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Politics of Canada


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Published in: News & Politics

Politics of Canada

  1. 1. Benedict Gombocz
  2. 2.  The politics of Canada take place in a structure of a parliamentary democracy and a federal system of parliamentary government with strong democratic customs.  Canada’s form of government is a constitutional monarchy, with the Monarch as head of state.  The country has a multi-party system where a number of its legislative practices originate from the traditional conventions of and models set by the Westminster Parliament, even though Canada has changed distinctions: party regulation in Canada is stronger than it is in the United Kingdom and more parliamentary votes are seen as motions of confidence, which often reduces the role of non-Cabinet Members of Parliament (MPs).  Such members, in the government committee, and junior or lower-profile members of opposition groups, are called backbenchers, who can exercise their power by sitting in parliamentary commissions, such as the Public Accounts Committee or the National Defence Committee.  The two biggest political parties of Canada have traditionally been the Liberal Party of Canada and the Conservative Party of Canada (or its predecessors), though the social democratic New Democratic Party (NDP), as of the 2011 federal election, has become prominent in Canadian politics; this prominence reflects a notable decline in the Liberal Party’s popularity.  Smaller parties, like the Quebec Bloc Québécois and the Green Party of Canada, can exercise their own power over the political process.
  3. 3.  Government: Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy  Monarch: Elizabeth II (see Politics of the United Kingdom slide 13)  Governor General: David Johnston  Prime Minister: Stephen Harper  Chief Justice: Beverley McLachlin  Legislature: Parliament  Upper house: Senate  Lower house: House of Commons
  4. 4.  Born on June 28, 1941 in Greater Sudbury, Ontario.  Canadian academic, author, and statesman, and the 28th and current Governor General of Canada since October 1, 2010.  Was born and raised in Ontario, and studied there before he enrolled at Harvard University and subsequently Cambridge and Queen’s universities.  Later worked as a professor at various post-secondary institutes in Canada; later served administrative roles as dean of law at the University of Western Ontario, principal of McGill University, and president of the University of Waterloo; participated, at the same time, in politics and public service, presiding over political debates and heading committees in both the central and local spheres, with his most prominent post in that field being the chairmanship of the investigation into the Airbus affair.  Was appointed governor general in 2010 by Queen Elizabeth II, on the proposal of PM of Canada Stephen Harper, to replace Michaëlle Jean as viceroy; Johnston, at the time, was mostly respected as an admirable choice for the Queen’s delegate, despite objection to his appointment by some Quebec sovereigntists.  As governor general, he is permitted to be addressed as His Excellency while in office and The Right Honourable for the period of his viceregal term and beyond.  Given current practice, he will become a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada when his term as the Queen’s delegate ends.
  5. 5.  Born on April 30, 1959 in Toronto, Ontario.  22nd and current PM of Canada since February 6, 2006, having won the 2006 federal election and forming a minority government; also the current leader of the Conservative Party.  First PM to come from the recently reconstituted Conservative Party, which emerged upon a merger of the Progressive Conservative Party and the Canadian Alliance.  Has represented the riding (electoral district) of Calgary Southwest as an MP since 2002.  Also served as the MP for Calgary West from 1993-1997.  Was one of the Reform Party’s founding members, but chose not to run for re- election in the 1997 federal election; instead joined and subsequently led the National Citizens Coalition, a conservative lobbyist group.  Succeeded Stockwell Day as leader of the Canadian Alliance (the Reform Party’s successor) in 2002, and returned to parliament as Leader of the Opposition.  Came to an agreement with Progressive Conservative leader Peter MacKay in 2003 for the merger of their two parties to found the Conservative Party of Canada; was elected as the new party’s first non-acting leader in March 2004.  His Conservative Party won a larger minority in the October 2008 federal election, which indicated a small increase in the percentage of the popular vote and bigger representation in the Canadian House of Commons, gaining 143 of 308 seats.  The 40th Canadian Parliament was dissolved in March 2011, after his government’s unsuccessful vote of no confidence on the issue of the Cabinet being in contempt of parliament.  His party won a majority government, the first since the 2000 federal election, in the May 2011 federal election, and won 166 seats, an increase of 23 seats from the October 2008 election.
