The Government of Canada
Comprised of the Cabinet and the bureaucracy of the government that carry out
Legislative: The legislative bodies of Canada. They make and debate the laws.
Judicial: Comprised of the various courts of Canada. They decide who broke the law and the punishment that corresponds.
Therefore, the legislative branch would create a law about the time of year that a person could fish. The executive branch would see to it through setting up various ministries and agencies that people only fished during that time. The judiciary would put anyone on trial that broke the law and fished outside of the allotted time and would decide upon an appropriate punishment.
The levels of government were established when Canada created it's Constitution (The British North America Act) in 1867. The separate roles are defined by sections 91 and 92.
and Territorial Government:
Note: Often the Federal and the Provincial government share responsibility for an area. For example there is both a Federal and Provincial Ministry of the Environment. As Canada moves forth, and the government grows, new areas have emerged to be governed. When a conflict between these two levels of government arise, the power is automatically given to the federal government under the constitution.
When Canada came together in Confederation in 1867, many of it's makers, including the first Prime Minister Sir. John A. Macdonald envisioned a strong federal government and a weaker provincial one. However, throughout Canadian history Canada has increasingly had stronger provincial governments and the federal one has become weaker. Some attribute this to the national unity problems in Canada. (This is in contrast to the United States where the Constitution was designed for strong States and a weaker national government but throughout history the federal government has become stronger with weaker States.)
Municipal governments in each city or community are responsible for things that are directly related to a city such as policing, fire fighting, snow removal, recycling and garbage collecting. Cities are run by city councils with each "ward" (which is a an area) being represented by a councilor. At the head of the council is the Mayor of the city. Councilors and the Mayor are elected by citizens at least every 5 years.
Parliaments that are made up to two Houses are called "bicameral" Almost every country in the Western worked that is made up of a number of states or provinces has a second chamber to represent regional interests.
Governor General, Lieutenant Governor, and Constitutional Monarchy
When the legislatures want to pass a law there must first be a majority in the legislature supporting the bill and federally the bill must pass in the Senate (again - explained later) and then the bill must be given something called "Royal Assent" before it becomes law. Federally the Monarchy is represented by the Governor General and provincially the Monarchy is represented by the Lieutenant Governor. (*Special note: Lieutenant is pronounced "left-tenant" in Canada.) This is like a seal of approval similar to the way that the President of the United States must sign a Bill before it becomes law.
One important difference exists here in that while the President has a choice as to whether or not he or she would like to sign a bill, a Governor General (GG) or the Lieutenant Governor (LG)does for the most part not. Because he or she is not elected (instead appointed by the Prime Minister) it would be an undemocratic interference for the GG or the LG to interfere. The Bill has already been passed by an elected majority and therefore to not sign the bill would be to over-ride the legit majority. Therefore the position of GG or LG is largely ceremonial although it was considered a legit position when Confederation came together. It has been in recent years debated over whether we should get rid of the Monarchy in Canada. For the present however the Monarchy is here to stay.
The House of
There are three main functions of the House of Commons. The first is to debate and vote upon legislation and the second is to give the chance for the opposition to question what the government is doing with legislation, the way it conducts itself, etc. The third function is private member's business where MP's may get up and make a speech in the House about an issue or event that he/she would like to draw attention to.
It should be pointed out that the MP's have many
official functions like attending important civic events, sitting on committees
and helping out constituents that may need aid from the federal government.
Anyone may contact an MP through performing an internet search, looking up their
number in the phone book (blue pages) or through visiting the constituency
office of the MP in person.
The Senate has been seen by many Canadians as useless, unfair and undemocratic. Certain parties (especially the Reform Party) are demanding Senate reform and a Triple E Senate which means a Senate that would have Elected representatives, Equal Representation (of the Provinces) and Effective Power which means that the Senate would be given the power to reject and quash legislation like in the United States. There have even been calls to abolish the senate entirely.
The Senate was designed to give "sober second thought" to legislation. At one time it was comprised of men of rank or status that owned property. It was to control the "tyranny of the masses" so that an elected body could not get away with persecuting a minority for by enacting something that could jeopardize the country. This fear was from the experiences of the United Empire Loyalists who were persecuted in the United States and came to Canada and to curb the democracy that was seen as "mob rule" to many Canadians. It was believed that civilized, cultured men of status would protect the nation and its peoples from any such danger. Often however Senators were appointed based on political favours to the Prime Minister or the party in power rather than service to the country. A Senate appointment was a fairly sweet deal considering that it paid well and that one kept the position for life. Today after some reform Senators must retire by the age of 75 and appointments are usually Canadians who have done something good for the country (and will most likely vote in favor of the government in power.)
Senators are appointed provincially
and regionally which means that every area of Canada has a certain amount. This
regional representation is central to the role of the Senate in our system of
government and the Senate Chamber serves as a forum for the expression of
Requirements to be a Senator:
Occupations represented in the Senate include
business executives, lawyers, dentists, doctors, farmers, journalists, labour
union executives, accountants and academics.
The set up of the provincial government is very much like the set up of the federal government with one exception - at the provincial level there is no Senate. Once a bill is passed it automatically goes on to give Royal Assent.
Therefore at different ridings across a province representatives (MPPs, MLA's etc) are elected to represent and make decisions on behalf of the people that live in that riding. The representatives are usually from one of the major parties of the province although independent candidates may be elected. There are several different parties in various provinces that do not exist federally such examples are the Saskatchewan Party in Saskatchewan and the Parti Quebecois in Quebec. Also in certain provinces some of the 5 major parties do not exist. For example in Ontario there is no Provincial Reform party. Provincial parties act separately than the federal parties although for the most part the policies are along the same line. For example the Federal Conservatives are more to the left on the political spectrum than the provincial Conservatives which are more to the right in Ontario.
The pictures of the House of Commons and Senate came from the Parliament website: http://www.parl.gc.ca