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“People will say with pride, ‘I’m not interested in politics.’ They might just as well say, ‘I’m not interested in my standard of living, my health, my job, my rights, my freedoms, my future or any future.’” • Martha Gellhorn Quoted in The Independent
Democracy Government by the people, for the people Every Canadian citizen over the age of 18 who has been a Canadian citizen for at least one year prior to the election can vote in a Federal election. The same rules apply for provincial/territorial elections
Constitutional Monarchy A country whose Head of State is a monarch (King or Queen) but whose role is limited by the country’s constitution to prevent abuse of power Examples:
Governor General Representative of the Queen at the federal level Duties of the Governor General Include: Dissolving and Recalling Parliament Greeting and hosting foreign dignitaries Giving Royal Assent to all Bills Giving out awards (Arts, Literature, Order of Canada, etc.) Representing the Government at ceremonies; traveling to all provinces and territories
Political Parties People who share the same ideas about how the government should be run form political parties. There are five main political parties that run at the federal level in Canada.
Bloc Quebecois The Bloc Quebecois only runs candidates in the province of QU, so if you don’t live in QU, you can’t vote for the party. Interim Leader – Louis Plamondon
Conservative Party Leader – Stephen Harper
Liberal Party Interim Leader – Bob Rae
New Democratic Party (NDP) Interim Leader – NycoleTurmel
Green Party of Canada Leader – Elizabeth May
Political Platforms The ideas each party has about how the government should deal with specific issues Examples of Platforms: Health Care Environment Economy Military Missions
Questions to This Point: • If you had the opportunity to change the voting laws in Canada, who would you give the vote to or take it away from, or would you leave it as-is? Discuss. • Should Canada remain a constitutional monarchy or become a republic? Discuss and defend your answer. • Should Canada keep its multi-party system, or adopt a bi-party system like the US? • How might interim leaders shape or change the way government runs? • Based on the sample political platforms of the parties in the 2011 campaign, which party would you vote for and why? Mention at least 5 specific platforms that you liked.
Three Levels of Government Garbage Disposal; Parks; By-Law; Snow Removal; Property Tax Mayor/ City Council Cities/ Towns Municipal City Hall Premier/ MLAs Provincial/ Territorial Capitals Provincial/ Territorial Education; Highways; PST; Driver Licensing Legislative Assembly Military; Environment; RCMP; GST; Fisheries and Oceans; Foreign Affairs Prime Minister/ Cabinet Parliament Hill Federal Ottawa
Municipal – City Hall Territorial – Legislative Assembly Federal – Parliament Hill
Representative and Responsible Government Canada’s government is REPRESENTATIVE:Canadian citizens vote for someone to represent them in Parliament Canada’s government is RESPONSIBLE: if citizens are not happy with their representative’s performance, they can vote that person out of power in the next election
MP Member of Parliament; elected to represent citizens at the federal level
Each MP represents an area of the country These areas are referred to as ridings,electoral districts, constituencies or seats There are 308 ridings in Canada Canada runs on the idea of representation by population For example: 1 rep:100,000 people
Breakdown of Ridings in Canada: BC – 36 AB – 28 SK – 14 MB – 14 ON – 106 QU - 75 NB – 10 NS – 11 PEI – 4 NL – 7 YT – 1 NT – 1 NU - 1
Government The party that wins the most number of seats in an election forms the Government. The leader of that party becomes Prime Minister It is this party’s job to run the country
Official Opposition The party that wins the second-most number of seats in the election forms the Official Opposition. The leader of that party becomes Leader of the Official Opposition It is this party’s job to ensure the Government is running the country well
Questions to This Point: • Why is it more efficient to have three levels of government? • Name the current leaders of the three levels of government. • Is the breakdown of seats in Canada fair? Discuss. • Why is it important to have an Official Opposition?
How the Government Runs House of Commons Elected in Federal Elections Introduce and pass laws; represent their constituents in Ottawa MPs All Parties 308 Look after specific departments (portfolios); set direction for the country to run Appointed by PM Varies (27 now) Ruling Party Cabinet MPs Give ‘sober second thought’ to bills; research issues that may come up in Canada in the future Appointed by PM Senate Senators All Parties 105
Cabinet Minister Member of the ruling party that is in charge of handling a federal department, which are also known as portfolios Examples of Departments/Portfolios: Finance National Defence Environment Health Justice Fisheries and Oceans Public Works Foreign Affairs Heritage
Cabinet Shuffle When the Prime Minister moves Cabinet Ministers from one department to another This usually happens when a Minister messes up in a big way. Ministers are either given a new portfolio or are shuffled right out of Cabinet.
