The Canadian Government
Our Head of State:
David Johnston - 28th Governor General since confederation, assumed office on October 1, 2010
The governor general is appointed by the monarch of Canada on the recommendation of the prime minister.
They typically serve for 4-5 years, but there is no official term limits.
He ensures that the prime minister and government have the confidence of the parliament (51% or more members of the House of Commons).
What does he do?
He is the representative of the Queen of Canada.
Reading the Speech from the Throne which outlines the Canadian federal government agenda for a new session of Parliament.
Signs bills into laws (called royal assent)
Appointing superior court judges, on the advice of cabinet.
Summoning and closing Parliament on the advice of the Prime Minister.
Inviting the leader of the party with the most support in the House of Commons to form the government. That party leader becomes Prime Minister.
Receiving and sending ambassadors.
Steven Harper - 22nd and current Prime Minister of Canada
Leader of the Conservative Party
Sworn in on February 6, 2006
- The prime minister is the head of government of Canada
Most powerful role of Canada
Head of the executive branch of the Canadian federal government.
Leader of political party gets chosen to be prime minster (majority)
The prime minister is the chief minister and effective head of the executive in a parliamentary system
PM controls the agenda and discussions at meetings and selects the members of Cabinet committee
Has special relationship with crown
- 39 members of the Cabinet
- Direct the government's policy and make decisions about national issues
- Cabinet members look after departments (Finance, Justice, Health, Defence)
- Ministers presents bills from their governmental departments - other cabinet members examine the bill, especially the costs, and recommends to the minister whether the bill should proceed to Parliament or changes that should be made
MPs and Opposition
- MPs represent the people of their community and their opinions
- They debate and vote on bills and motions
The Members of MPs per province/territory depends on the population
Each MP represents his/her riding - (Riding: Geographical division of land based on population which is represented by 1 MP per approximately 122 000 people)
MPs discuss and debate issues of public interest
Mississauga, Streetsville - Brad Butt
- Leader of the Opposition is usually the leader of the party with the second-most seats in the HoC
- Current leader of the opposition: Thomas Muclair
- Keeps the government accountable, critiques government policy
Speaker of the House
- Andrew Scheer - June 2, 2011
- Elected by the members of the House of Commons
- Has authority over members of the House of Commons
- Is an MP (voted by other MPs) to act as a referee to enforce rules of parliamentary debate
- Expected to be non-partisan (not in favor of any party)
- MPs may not speak directly to one another in the House of Commons. They must address their remarks through the speaker.
- Every sitting day at the Canadian House of Commons, generally 45 minutes long
- To seek information from the government and call it into account for its actions
- Questions are posed to the Prime Minister or Cabinet Ministers
The senate is a component of the parliament of Canada along with the house of commons, and the monarch
Prime Minister recommends the names of senators to be appointed by the Governor General
- There are many requirements to become a senator and those requirements are that you have to be a Canadian citizen, you need to be at least 30 years old, you must have your own property in your province or territory, and live in the province or territory that you will represent as a senator
- Usually 105 members of the senate
What does the senate do?
The Senate carefully examines bills, which are proposed laws
The Senate studies, amends, and either rejects or approves bills passed in the house of commons
No bill can become a law until it is passed by the Senate
Can propose own bills but not where they are spending public money or impose taxes
One of the duties of the Senate is to represent the interests of Canada’s regions, provinces, territories and minority groups
The bills are studied to find out how they might affect the daily lives of Canadians also some bills may even be rejected
Includes all courts and judges in Canada
Juries are made up of citizens who are selected and processed
Operates independently from the other branches of government
Interpret and applies the law
Handles cases in intellectual property; disputes between the provinces and territories; citizenship appeals; Competition Act (cases involving federal Crown corporations or departments of the government of Canada)
Supreme Court of Canada:
Highest court in Canada
Court of last appeal (if you are appealing your case, the Supreme Court is your last stop), its decisions are final
Consists of a chief justice and eight other judges (3 from Quebec) appointed by the PM
Upon request, the SC may review the criminal or civil law decision of a lower court and interpret the constitution
Kathleen Wynne - Ontario's 25th Premier and first woman to serve in this role
Leader of the Liberal Party
Became premier in 2013
- Head of the executive branch of Ontario's government
Controls the agenda and discussions at meetings and selects the members of Cabinet committee
Has special relationship with crown
Territories also have premiers (Yukon: premier represents elected political party, in NWT and Nunavut, a non-partisan (not affiliated with any political party) council selects premiers.
Each province has a legislative assembly (similar to the House of Commons)
Known as MLA’s (Members of the Legislative Assembly). In Quebec called MNAs (Members of National Assembly) and in Ontario called MPPs (Members of Provincial Parliament)
Does not have a senate
Elected members from each province/territories
Debate and pass laws
The MPP for Mississauga-Streetsville is Bob Delaney (Liberal)
- Each province/territory has courts to enforce federal and provincial laws in criminal and civil issues
Each province/territory has a court of appeal which can review the decision of a lower court and interpret the constitution
Provincial Supreme Court
- Criminal Court
- Civil Court