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Canadian Federal Political System
Transcript of Canadian Federal Political System
The Legislative Branch
The Judicial Branch
This branch consists of the Supreme Court and the Provincial/Territorial Courts. Their job is to apply and interpret the laws through legal judgements to make sure the laws passed do not go against Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This branch acts separately from the other two branches and makes sure the other two courts won't go out of control with their powers.
The Supreme Court is the highest court in Canada and they always have the final say in all legal questions. When there is a vacancy in the Supreme Court of Canada, new judges are appointed after consideration and recommendation by a committee and then chosen as a candidate for the position by the Minister of Justice. The position is then given to the person the Prime Minister approves of. As long as they're part of a legal profession (lawyers/judges), they can apply for this process.
The Provincial Court judges are appointed by recommendation of the committee for the province and is appointed by the Lieutenant Governor. They mainly take care of the minor offenses in their province.
What if one of the branches didn't exist?
If any of the branches didn't exist, then there won't be balance and everything will get out of hand. All of them keeps the balance in the federal government.
If the executive branch didn't exist, then our society would be in chaos. There wouldn't be anyone who would represent us abroad and there won't be anyone who would manage the twenty-six government departments that help our country. Nobody would take charge and run our country. There would be no order at all. The executive branch puts laws into action, but without them, the government would just be all talk. There won't be anyone who would run the daily business of the government like finance and natural resources, so everything around Canada would be messed up. Plus, most positions in the federal government are decided by the Prime Minister who is part of the executive branch. Without him/her, then the positions like Governor General, Senators, and the Supreme Court judges won't be decided easily. There won't be anyone in those positions, causing them not to exist.
If the legislative branch didn't exist, then there wouldn't be any laws. After all, they're the ones who make the laws, not the executive branch. Our country would be uncivilized and not safe without laws. With no ideas of how Canada could improve without affecting anyone would not help at all in the government. They represent the people in different areas of Canada. Without them, us Canadians will have no voice in the government, nor will we be able to vote for who we want to represent us. The minorities in Canada won't have any voice in the government either.
If the judicial branch didn't exist, then we won't be able to have a voice to fight for our rights and freedoms if a law doesn't follow the constitution. The other two branches would feel free to continue to pass laws without thinking about the constitution. This would cause our government to become corrupted as they would end up abusing their power. After all, the judicial branch keeps an eye on them. Our rights wouldn't be respected. The judicial branch gives us hope when it comes to a law.
Impacts of this Law
Sadly, this law will impact many dual citizens, refugees and immigrants applying for Canadian citizenship. Now, there are two classes of Canadians: ones born in Canada and naturalized Canadians.
Residents with a dual citizenship could lose their citizenship if they have been found guilty of certain crimes, like spying and terrorism, without even being sent to court. Other crimes (like war or ones that go against humanity) would go through the Federal Court where the decision of taking away someone's citizenship would be decided. The government has been given the right to take away their citizenship which isn't right. Their citizenship could also be taken away due to misrepresentation of Canada or fraud.
Immigrants ages 14-64 who want to become Canadians would have to have a basic knowledge of both French and English as well as having to stay in Canada for four out of six years, limiting their time outside the country. In addition to this, time spent in Canada as a non-permanent resident will not count to the time requirement to becoming a citizen! If they commit certain crimes, then they won't be able to apply for citizenship. If they plan on living in a different country because they have to be with a relative or got a job somewhere else, their citizenship might get canceled.
Refugees will have to wait much more longer as well to become a citizen. They won't feel safe traveling around nor will they be able to see relatives in a different country as they're afraid that by doing so, they will lose their citizenship. In addition to having to stay longer in Canada, time spent working in Canada for qualification of permanent residency (which takes fairly long) will not count in those years.
Canadians won't feel as safe as they were before. Despite the assurance that Canadians without a second citizenship wouldn't lose their Canadian citizenship, naturalized Canadians will definitely not feel assured. This goes against the Charter of Rights and Freedoms for us. It's not equal! Canada used to be a place of equality. Now, it no longer seems at all peaceful.
If someone challenges a piece of legislation...