  6. 6.  Born Beverley Gietz on September 7, 1943 in Pincher Creek, Alberta.  17th and current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada since 7 January 2000, and the first woman to hold the post.  Also serves as a Deputy of the Governor General of Canada.  Oldest child of Eleanora Marian (née Kruschell) and Ernest Gietz; they were of German ancestry, were “fundamentalist Christians”.  Obtained a B.A. and an M.A. in philosophy and an LL.B. degree; won the gold medal as top student and served as Editor-in-Chief of the Alberta Law Review from the University of Alberta.  Was called to the Bar of Alberta in 1969 and to the Bar of British Columbia in 1971.  Practiced law from 1969-1975.  Was an Associate Professor and Professor with tenure at the University of British Columbia from 1974-1981.  Has one son from her first marriage to Roderick McLachlin, who died in 1988; she remarried in 1992 to Frank McArdle.
  7. 7.  House of Commons:  Conservative (160)  New Democratic (99)  Liberal (35)  Bloc Québécois (4)  Green (2)  Independent (3)  Senate:  Conservative (57)  Liberal (32)  Progressive Conservative (1)  Independent (6)  Other recognized parties:  Animal Alliance-Environment Voters  Canadian Action  Christian Heritage  Communist  Libertarian  Marxist-Leninist  Marijuana  Online  Pirate  Progressive Canadian  Rhinoceros  United  Western Block
  8. 8.  Notable historical parties:  Anti-Confederate  Bloc populaire  Canadian Alliance  Conservative (historical)  Co-operative Commonwealth  Labour  Labor-Progressive  New Democracy  Progressive Conservative  Progressive/United Farmers  Ralliement créditiste  Reform  Social Credit  Unionist
  9. 9.  Political party in Canada that was founded through the merger of the Canadian Alliance (once the Reform Party of Canada) and the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada (informally known as the Tories) in 2003.  Led by PM Stephen Harper.  Leans right on the Canadian political spectrum.  Came to power when it won the 2006 federal election as a minority government, a position it kept after the 2008 federal election, prior to winning its first majority government in May 2011.  Member of International Democrat Union, Asia Pacific Democrat Union, and Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists.
  10. 10.  Major social democratic federal political party in Canada.  Its current leader is Thomas Mulcair, elected in the 2012 leadership election.  Founded in 1961 as a result of the merger of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).  Its local wing in Manitoba currently makes up the government in that province.  Local parties have in the past made up governments in British Columbia (1972-1975, 1991-2001), Nova Scotia (2009-2013), Ontario (1990-1995), and Saskatchewan (1971-1982, 1991-2007), while the territorial party made up the government in Yukon (the only territory that has a partisan legislature) from 1985-1992 and 1996-2000.  Won the second-biggest number of seats in the Canadian House of Commons in the 2011 federal election under Jack Layton; this victory the NDP the title of Official Opposition for the first time in Canada’s history.
  11. 11.  Unofficially known as the Grits.  Canada’s oldest federal political party.  Advocates the standards of liberalism, and usually positions itself at the centre of Canada’s political spectrum.  Has traditionally been positioned to the left of the Conservative Party of Canada and to the right of the New Democratic Party (NDP).  Governed federal politics for a large part of Canadian history; was in power for nearly 69 years in the 20th century – more than any other party in a developed country – which led to it occasionally being known as Canada’s “natural governing party”.  Universal health care, the Canada Pension Plan, Canada Student Loans, peacekeeping, multilateralism, official bilingualism, official multiculturalism, patriating the Canadian constitution, and the entrenchment of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Clarity Act, restoring balanced budgets in the 1990s, and legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide are among its signature policies and legislative achievements.  Has nevertheless, to the advantage of both the Conservative Party and the New Democratic Party, lost a considerable amount of support over the past decade.  Had its worst result in its history during the 2011 Canadian federal election; only won 19% of the popular vote and 34 seats, making it, for the first time, the third-place party in the House of Commons.