About the Canadian Government

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II wearing Sovereign's insignia of the Order of Canada and the Order of Military Merit
Queen Elizabeth II wearing Sovereign's insignia of the Order of Canada and the Order of Military Merit

Canada a Constitutional Monarchy

The Constitution Act of 1867, places Canada as a constitutional monarchy which makes the reigning sovereign (England) both legal and practical. As a constitutional monarchy the Canadian Crown is the core of the kingdoms Westminster-style parliamentary democracy. There is an executive, legislative and a judicial branch of the Canadian government. The executive government of and over Canada is declared to continue and be vested in the Queen, which means the Queen (Queen Elizabeth II presently) is the formal head of the Canadian state. On the advice of the Canadian Prime Minister she appoints the Governor General which normally holds the position for five years.

Parliament (or the royal legislature) meets only by royal summons. No federal or federal bill becomes a law without the Royal Assent. They do have a multiple party political system.

Canadian System of Government

http://canadaonline.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=canadaonline&cdn=newsissues&tm=9&f=22&su=p649.3.336.ip_&tt=2&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//www.parl.gc.ca/information/library/idb/forsey/institutions_01-e.asp
http://canadaonline.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=canadaonline&cdn=newsissues&tm=9&f=22&su=p649.3.336.ip_&tt=2&bt=0&bts=0&zu=http%3A//www.parl.gc.ca/information/library/idb/forsey/institutions_01-e.asp

Function of Assemblies

The Prime Minister is the head of the government and is the leader of the political party that wins the most seats in the House of Commons in a general election. If the Prime Minister wins in a majority election that means over half are elected to the House of Commons or legislative assembly. A majority can pass legislation and maintain the confidence of the House of Commons to stay in power easier than a minority government. A minority government will have less than half the seats therefore, they have to negotiate with other parties and adjust policies to get enough votes to pass legislation. They have to work constantly to maintain the confidence of the House of Commons assembly to stay in power.

The Senate usually has 105 members which are appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. They hold office until age 75 unless they miss two consecutive sessions of Parliament. The Senate can initiate bills except bills for expenditures of public money or imposing taxes. They can amend or reject any bill and no bill can become law unless it has been passed by the Senate. The House of Commons is the major law making body and candidates are voted into office. They are set up much like our House of Representatives as the number each province has representing them is based on population. The Prime Minister is normally a Member of the House of Commons and is appointed by the Governor General; however, they must win an election to stay in office. If they have enough support from their political party in the House of Commons they may stay in office. The Prime Minister is more powerful now than he once was and he chooses Ministers in the House of Commons in the first place, so he may also ask them to resign. A strong Prime Minister may simply decide against a decision that has a majority vote after listening to everyone’s opinion.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Many Duties of the Prime Minister

The current Prime Minister of Canada is Stephen Harper being sworn in as the 22nd Prime Minister of Canada. He is the leader of the Canadian Alliance Party and he oversaw the merger with the Progressive Conservatives to form the new Conservative Party of Canada. He was elected in the 2006 Federal election and led the Conservatives to a minority government. He increased the size of the minority in 2008. He received a master degree at University of Calgary in 1991, and his profession was that of an economist. He was also president of the National Citizens Coalition in 1998. His political career rose slowly through the years as he held various posts and he stepped down from his position of the leader of the Canadian Alliance to run for the leadership of the new Conservative Party of Canada in January, 2004. He was elected their leader in March, 2004. In 2006, general election Stephen Harper led the Conservative Party to victory with a minority government.

The Prime Minister is the head of the executive branch of government. He provides leadership and direction to the government with the support of the cabinet which is chosen by the Prime Minister. The Canadian Prime Minister decides on the size of the cabinet and selects cabinet ministers. They are usually members of parliament and there is at least one senator, and he assigns their department responsibilities and portfolios (the subject matter of the department). In his selection he chooses a balance of English speaking and French speaking members, and he makes sure women and minorities are represented. He chairs the cabinet meetings and controls the agenda.

