vote can be made to break the Charter, if there is a need for a law to be passed that violates it. This vote must be passed with a majority.