Bill C-24 came from the House of Commons, but it didn't become a law in the snap of a finger. It had to go through several processes. Chris Alexander had to get the approval of all of the branches to get his idea to become a law. The executive branch and the House of Commons would come together and go through the process. The first step would be the
where the bill is read and is printed. There will be no debate at this stage. Then there will be the
where the two groups will start questioning about the contents of the bill - if it meets the needs of the Canadians or if it would affect the Canadians in some way. If it passes this stage, it's off to the
where they would carefully study the bill to make sure each clause doesn't cause any misunderstanding and they could make some changes to the bill. After that stage comes the
where it will go back to the House of Commons where other changes are made to the bill. In the
, the members in the House of Commons will debate if the bill is a good thing for us Canadians and will vote if it should become a law or not. If they accept the bill, it will go to the Senate who then follow a similar process to see if it may affect the regions and minorities in Canada. After the Senate is done debating, changing, and accepting the bill, the House of Commons will quickly review it and then it is sent for Royal Assent where it officially becomes a law.
About Bill C-24 - the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act
On June 19, 2014, Bill C-24 presented by Chris Alexander, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, became a law which changed the Citizenship Act. This Bill states that it will increase security of Canada and reduce fake citizenship along with strengthening the value of Canadian citizenship. There are now higher requirements of becoming a citizen due to this law. Applicants would also have to have basic knowledge of both Canada's languages as there will be no interpreters during the test. In addition to this, it gives the government the right to revoke and take away citizenship easily. All in all, it's harder to get a citizenship, but easier to lose it. It also allows applicants who are part of the Canadian armed force to get citizenship easier. Born and adopted children from abroad of Crown servants would have easy access to Canadian citizenship as well. Also, the price for citizenship application has been doubled with this law (
-> $200). Most importantly, the Bill states that applicants must have the intention of residing in Canada. If they don't, their citizenship will be revoked.
All of these changes don't affect citizens born in Canada, however.
Canadian Federal Political System
By: Angela Granada
The Three Branches
The federal government is divided into three branches - they don't just function with just the Prime Minister. The three branches consists: the
, and the
. Each branch contains different members who get their positions in different ways.
The Prime Minister and the Cabinet are part of this branch. The job of the executive branch is to execute (put to action) laws and they propose most of the laws. They also run the day-to-day business of government to keep Canada's people safe and the society in order, along with protecting its surroundings.
The Prime Minister gets his/her position if the party they lead wins the most seats in the House of Commons and they themselves are a member of parliament. S/He is the head of the government and assigns the portfolios of the Cabinet members.
The members in the Cabinet are from the House of Commons and are selected to be part of the Cabinet by the Prime Minister. Only 26 out of the 308 members in the House of Commons are chosen to be part of the Cabinet. They are in charge of certain portfolios - or government departments - like finance, health, and environment.
Parliament Building of Canada
The Governor General
The Governor General is the representative of Britain's monarch in the government. They make decisions on behalf of Her Majesty in Canada's government. Currently, they represent Queen Elizabeth II.
To get the position of Governor General, the Prime Minister nominates one candidate and is then appointed by Her Majesty.
In addition to being Her Majesty's representative, s/he is part of both the executive and legislative branch.
The main functions of this branch is to make laws and to represent the rights and interests of the regions of Canada. They check if the laws made would affect the residents of Canada and would have to speak on their behalf. This branch includes the House of Commons and the Senate.
The House of Commons has 308 seats, which means there are 308 members of parliament from all across Canada. These members acquire their position from being elected by
from different districts - or riding - around Canada. They represent all the Canadians and is the major law-making body in Canada's federal political system.
The Senate has 108 seats, each consisting of one senator. The number of senate members are based on regions and the members are appointed to the position by the Prime Minister when there is a vacancy. However, the senators are not part of any political party, whatsoever, but most appointed by the PM support his/her political party. They represent the regions and minorities. Senators can only stay in this job until the age of 75. They cannot propose any bills relating to tax.
The Judicial Branch
What if a law was questioned by someone outside the government? What will happen?
This is where the judicial branch comes in. Despite them not taking part in the process of making a law, they still have a connection. We Canadians
have a voice when it comes to politics as well, even if we have representatives. We have a right in voicing our opinions personally.
For example, if someone was upset about Bill C-24 because it went against our rights for equality, then they would go to the courts - most likely the Supreme Court. It is their job to interpret and apply the laws through legal judgements and make sure these laws do not go against the rights given to us Canadians. It is up to them to decide if it should still be a law or not.
The highest court would always get the last say when it comes to legal questions, so if they decide that the law violates the rights of Canada's people, then they could strike down the law without any more questions.