What is Government? Why do we have it? Where does it come from? Political Parties Ideologies
What is Government? • Government is a complex structure of politicians, bureaucrats, agencies, organizations and laws • Types of government vary: • What types can you name?
democracy • Canada, US, GB, Germany, France, Scandinavia, Netherlands, Belgium, Australia, NZ, Japan, South Korea....etc. • parliamentary = GB, Australia, NZ, Germany... • presidential = US, France, South Korea, Mexico... • constitutional monarchy • GB, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium... • absolute monarchy • Saudi Arabia • tyranny • North Korea • oligarchy • South Africa (until 1994) – now a democracy...
Canada is a “Democracy” and we use a Parliamentary system: • Democracy – political parties can be created, free elections, voting, free speech, freedom of the press... • Parliamentary – 2 “houses” of government – House of Commons (lower house - elected) and the Senate (upper house - appointed) • These 2 houses work together to run the country.
We are a “constitutional monarchy” – the BNA Act (constitution) is based on British tradition and we have a Queen (monarchy) • Canada was established as the “Dominion of Canada” in 1867 with the British North America Act (BNA) • Our government is also a “federal system” – the powers of government are divided between the federal (national), provincial and municipal (local) levels of govt.
Do we need government? YES/NO - Why? • What does government do for us? - Services (water, roads, electricity, schools), law & order, organization and structure… • What does government prevent us from doing? - Breaking the law, doing whatever we want… • What would happen if we had no government? • anarchy? • no services, no law & order….
True or False? • Queen Elizabeth is the Queen of Canada • The Queen is Canada’s Head of State • The Canadian Forces, Post Office and Civil Service function in her name • “God Save the Queen” is the royal anthem • The Queen refers to the Cdn. Govt as “my govt” • New citizens swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen • No bill can become law until it receives “royal assent” (the Queen’s approval)
In Canada, the federal govt. has been dominated by 2 political parties since 1867: - Liberals and Conservatives • But, at both the federal and provincial levels, other parties have emerged: - NDP, Bloc Quebecois, Green… - Communist, Marijuana, Rhino… • All of these parties want to gain and exercise power, and once in power, they want to implement their “political platform”: - a parties statement of ideas and principles - how they feel the country should be governed
A political parties “platform” is based upon its “ideologies”, or system of beliefs, values and morals • Different ideologies are often called “right wing” or “left wing”: - right wing = limited govt. involvement in the economy and society; individual freedoms, espec. to make $; tough on crime; lower taxes; free trade... - left wing = govt. should create economic, social and political equality; promote rehabilitation vs. punishment and incarceration of criminals; higher taxes to pay for social programs...
These ideologies are then compared on a “political spectrum” which helps to organize the political parties and their beliefs • BUT... - right and left labels don’t always apply - you might be left on some issues and right on others - parties can also shift their beliefs over time Communism (L) NDP Liberal Conservative Facism(R)