The prime minister and cabinet members have seats in Parliament and lead and direct Parliament's activities and its legislative agenda. He must retain the confidence of Parliament to have any conflicts resolved by election time. The Prime Minister only participates in the more important debates due to time constraints. It would seem that the Prime Minister has a rather difficult job with multiple tasks, meetings and he must also fulfill his responsibilities as a member of parliament in representing his constituents

Summary

The Canadian system is quite different from the United States, yet there are similarities with the three branches. To be elected one must win the confidence of their constituent’s just like any candidate. The Monarchy, of course, is different, but they seem to work well together from what I gleaned from my research.

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Comments 57 comments

Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

Huh. So that's how they do it. I guess for my two cents, I just can't stand the smell of royalty, unless it's royal honey jelly. Sanctimony burns my hide however, the Canadians (especially those British Columbians) really know a thing or two about freedom. So my hats off to you Pamela for educating the rest of us!

Ben


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Nicely done hub, Pamela.. the Canadian model works well for them, although it draws a lot of unfair criticism from outside.


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

Wow, Pamela, I love this hub, I always wanted to know how the Canadian Government worked, for many years I wanted to move to the Southern area of Canada, Bless you for sharing this awesome hub and thumbs up...


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

This is a very comprehensive and interesting hub. Thank you for a thorough job and research.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Ben, Carolina, Darlene & Hello, Thanks so much for your comments.


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV

Pamela,

Is the system in the UK similar to Canada except the Monarch takes the place of the Governor General?


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Tom, I really don't know. I always thought the Queen didn't have much authority in the UK but now I think I am wrong since she certainly has a say over some areas of Canada. I'm still learning too. I appreciate the comment but sorry I can't answer the question.


partisan patriot 6 years ago

Pamela

Thanks you for this informative well written hub. It is amazing I never understood Canada was not a sovereign nation before but a part of Great Britain until the 2010 Olympics sparked a sudden awakening in me!


Teddletonmr profile image

Teddletonmr 6 years ago from Midwest USA

Canadian Government and How it Works Great title Pamela.


Support Med. profile image

Support Med. 6 years ago from Michigan

Very educational and well written.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Terrific hub, Pamela. Honestly, the Queen looks exactly like my Grandma Bertha!


Kay Creates profile image

Kay Creates 6 years ago from Ohio

Very interesting. I learned something new about Canadian government.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Patriot,Teddletonmr, Support Med, BPOP, and Kay, I'm glad everyone enjoyed the hub. Thank you all so much for your comments.


"Quill" 6 years ago

Hi Pam... you have done an admirable job of putting together this hub. I might add the Queen really has nothing to do with running this Country, just a figurehead that many of us question the connection.

I was in Ottawa last August and toured the Parliament buildings and was very impressed with the entire system. We are blessed here in so many ways as each Province has its specific industry. Likely the richest is Alberta where I live as it is very diversified.

Blessings and Hugs


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Quill, I thought of you when I was writing this hub. As the government is set up differently from the USA, I wanted to make sure what I wrote was accurate so I did a lot of research. I think Canada is a very blessed country and I truly hope I can travel through much of the country someday. I have only been to Niagara Falls so far. Thanks for your clarification and comments. God Bless


Roberta 6 years ago

Another great article on Canada.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Roberta, Thank you for your comment.


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

Pamela, I had no idea as to the workings of Canadian Government, the mystery is no more. Thanks for the knowledge. Great photo. Peace :)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Katiem, I didn't know either which is one reason I chose the topic. Thanks for your comment.


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 6 years ago

I appreciate the work you did to write this very informative article.


JannyC profile image

JannyC 6 years ago

I did not know that about Canada. Call me educated now! This was awesome and so informative.


nancy_30 profile image

nancy_30 6 years ago from Georgia

Thank you for this very informational hub. I really did learn a lot from it.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Sheila, Janny and Nancy, I appreciate each of you for reading my hubs faithfully and making such wonderful comments.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Well informed and very good one, I remember when I was in college and I was reporting about UK government -- a parliament monarchy -- and this hub helps me understand Canadas perspectives, Maita


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Miata, I'm glad this hub was helpful. Thank you for your comment.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

I've always kinda wondered about this. Good job!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Habee, Thanks for your comment/


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago

Interesting Hub...I am an expatriated Canadian.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Tammy, Thank you for your comment. I imagine you knew all about the government from living in Canada but it was new for me.


