Executive Branch Federal • Prime minister: head of the federal government; leader of the national party in power • Cabinet: selected by head of government to be responsible for departments • Public Service: people who conduct the daily business of government Provincial • Premier: head of the provincial government; leader of the provincial party in power • Cabinet: selected by head of government to be responsible for ministries • Public Service: people who conduct the daily business of government
Legislative Branch Parliament • House of Commons • Provincial: Full of MPPs; Federal: Full of MPs • Make the laws for federal/provincial government • The party with the most number of ‘seats’ (elected members), is the ‘government’ • The other parties form the ‘opposition’ • You can watch parliament on the CPAC channel on TV: http://www.cpac.ca/en/ Senate • ‘upper house of parliament’ • Can propose or amend bills from the House of Commons • Appointed by the Prime Minister • They may serve until they are 75 • The provincial government does not have a senate
Judicial Branch • Supreme Court of Canada • Provincial Supreme Court • Court of Appeal • Criminal Division • Superior court (major crimes) • Criminal court (ordinary crimes) • Civil Division • Civil court (private disputes) • Small claims court (disputes below $3000) • Family court (custody, divorce, etc.)
Political Parties • Conservative Party (centre/right-wing) • Currently hold a majority government (more than half the seats in parliament) • Leader: Stephen Harper • Has 161 seats • New Democratic Party (left-wing) • Official opposition party • Leader: Tom Mulcair • 99 seats • Liberal Party (centre/left-wing) • Leader: Justin Trudeau • 36 seats • Bloc Qubecois • Only hold seats in Quebec • Leader: André Bellavance • 4 seats • Green Party • Leader: Elizabeth May • 2 seats • Other parties, ‘independents’ • 3 seats
Think Pair Share • Why is it difficult for independent MPs to be elected? • After a particularly horrendous killing, the majority of constituents in the member’s riding reveal in a poll that they want to return the death penalty for this kind of offence. The member agrees, but the party she belongs to is opposed to capital punishment. What does the member do? • The member believes his party should take a much stronger stand on tobacco advertising and the availability of tobacco products. His constituency, however, receives millions of dollars from tobacco companies to sponsor sporting and cultural events in the riding. What should the member do? • The political party the member belongs to has decided that access to abortion should be limited. Polls indicate strong support for the stand among constituents, but the member is strongly in favour of easy access. What should she do?