Intro to Canadian Government

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Social Studies grade 9

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Intro to Canadian Government

  1. 1. Intro to Canadian Government<br />Who makes up the government<br />1<br />
  2. 2. Branches of Government<br />The government of Canada is made up of 3 branches<br />Legislative<br />Executive<br />Judicial<br />2<br />
  3. 3. Legislative Branch<br />Legislative: The legislative bodies of Canada. They make and debate the laws<br />It is made up by members of the House of Commons<br />3<br />
  4. 4. 4<br />The Queen<br />Represented by the Governor General<br />Executive Branch<br />Legislative Branch<br />The Senate<br />The Prime minister and Cabinet<br />The House of Commons<br />
  5. 5. Intro to Parliment<br />The Parliament of Canada is made up of<br />The Governor General<br />The House of Commons<br />The Senate<br />Parliaments that are made up to two Houses are called "bicameral" Almost every country in the Western worked that is made up of a number of states or provinces has a second chamber to represent regional interests.<br />5<br />
  6. 6. Constitutional Monarchy<br />The Governor General, Lieutenant Governor, and Constitutional MonarchyCanada is both a democracy and a "constitutional monarchy". This means that we have elected officials and we recognize the British monarchy as the Head of State. This can be a confusing concept. This does not mean that Canadians are "subjects". All this means is that the British Monarchy is a symbolic figure head in Canada. The position goes back to a time when Canada was a British colony and Canada's Loyalist heritage.<br />6<br />
  7. 7. The Governor General<br />When the legislatures want to pass a law there  must first be a majority in the legislature supporting the bill and federally the bill must pass in the Senate (again - explained later) and then the bill must be given something called "Royal Assent" before it becomes law.<br />Federally the Monarchy is represented by the Governor General and provincially the Monarchy is represented by the Lieutenant Governor. (*Special note: Lieutenant is pronounced "left-tenant" in Canada.) This is like a seal of approval similar to the way that the President of the United States must sign a Bill before it becomes law.<br />7<br />
  8. 8. One important difference exists when comparing the governor general to the President of the USA…while the President has a choice as to whether or not he or she would like to sign a bill, a Governor General (GG) or the Lieutenant Governor (LG)does for the most part not. <br />Because he or she is not elected (instead appointed by the Prime Minister) it would be an undemocratic interference for the GG or the LG to interfere. <br />The Bill has already been passed by an elected majority and therefore to not sign the bill would be to over-ride the legit majority. Therefore the position of GG or LG is largely ceremonial although it was considered a legit position when Confederation came together. It has been in recent years debated over whether we should get rid of the Monarchy in Canada. For the present however the Monarchy is here to stay.<br />Can the Governor General Veto a Bill?<br />8<br />
  9. 9. House of Commons<br />The House of Commons is the major law-making body. <br />In each of the country’s 308 constituencies, or ridings, the candidate who gets the largest number of votes is elected to the House of Commons.<br />The number of constituencies may be changed after every 10-year census, pursuant to the Constitution and the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act which allot parliamentary seats roughly on the basis of population. <br />Every province must have at least as many members in the Commons as it had in the Senate before 1982. The constituencies vary somewhat in size, within prescribed limits.<br />9<br />
  10. 10. Functions of the House<br />There are three main functions of  the House of Commons. <br />to debate and vote upon legislation <br />to give the chance for the opposition to question what the government is doing with legislation, the way it conducts itself, etc. <br />private member's business where MP's may get up and make a speech in the House about an issue or event that he/she would like to draw attention to.<br />10<br />
  11. 11. 11<br />Speaker of the House<br />The Gallery<br />The Majority<br />The minority<br />The house in session<br />
  12. 12. How the seats are divided<br />12<br />
  13. 13. Who’s in power?<br />The party that wins the largest number of seats in a general election ordinarily forms the government. Its leader is asked by the Governor General to become prime minister. <br />The second largest party becomes the official Opposition and its leader becomes the person holding the recognized position of leader of the Opposition. <br />13<br />
  14. 14. The Prime minister<br />The prime minister used to be described as “the first among equals” in the cabinet, or as “a moon among minor stars.” This is no longer so. He or she is now incomparably more powerful than any colleague. <br />The prime minister chooses the ministers in the first place, and can also ask any of them to resign; if the minister refuses, the prime minister can advise the Governor General to remove that minister and the advice would invariably be followed. <br />Cabinet decisions do not necessarily go by majority vote. A strong prime minister, having listened to everyone’s opinion, may simply announce that his or her view is the policy of the government, even if most, or all, the other ministers are opposed. Unless the dissenting ministers are prepared to resign, they must bow to the decision.<br />14<br />
  15. 15. A prime minister may lose his or her seat in an election, but can remain in office as long as the party has sufficient support in the House of Commons to be able to govern, though again, he or she must, by custom, win a seat very promptly. <br />The traditional way of arranging this is to have a member of the party resign, thereby creating a vacancy, which gives the defeated prime minister the opportunity to run in a by-election. (This arrangement is also generally followed when the leader of the Opposition or other party leader is not a member.)<br />15<br />
  16. 16. 24 Sussex drive<br />16<br />
  17. 17. Cabinet<br />the prime minister chooses the members of the cabinet<br />By custom, almost all the members of the cabinet must be members of the House of Commons, or, if not already members, must win seats.<br />Senators can be members of the cabinet; the first cabinet, of 13 members, had five senators.<br />By custom, every province must, if possible, have at least one cabinet minister<br />17<br />
  18. 18. Cabinet meets around an oval table<br />18<br />
  19. 19. Speaker of the House<br />The Speaker of the House of Commons is elected by secret ballot by the House itself after each general election. <br />He or she must be a member of the House. <br />The Speaker is its presiding officer, decides all questions of procedure and order, controls the House of Commons staff, and is expected to be impartial, non-partisan and as firm in enforcing the rules against the prime minister as against the humblest opposition backbencher.<br />There is a recent tradition of alternating between French and English speaking speakers.<br />19<br />
  20. 20. Who sits where?<br />Refer to the handout “seating plan of the house of commons”<br />Where is the Prime minister?<br />Where is the leader of the official opposition?<br />How many political parties do we see in the house? <br />How many seats do each have?<br />20<br />
  21. 21. Political Parties<br />21<br />
  22. 22. Less common parties<br />22<br />
  23. 23. The Senate<br />Requirements to be a Senator:a) be at least 30 years of ageb) be a Canadian citizen by birth or naturalization;c) have an estate worth $4000;d) own real property within the province for which he or she serves worth at least $4000e) be a resident in the province for which he or she is appointed.<br />23<br />
  24. 24. History<br />The Senate was designed to give "sober second thought" to legislation. At one time it was comprised of men of rank or status that owned property. It was to control the "tyranny of the masses" so that an elected body could not get away with persecuting a minority for by enacting something that could jeopardize the country. <br />This fear was from the experiences of the United Empire Loyalists who were persecuted in the United States and came to Canada and to curb the democracy that was seen as "mob rule" to many Canadians. It was believed that civilized, cultured men of status would protect the nation and its peoples from any such danger.<br />Often however Senators were appointed based on political favours to the Prime Minister or the party in power rather than service to the country. A Senate appointment was a fairly sweet deal considering that it paid well and that one kept the position for life. <br />Today after some reform Senators must retire by the age of 75 and appointments are usually Canadians who have done something good for the country (and will most likely vote in favour of the government in power.)<br />24<br />
  25. 25. Senators are appointed by the Governor General upon recommendation by the Prime Minister.<br />25<br />
  26. 26. 26<br />

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