Coolmon2009 profile image

Coolmon2009 6 years ago from Texas, USA

I enjoyed your article. Reading it reminds me why I am glad to be in the United States away from my birth country. Thanks for this article.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Coolmon, I'm glad you enjoyed the article and thank you for the comment.


aktifistri profile image

aktifistri 6 years ago from China

useful hub,Pamela! Helped me to know more about the country where my husband comes from.. :) Please keep writing interesting things about Canada, eh?! ;)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

aktifistri, I am so glad you enjoyed the hub. I am not from Canada but find it very interesting and hope to travel there in the future. Thanks for your comment.


Website Examiner 6 years ago

Very good. It is a rather fascinating concept, the residual impact of the British empire is a much more pervasive part of Canadian society, especially the legal and political system, than most people realize. Also, we have seen constitutional crises that reflect the Parliamentary structure of government, as well as a surprising level of involvement from the Queen's representatives. Old habits and customs are not easily eradicated, for better or worse. Nice piece, very informative and clear. Lovely images too.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Website Examiner, I very much enjoyed doing the research for this hub and I thank you for your comments.


sudeep13582 profile image

sudeep13582 6 years ago from Howrah

Nice explanation,

I am also not from canada, but this hub really seems interested to me,

very informative and nicely presented by you


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

sudeep, Thank you so much for your comments.


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

Great hub, Pamela. One point though - actually, the Prime Minister is not appointed by the Governor General.

When a federal election is held, whoever is the head of the party that wins the most seats becomes the Prime Minister.

You are very right though that he or she must also be an elected member of Parliament. This can get a little embarrassing at times. Once in a while, during the election, the leader of one of the political parties will lose his seat in his home riding. Then, if his party wins the Federal election, he is ineligible to serve as Prime Minister. What happens in that case, though, is that one of the "party faithful" (in a strong riding for that party) will give up his seat to the leader of the party, and a by-election will be held, in which the head of the party will be sure to be elected.

Nice to see such an interest in what we take for granted :D:D Cheers!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

RedElf, Thank you for the information. I did a lot of research before writing the article so I must have gotten some erroneous information. I appreciate your comment.


Errol Kane 5 years ago

Yes Pamela, your research was worthy for this Hub in it's written form. Good Job and interesting reading.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

Errol, Thanks you so much for your comments.


DDS profile image

DDS 5 years ago from Toronto

Here in Canada we maybe benefit from borrowing from both the British and American systems.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

DDS, Thanks for your comment.


TurtleDog profile image

TurtleDog 4 years ago

Terrific Hub Pamela99! I had no idea that they were remotely involved with the monarchy. Really interesting. Fellow hubber JustAskSusan recommended this post to me. Thanks!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

TurtleDog, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Thank you so much for your comments.


francis5k 4 years ago

informative article, great writer and this blog it's helpful thanks ma'am! goodjob!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

francis, I'm glad you found the hub helpful and I appreciate your comments.


Suelynn profile image

Suelynn 4 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

Lovely article, Pamela99. I am from the far-flung British Empire (South Africa) and became a citizen of the USA in 2006 (good story!) I am poised (and waiting) to take my first plunge into Canadian life soon! I have always been interested in the English Royal Family and this was an eye-opener for me. Bravo, Dahling! ;)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Suelynn, Canada is such an interesting country as each province has such unique characteristics. Thank you for your comments and have a grand time while you travel.


Suelynn profile image

Suelynn 4 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

Pamela, I have accepted a job in the province of Manitoba! Third big adventure of my life. :)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Suelynn, I know you must be excited about the new jog and living in Manitoba. I wish you the best of luck with your new adventure.


Suelynn profile image

Suelynn 4 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

Thank you so much, Pamela... I greatly appreciate your good wishes.


francis5k 4 years ago

very nice Pamela99 informative article! keep it up!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Francis, Thank you so much for your comments.


francis5k 4 years ago

you're welcome pamela! godbless! more article about canada... :-)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

francis, I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and appreciate your comments.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

TurtleDog, I am not involved with the monarchy; I just find this a very interesting topic. Thanks for your comments.

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