Composition of the Senate Ontario 24 Quebec 24 Canadian West 24 - British Columbia 6 - Alberta 6 • Saskatechewan 6 • Manitoba 6 Maritimes 20 • New Brunswick 10 • Nova Scotia 6 • Prince Edward Island 4 Newfoundland 6 Northwest Territories 1 Yukon Territory 1 Nunavut 1 Total Senate Seats: 105
Comparing Senates Appointed by PM Life, up to age 75 Senate 4 year terms, as many terms as you are elected Senate Elected Hereditary – passed from father to son House of Lords Life, until you die
The Speaker of the House: Follows the Parliamentary Rules of Order Maintains order in the House Approves people to speak Ensures each question is less than 30 seconds in length Cuts off microphones if MPs go on too long Is an MP who is elected into the position of Speaker by all other MPs Is impartial The Hon. Andrew Scheer The Hon. Noel Kinsella
Branches of Government Decide laws to put forward Executive Prime Minister & Cabinet House of Commons & Senate Legislative Pass laws Interpret laws *NB: they INTERPRET not ENFORCE laws Judicial Court System
How A Bill Becomes A Law • Third Reading: amended Bill is voted on in HC • First Reading in Senate • Proposal presented to Cabinet • Bill is now a law • Second Reading in Senate • Committee Discussions – MPs from all parties make amendments • Cabinet approves proposal • Royal Assent : Governor General signs the Bill • Third Reading in Senate • Second Reading: HC votes on Bill in principle (basic idea) • Appropriate department writes draft Bill • Senate either approves the Bill OR sends it back for revision • First Reading: Proposal is presented to HC • Once Senate passes the Bill, it moves on • Bill approved by Cabinet
Questions to This Point: • What criteria does the PM use when choosing their Cabinet? • Is the current format of the Senate fair? Why or why not? What changes would you make if you could? • Why are there three branches of government? • How do the branches of government work together? • Are there any steps in passing a bill that are unnecessary? Are there any other steps that should be added? • Is the Senate in Canada necessary? Discuss.
Rule of Law No Canadian citizen is above Canadian law If the Prime Minister or Governor General or an MP is caught breaking the law, they face the same punishment as any other Canadian
Diplomatic Immunity Foreign diplomats (also known as envoys or ambassadors) that are in Canada representing their countries are not subject to Canadian laws Impaired Envoys Continue To Be Granted Immunity Thu. Mar. 30 2006 Kathy Tomlinson, CTV News He's formally referred to as "His Excellency" -- a top diplomat in Ottawa -- but last March, police say Arnold Piggott was spotted driving erratically on Ottawa's Vanier Parkway. Police pulled him over, suspecting he was driving impaired. Piggott is the High Commissioner for Trinidad and Tobago -- so diplomatic immunity protects him from being detained or prosecuted by Canadian authorities. Ottawa police charged him with driving impaired and refusing to provide a breath sample. Because of his diplomatic immunity, though, he hasn't been prosecuted. Foreign Affairs documents show people with diplomatic status had 35 run-ins with Canadian police last year. The alleged criminal activity includes assault, domestic assaults, public intoxication, theft and shoplifting.
Rights What you are entitled to under the law Every Canadian citizen has certain rights that cannot be taken away from them. The exception to this is if you exercising your rights infringes on other people exercising their rights. Example: Everyone has the right to an education, but if you disrupt the learning environment and prevent others from getting their education, you can be removed from the learning environment
Charter of Rights and Freedoms Document that lists all of the rights Canadian citizens have The Charter was signed in 1982 by then-PM Pierre Elliot Trudeau and Queen Elizabeth II.
Fundamental Rights • freedom of conscience and religion • freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication • freedom of peaceful assembly • freedom of association
Democratic Rights • All Canadian citizens can vote and run in elections • There will be an election called at least every 5 years • If Canada is at war when an election is to be called and 1/3 of MPs agree to forego an election, an election does not need to be called • Parliament shall be called at least once every 12 months
Mobility Rights • All citizens have the right to enter, remain and leave Canada • All citizens have the right to move to and work in any province
Legal Rights • Life, liberty and security of the person • No unreasonable search or seizure • No arbitrary detainment or imprisonment • You must be informed of the reason for your arrest upon arrest • You have the right to a lawyer if charged • You have the right to a speedy trial • You don’t have to testify in your own trial • You’re innocent until proven guilty • Can’t be denied reasonable bail without cause • Trial by jury if minimum sentence is 5+ years • Can’t be tried again for the same offence • No cruel or unusual punishment • You can have an interpreter if you don’t speak English or French or are deaf
Equality Rights • All Canadians are equal before the law b) You cannot be discriminated against based on: • Age • Race • National or Ethnic Origin • Colour • Sex • Mental or Physical Disability
Official Languages Rights • English and French are the official languages of Canada • English and French are equal in status • English and French are the official languages of New Brunswick • French and English can both be spoken in Parliament • All federal government documents are available in both official languages • All court proceedings may be done in French or English