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What is Government?. Why do we have it? Where does it come from? Political Parties Ideologies. What is Government?. Government is a complex structure of politicians, bureaucrats, agencies, organizations and laws Types of government vary: What types can you name?. democracy

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what is government

What is Government?

Why do we have it?

Where does it come from?

Political Parties


what is government1
What is Government?
  • Government is a complex structure of politicians, bureaucrats, agencies, organizations and laws
  • Types of government vary:
    • What types can you name?


    • Canada, US, GB, Germany, France, Scandinavia, Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, NZ, Japan, South Korea....etc.
    • parliamentary = GB, Australia, NZ, Germany...
    • presidential = US, France, South Korea, Mexico...
  • constitutional monarchy
    • GB, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium...
  • absolute monarchy
    • Saudi Arabia
  • tyranny
    • North Korea
  • oligarchy
    • South Africa (until 1994) – now a democracy...

Canada is a “Democracy” and we use a Parliamentary system:

  • Democracy – political parties can be created, free elections, voting, free speech, freedom of the press...
  • Parliamentary – 2 “houses” of government – House of Commons (lower house - elected) and the Senate (upper house - appointed)
    • These 2 houses work together to run the country.

We are a “constitutional monarchy” – the BNA Act (constitution) is based on British tradition and we have a Queen (monarchy)

  • Canada was established as the “Dominion of Canada” in 1867 with the British North America Act (BNA)
  • Our government is also a “federal system” – the powers of government are divided between the federal (national), provincial and municipal (local) levels of govt.

Do we need government? YES/NO

- Why?

  • What does government do for us?

- Services (water, roads, electricity, schools), law & order, organization and structure…

  • What does government prevent us from doing?

- Breaking the law, doing whatever we want…

  • What would happen if we had no government?
  • anarchy?
  • no services, no law & order….

True or False?

  • Queen Elizabeth is the Queen of Canada
  • The Queen is Canada’s Head of State
  • The Canadian Forces, Post Office and Civil Service function in her name
  • “God Save the Queen” is the royal anthem
  • The Queen refers to the Cdn. Govt as “my govt”
  • New citizens swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen
  • No bill can become law until it receives “royal assent” (the Queen’s approval)

In Canada, the federal govt. has been dominated by 2 political parties since 1867:

- Liberals and Conservatives

  • But, at both the federal and provincial levels, other parties have emerged:

- NDP, Bloc Quebecois, Green…

- Communist, Marijuana, Rhino…

  • All of these parties want to gain and exercise power, and once in power, they want to implement their “political platform”:

- a parties statement of ideas and principles

- how they feel the country should be governed


A political parties “platform” is based upon its “ideologies”, or system of beliefs, values and morals

  • Different ideologies are often called “right wing” or “left wing”:

- right wing = limited govt. involvement in the economy and society; individual freedoms, espec. to make $; tough on crime; lower taxes; free trade...

- left wing = govt. should create economic, social and political equality; promote rehabilitation vs. punishment and incarceration of criminals; higher taxes to pay for social programs...


These ideologies are then compared on a “political spectrum” which helps to organize the political parties and their beliefs

  • BUT...

- right and left labels don’t always apply

- you might be left on some issues and right on others

- parties can also shift their beliefs over time

Communism (L) NDP Liberal Conservative Facism(R)