Canada's Government

Why do we need government?

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What can we do as citizens to help?

describe rights and responsibilities as citizens

B3.4 describe different processes that governments can use to solicit input from the public (e.g., elections, town hall meetings, public hearings, band council meetings, commissions of inquiry, supreme court challenges, processes for granting easements, referendums), and explain why it is important for all levels of government to provide opportunities for public consultation Sample questions: "How might a city government solicit the opinions of residents?" "What is a royal commission? How does it provide an opportunity for members of the public to provide input on an issue?"

B3.7 describe some different ways in which citizens can take action to address social and environmental issues (e.g., by determining the position of their local candidates on various issues and supporting/voting for the one whose position they agree with; through the court system; by organizing petitions or boycotts; by volunteering with organizations that work on specific issues; by writing to their elected representatives or to the media) Sample questions: "How can a person determine the position of local candidates or party leaders on issues of importance?" "How could you become more active in your community?"

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The Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Responsiblites

Citizenship Responsibilities

In Canada, rights come with responsibilities. These include:

  • Obeying the law — One of Canada’s founding principles is the rule of law. Individuals and governments are regulated by laws and not by arbitrary actions. No person or group is above the law.
  • Taking responsibility for oneself and one’s family — Getting a job, taking care of one’s family and working hard in keeping with one’s abilities are important Canadian values. Work contributes to personal dignity and self-respect, and to Canada’s prosperity.
  • Serving on a jury — When called to do so, you are legally required to serve. Serving on a jury is a privilege that makes the justice system work as it depends on impartial juries made up of citizens.
  • Voting in elections — The right to vote comes with a responsibility to vote in federal, provincial or territorial and local elections.
  • Helping others in the community — Millions of volunteers freely donate their time to help others without pay—helping people in need, assisting at your child’s school, volunteering at a food bank or other charity, or encouraging newcomers to integrate. Volunteering is an excellent way to gain useful skills and develop friends and contacts.
  • Protecting and enjoying our heritage and environment — Every citizen has a role to play in avoiding waste and pollution while protecting Canada’s natural, cultural and architectural heritage for future generations.

Defending Canada

There is no compulsory military service in Canada. However, serving in the regular Canadian Forces (navy, army and air force) is a noble way to contribute to Canada and an excellent career choice (www.forces.ca). You can serve in your local part-time navy, militia and air reserves and gain valuable experience, skills and contacts. Young people can learn discipline, responsibility, and skills by getting involved in the cadets (www.cadets.ca).

You may also serve in the Coast Guard or emergency services in your community such as a police force or fire department. By helping to protect your community, you follow in the footsteps of Canadians before you who made sacrifices in the service of our country.

Rights and Responsibilities

WHat does it mean to be a canadian citizen and some rights and responsbilites

Look at these sites: who can become a citizen

What rights do they enjoy and wehat responsiblites do they have

Elections- A right and responsibility? Discuss with your elbow partners

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Elections

First Past the Post
Canada's voting system (and how changing it would affect this election)
The Electoral Process
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Different Level of Government

Who Does What?
You and Your Government: A guide to government in Canada
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Inquiry-Provocation Book

Read Lily and The Paper Man by Rebecca Upjohn. As you read, ask students to make inferences about who the Paper Man is, why he's dressed the way he is, why he's on the street, etc. Ask students if they have seen homeless people before -- where? How did they know?


Discuss the problem of homelessness (or the related larger issue of poverty). How effective have different levels of government been at addressing it? (B1.1) Provide reports, statistics, etc. for students to peruse and use to make judgements. Create maps to show where rates of homelessness (or poverty) are highest in Canada. Make inferences about why this would be. As a class, create a plan of action to address this social issue (B1.2). Students can choose to be in one of four groups: municipal gov't, provincial gov't, federal gov't, or citizens/community agencies. Each group researches both their role and the issue more deeply, and creates a plan on one page of a class Google Presentation. The class looks at the whole Presentation to see how the different plans of action overlap; how can we avoid duplication of effort or any efforts that contradict other efforts?


Next, the students will choose an environmental issue that they would like to create an action plan for (B1.3). Have a variety of print and electronic resources for them to look at and be inspired by before they make their choice. Ideally, students can be grouped by their choices in groups of three to five students. They can collaborate on their research but then individually create their action plan for any relevant levels of government and citizens. Videotape students presenting their action plans as if to an advisory panel investigating environmental issues Canada. Afterwards, role play responses of different groups to the action plans. Eg. how would an oil industry executive respond to an action plan to cancel plans to drill for more oil? How would an environmentalist respond? (If you want, you can put the videos of the action plans on Voicethread, and have students go into at least three of the presented action plans and comment on them from the perspective of a specific group.) (B2.1-6)

Inquiry

and data that present various perspectives about Canadian social and/or environmental issues, including the perspective of the level (or levels) of government responsible for addressing the issues (e.g., with respect to the issue of climate change, gather data on sources of carbon dioxide emissions affecting Canada, photographic evidence of melting polar ice and its impact on Inuit and Arctic wildlife, information on the positions and/or actions of various NGOs

Expectations

describe the major rights and responsibilities associated with citizenship in Canada (e.g., rights: equal protection under the law, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to vote; responsibilities: to respect the rights of others, to participate in the electoral process and political decision making, to improve their communities) Sample questions: "What are the rights of a citizen in Canada?" "What does it mean to be a good citizen?" "What are your responsibilities as a member of this class? As a citizen of Canada?" B3.2 describe the jurisdiction of different levels of government in Canada (i.e., federal, provincial, territorial, municipal, First Nation, and Métis goverance; the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami) and some of the services provided by each (e.g., health services, education, policing, defence, social assistance, garbage collection, water services, public transit, libraries) Sample questions: "Which level or levels of government provide funding for public libraries?" "Which level of government has the responsibility for education? Why?" "What is the jurisdiction of a band council?" B3.3 describe the shared responsibility of various levels of government for providing some services and for dealing with selected social and environmental issues (e.g., services/issues related to transportation, health care, the environment, and/or crime and policing) Sample questions: "What is the relationship between provincial and federal governments in the area of health care?" "Why are there both provincial and federal ministries of the environment or natural resources?" "Why must different levels of government cooperate in addressing Native land claims?" B3.4 describe different processes that governments can use to solicit input from the public (e.g., elections, town hall meetings, public hearings, band council meetings, commissions of inquiry, supreme court challenges, processes for granting easements, referendums), and explain why it is important for all levels of government to provide opportunities for public consultation Sample questions: "How might a city government solicit the opinions of residents?" "What is a royal commission? How does it provide an opportunity for members of the public to provide input on an issue?" B3.5 describe key actions taken by different levels of government to solve some significant national, provincial/territorial, and/or local issues (e.g., federal policies relating to the effects of climate change in the Arctic or the issue of sovereignty in Canadian waters; provincial policies around child mental health issues; municipal recycling and waste diversion programs; government action to relocate elk from the town of Banff, Alberta) Sample questions: "What programs are in place in our community to reduce the amount of garbage going to landfill?" "What are some national and provincial parks and regional conservation authorities in Canada? What

Canadian government system
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How Canada Became a Democracy: Part One
How Canada Became a Democracy: Part Two
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Homeless and all levels of government