By: Shobana Santhanam, 2nd period


Canadian Government, People, and History

Canadian Government: Part 1

Canada has a Federal Parliamentary Democracy, and a Constitutional monarchy. Canada is a federation which means the power is shared between the federal and provincial governments.

Federal Sate: There are Federal, Provincial, Territorial and Municipal governments in Canada. The responsibilities of the federal and provincial governments where defined in 1867 in the British North American Act, now known as The Constitutional Act. In the 'federal state' the federal government takes charge for national and internationals concerns. These include defense, foreign policy, inter-provincial trade and communications, currency, navigation, criminal law, and citizenship. The provinces are responsible for municipal government, education, health, natural resources, property and civil rights, and highways.

Parliamentary Democracy: In Canada’s parliamentary democracy, the people elect members to the House of Commons in Ottawa and to the provincial and territorial legislatures. These representatives are responsible for passing laws, approving and monitoring expenditures, and keeping the government accountable. Parliament has three parts: the Sovereign (Queen or King), the Senate and the House of Commons. In the federal government, the Prime Minister selects the Cabinet ministers and is responsible for the operations and policy of the government. The House of Commons is the representative chamber, made up of members of Parliament elected by the people, traditionally every four years. Senators are appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister and serve until age 75. Both the House of Commons and the Senate consider and review bills(proposals for new laws). No bill can become law in Canada until it has been passed by both chambers and has received royal assent, granted by the Governor General on behalf of the Sovereign

Constitutional Monarchy: As a constitutional monarchy, Canada’s Head of State is a hereditary Sovereign (Queen or King), who reigns in accordance with the Constitution: the rule of law. The Sovereign is a part of Parliament, playing an important, non-partisan role as the focus of citizenship and allegiance, most visibly during royal visits to Canada. Her Majesty is a symbol of Canadian sovereignty, a guardian of constitutional freedoms, and a reflection of Canada's history.

Government; Role of the People

  • 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

The Canadians also had many rights.

  • Democratic Rights: For example the right to vote
  • Language rights
  • Equality rights
  • Mobility rights
  • Freedom of Religion
  • Freedom of Expression
  • Freedom of assembly and association

People: Where do people live and Why?

Most people in Canada do not live up north where it is very cold. Most of the population lives in the south, near the border to the USA. Less than 100,000 people live in Yukon/ Northwestern Territories/ Nunavut. There is 5,940,000 people in Metro Atlanta itself!

On January 1, 2013, the majority of Canadians lived in Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, and Albany, majority being about 86% of the people. Trade and climate are 2 factor that explain the choice of many Canadians to like near the US-Canada border.We share the longest border in the world, and are the largest trading partners globally. There are no tariffs or quotas between the 2 countries, according to the Canadian-American Free Trade agreement. Trade supports millions of jobs in both countries, and Canada is a major export for 36 out of 50 American States. On its part Canada is the largest energy supplier to the US, providing 18 percent of natural gas imports and 20 percent of oil imports. Canada is the major electricity supplier – mostly renewable and clean hydroelectric power – to California, the Pacific Northwest, Upper Midwest, New York, and New England. US nuclear power plants use Canadian uranium as well.These few reasons are why most Canadians do not live in the Northern areas of Canada, and instead live in the south.

Environmental Issues in Canada

Factories and cars produce many pollutants. Pollutants, such as Sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen oxides are released into the air. When these pollutants are in the air, they mix with the water molecules and turn the water acidic. Clouds or rain droplets that are acidic are called acid rain.

Acid rain causes many problems in the environment. It kills plants, damages or kills trees, and pollutes lakes and rivers, killing the fish that live in them. Industries and people in Canada depend upon the water from the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes are shared between the United States and Canada, it is important for the two counties to work together to keep the lakes clean.

By the 1970s, the Great Lakes were becoming extremely polluted. In some places, fishing was unsafe, in other places; there weren’t any fish at all! The factories around the Great Lakes had been dumping all their trash in the lake, for no cost at all. The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the US and Canada is working on helping the lakes' ecosystems and prevent any more destruction of the environment.

The Canadian Shield is a large area of uplands around Hudson Bay. This area covers most of the Eastern half of Canada. The soil in the region is rocky, but under the soil is one of Canada's most valuable resources. That resource is minerals! About 1.5 million people make their living in the mining industry in Canada. But mining can be bad for the environment. The land around mines can be damaged and the ecosystem destroyed. During the mining process, Sulfur Dioxide can be released into the air, producing acid rain and killing nearby plants and lake animals.

The timber industry is BIG in Canada. But, cutting down all the trees in Canada is causing the forests to be destroyed. Planting new trees could help, but trees take years to grow. I think that if they started decreasing the amount of trees they cut down, this problem could be solved.