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Government & Law The Structure of Canada ’ s Government. What is Government?. Formal system of decision making Govt acts according to established rules and procedures – traditions Institutions carry out govt ’ s work. Foundations of Our Government. First Nations Hereditary title

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Presentation Transcript
what is government
What is Government?
  • Formal system of decision making
  • Govt acts according to established rules and procedures – traditions
  • Institutions carry out govt’s work
foundations of our government
Foundations of Our Government
  • First Nations
    • Hereditary title
    • Elected leaders
    • Community leadership
    • Oral traditions
  • European Roots of Canadian system
    • British parliamentary tradition basis for federal & provincial governments
      • Representative democracy
      • Constitutional monarchy
parliament hill
Parliament Hill

queen of canada
Queen of Canada

representative democracy
Representative democracy
  • Democracy – rule by the people
  • Greek – direct - eligible citizens vote o all decisions affecting society
  • Representative – elected representatives make decisions on our behalf
constitutional monarchy
Constitutional Monarchy
  • Monarch as Head of State
  • Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of Canada
  • Governor General is Monarch’s representative in Canada
  • QEII does not actually rule Canada but safeguards democracy
  • Laws cannot be ignored

written constitution
Written Constitution
  • 1867 British North America Act (BNA)
  • Amended in 1982
    • Powers of provincial legislatures & Parliament
    • Charter of Rights and Freedoms
    • An amending formula (7/10 >50% population)
  • Unwritten constitution
    • Rules & practices that are not written but are based on 1000 years of parliamentary tradition inherited from Britain e.g.: no mention of political parties in the Constitution but important part of our system
federal system
Federal System
  • An organization of regional governments (provinces) acting on behalf of its own residents with a central govt responsible for matters of the nation as a whole – federalism
  • Federal e.g.:
    • Citizenship
    • Defense
    • Currency
    • Residual powers – new areas that did not exist then
  • Provincial e.g.:
    • Education
    • Health care
  • Shared e.g.:
    • Agriculture
    • Environment
municipal government
Municipal Government
  • Local, municipal provides essential services such as
    • Garbage collection
    • Sewage treatment
    • Fire protection
    • Policing
    • Water supply
    • Establishment of schools
what level of govt
What level of govt?

parliamentary system
Parliamentary System
  • Executive
    • Power to make decisions and administer through civil service
  • Legislative
    • Power to make laws
  • Judicial
    • Power to interpret and administer the law
    • Carried out by judiciary (judges & courts)
the federal government
The Federal Government
  • Legislative Branch
    • comprised of
      • Governor General
      • House of Commons
      • Senate
    • Parliament must meet once a year (session)
    • Passes, amends, repeals laws – debates
    • Question periods
house of commons
House of Commons
  • Elected Members of Parliament (MPs)
  • Elections every 5 years
  • Canada divided into ridings (constituencies of approx 100,000 people each)
  • Population decides number of seats
  • Speaker of the House controls debates
  • Members sit with parties
  • Ruling party on one side; opposition on other
  • Opposition scrutinizes actions of govt
house of commons lower house
House of Commons (Lower House)

how do mps vote
How do MPs vote?
  • Elected representatives of each party hold private meetings called caucus
  • Discuss, argue freely
  • Leader explains party policy, programmes, actions
  • Once decision is made, tradition holds that members will vote in favour of party’s position
  • Free vote – allows members to vote according to what they believe is best
the senate upper house
The Senate (Upper House)
  • Independent of House of Commons
  • Appoints own Speaker
  • Governor General appoints Senators on recommendation of PM
    • Canadian citizens
    • At least 30 years old
    • Living in province they represent
    • Own at least $4000 worth of property
the senate upper house1
The Senate (Upper House)
  • Main role to provide final check on legislation passed in Lower House
  • Senate may also introduce bills
  • Regional representation – by population
  • Appointments based on patronage
    • Some believe Senate represents upper income groups and party interests
the executive branch
The Executive Branch
  • Consists of
    • Governor general
    • Prime Minister
    • Cabinet
    • Civil Service
  • Governor General
    • Monarch’s representative
    • Gives formal assent to bill before it becomes law
    • Ceremonial function
    • Advisor to the govt
the prime minister
The Prime Minister
  • Leader of party with most elected members of the House of Commons is invited to become Prime Minister by Governor General
  • Head of Government
    • Ask Gov Gen to name new judges
    • Best time to ask Gov Gen to call election
    • Chooses & shuffles Cabinet
    • Addresses Canadians on issues of national concern
    • Explains goals of ruling party (party leader)
    • Represents Canada internationally
    • Works with Premiers
    • Patronage appointments – Senate, diplomatic corps
the cabinet
The Cabinet
  • Elected party members chosen by PM
  • Each cabinet minister is responsible for a particular govt dept
  • Reflects nation
    • Gender
    • Ethnicity
    • Cultural, social and linguistic diversity
  • Free opinions in Cabinet meetings but Cabinet Solidarity publicly (party whip to ensure solidarity and attendance for voting)
the public service
The Public Service
  • Civil service/bureaucracy
  • Permanent employees doing govt business
  • The face of govt
  • Duties
    • Gather stats
    • Write details for new laws
    • Represent Canada abroad
    • Carry out laws
    • Collect taxes
    • Monitor imports & exports
    • Process passports
    • Deliver mail
    • Advise ministers
    • Draft laws
provincial territorial governments
Provincial/Territorial Governments
  • 3 branches
    • Executive
    • Legislative
    • Judicial
  • Premier is leader of government
  • Lieutenant Governor represents Monarch
  • One house (Legislature; National Assembly in Quebec)
    • MLA or MPP
  • Provincial curriculum
  • Local School Boards
  • Regulate teachers
  • Policies and laws about how resources are managed
  • Balance current demand plus future use – sustainability
health care social welfare
Health Care & Social Welfare
  • Shared with federal govt
  • How to provide care
  • Hospitals, testing, long term care
  • Aging population
    • Require more health services
    • Preventative care
    • 2 tier?
  • Social welfare
    • Disabled
    • Single mothers
  • Urban transit
  • Develop railways, ports, highways and airports
negotiating with the federal govt
Negotiating with the Federal Govt
  • Equalization and transfer payments
  • Work constantly to redefine balance of power
  • Disputes resolved through Supreme Court of Canada
local governments
Local Governments
  • Town council
  • Elected officials - councillors
  • Leader – Mayor
  • Bylaws
aboriginal self government
Aboriginal Self-Government
  • Band councils or elders
  • Leader – Chief
  • Negotiate with Federal and Provincial govt