1.1 canada’s federal political system


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1.1 canada’s federal political system

  1. 1. OVERVIEW Canada’s Federal Political System There are three branches to the Canadian Federal Political System. Each branch has power to perform certain functions. The three branches of the Canadian federal Government are: The Legislative: The power to make the laws The Executive: The power to govern a country according to the law The Judicial: The power to judge and interpret laws
  3. 3. The Prime Minister is the head of Canada’s government. To become Prime Minister, you must be elected as the leader of a political party. Then, you must be elected as a member of parliament, and the party you lead must win the most seats in the House of Commons. Technically you do not vote for the Prime Minister (P.M.), you vote for the M.P. in your area whose party you want to win. Who is the Current PM? THE PRIME MINISTER Stephen Harper Who was the PM before him? Paul Martin
  4. 4. THE CABINET The cabinet includes the people with responsibility for different government departments and agencies — or portfolios — such as health, finance and environment. The members of cabinet belong to the leading political party in the House of Commons, and are members of parliament (M.P.s) or senators. • The members of cabinet are called cabinet ministers. • The P.M. decides what portfolios to include in the cabinet and chooses cabinet ministers. • The cabinet proposes most of the ideas that become laws. • The P.M. and the cabinet run the day-to-day business of government. For example, the Minister of Environment runs the department of the environment, which has staff and equipment to, among other things, keep track of air pollution. http://www.parl.gc.ca/Members OfParliament/MainCabinetCo mpleteList.aspx?TimePeriod= Current
  5. 5. QUESTIONS (HANDOUT) 1. Who is included in the executive branch of the Federal government in Canada? 2. The Prime Minister is a government leader, a national leader, and a party leader. Give 2 examples of what a Prime Minister does. 3. What does a Cabinet Minister do as the head of a government department?
  6. 6. What does the legislative branch do? The legislative branch includes the House of Commons, the Senate and the governor general. The legislative branch is also called Canada’s parliament. THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
  7. 7. THE HOUSE OF COMMONS The House of Commons is the major law-making body in Canada’s federal political system. • The members of the House of Commons debate study and vote on laws proposed for Canada, called bills • Members of parliament, or M.P.s, are the members of the House of Commons. They are elected by the voters. • Each M.P represents the voters of one riding, or district. • Most M.P.s belong to political parties. The party with the most M.Ps usually forms the government. The other parties form the opposition. • Representation in the House of Commons is by population • All proceedings of the legislative branch are in Canada’s two official languages: French and English.
  8. 8. • The members of Canada’s Senate are called senators. • All proceedings of the Senate are in French and English. • Senators are not elected. The prime minister appoints them. They can remain in office until age 75. Prime ministers tend to appoint people who support the P.M.’s political party. Since only a few Senate seats become vacant at a time, however, the Senate includes people from a variety of political parties. • The Senate has the power to reject bills from the House of Commons, but rarely uses this power. • The Senate cannot propose laws that create or spend taxes. • A bill cannot become law until both the House of Commons and Senate pass it. THE SENATE
  9. 9. THE SENATE • Senators represent the interests and rights of Canada’s regions, and especially Canada’s minorities. Senators are appointed by “division,” or region. At Confederation in 1867, the constitution identified three regions: the Maritimes, Ontario and Québec. The idea was to ensure that these regions had an equal voice in the Senate, and to ensure that Québec’s Francophone population — a minority within Canada — had a strong voice within Canada. As provinces and territories joined Canada, new regions were added to the divisions for appointing senators. • The Senate can propose laws, but usually only considers bills passed first by the House of Commons. The Senate gives careful reconsideration to all legislation proposed for Canada. This means senators provide a second round of study, debate and voting on laws proposed for Canada. Because the Senate provides a voice for regions in Canada, it brings a different perspective to issues that concern everyone.
  10. 10. QUESTIONS Questions: Who can become a member of the House of Commons? What is the duty of a Member of Parliament? Who is the opposition? What is the role of the opposition? Who is the current leader of the opposition? Thomas Mulcair
  11. 11. THE JUDICIAL BRANCH The Judicial Branch is the part of the government that interprets laws and applies the law by making legal judgments. The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest level of court in Canada which also makes it the highest level of the Judicial Branch. Those who work in the Judicial Branch must be trained in the law profession. The Judicial branch is not connected to the executive or legislative branch so that the judicial branch is not influenced by the other two. The main job of the judicial branch is to protect Canadians rights and freedoms. They deal with issues regarding intolerance, equality, discrimination, the criminal process and social questions. They have an odd number of judges, nine, so that they don’t come to a stalemate in regards to a decision.
  13. 13. QUESTIONS Questions: What does the Supreme Court do? Why is it important that the Supreme Court remains separate from the executive or legislative branches of government?