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The Branches of government

The Branches of government

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The Branches of government

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  1. The Branches of government

  2. The powers of Canada’s government are divided into three branches: • Legislative Branch • has the power to make or change laws • Executive Branch • makes decisions and enforces them through the civil service • Judicial Branch • interprets and administers the law

  3. The Legislative Branch • This branch of government is made up of three parts: • House of Commons • Senate • Governor General • These three parts of the legislative branch make up Canada’s Parliament.

  4. What is the purpose of Parliament? • Parliament meets at least once a year in a session. • During each session, Parliament • passes new laws • changes or removes old laws • debates issues that are important to Canadians To fully understand how parliament works, we need to take a closer look at each of its three components...

  5. The House of Commons (Lower House) • This is the only part of Parliament that is democraticallyelected. • The people who sit in the House of Commons are called Members of Parliament (MPs).

  6. HOW DO MPS GET THEIR JOBS? • MPs are elected (every five years). • Each MP comes from a different riding. • Canada is divided into 308 ridings, each representing approximately 100,000 people. • Ridings are also known as electoral districts or constituencies.

  7. Ridings in BC

  8. Ridings by Province • Alberta 28 • BC 36 • Manitoba 14 • New Brunswick 10 • Newfoundland 7 • NWT 1 • Nova Scotia 11 • Nunavut 1 • Ontario 106 • PEI 4 • Quebec 75 • Saskatchewan 14 • Yukon 1

  9. WHAT DO MPS DO IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS? • MPs usually sit with and vote with their party. • Discuss and vote on all the new laws. • The governing party (party in power) is the party that has the most seats (MPs) in the House of Commons. Leader =Prime Minister. • The Prime Minister is also an MP. The PM chooses the most important MPs from his party to become part of his Cabinet. • The PM and the Cabinet come up with most new bills that are proposed in Parliament. • The MPs who belong to the other parties make up the opposition.

  10. WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE OPPOSITION? • The second largest party = Official Opposition. Leader is known as the Official Leader of the Opposition. • The main job of the opposition is to scrutinize all decisions made by the government.

  11. DO MPS HAVE TO VOTE WITH THEIR PARTY? • Usually YES! • Every political party holds meetings of its MPs in which they discuss their opinions freely. These closed door meetings are called a caucus. • Once decisions are made in caucus, ALL of the MPs are expected to vote in favour of them in the House of Commons. • If MPs do not follow the party line, they risk being kicked out of the party!

  12. HOWEVER... • Sometimes there are free votes in the House of Commons. • In such cases, MPs are free to vote as they wish. • Situations where free vote may occur involve debates on controversial topics such as gay marriage, abortion, capital punishment...

  13. The Senate (Upper House) • This is the second house of Parliament • The people who sit in the Senate are called Senators.

  14. How do Senators get their jobs? • Senators are NOT elected. They are appointed by the Governor General after being recommended by the Prime Minister. • Senators keep their position until they retire (age 75) or die. • Usually, Prime Ministers fill empty seats in the Senate with supporters of their own party. This is called patronage.

  15. Senators at work

  16. Result of Patronage: • People argue that positions in the Senate are given to people the PM likes people the PM likes as opposed to those who are best qualified. • This is one of the main reasons why many Canadians support the idea of abolishing the Senate.

  17. What do Senators do? • Senators basically do the same thing in the Senate that the MPs do in the House of Commons. • A bill cannot be turned into law unless both the Senate and the House of Commons have passed it. • The main difference between the two Houses are • Senators cannot propose money bills • The Senate represents regions as opposed to populations

  18. So what is the purpose of the Senate? • To provide “sober second thought” to any decisions made by the democratically elected House of Commons. • To be more representative of regions with smaller populations.

  19. The Governor General • The Governor General is the Queen’s representative in Canada. • He or she is appointed by the Prime Minister. • A Governor General normally serves for 5 years.

  20. What does the Governor General Do? • Gives formal assent (royal assent) to any bill passed by Parliament. • After the Governor General gives formal assent, the bill becomes a law. • The Governor General also ensures that the government abides by the Constitution and opens each session of Parliament with a speech.

  21. The Executive Branch • This branch of government is made up of four parts: • Governor General • Prime Minister • Cabinet • Civil Service (Public Service / Bureaucracy)

  22. What is the role of the Executive Branch? • To make decisions and make sure that they are carried out through the civil service. • Example: • The Provincial government decides how many provincial exams you must write. • The people who run your school make sure that you actually write them.

  23. So what does each part of the Executive Branch do? • The Governor General has the simplest job: • Gives formal assent to bills, making them laws that must be enforced.

  24. What does the PM do? • The Prime Minister has a number of roles to play in Canada’s government: • Is the leader of the political party with the most seats in the House of Commons • After an election, is asked by the Governor General to become Prime Minister

  25. The Prime Minister is the Head of Government: • As head of government, the PM • Asks the Governor General to name new judges and senators • Decides when to ask the Governor General to call an election • Chooses Cabinet Ministers • Has final say in creating the policies of the government

  26. The Prime Minister is the Leader of the Nation: • As leader of the nation, the PM • Explains the goals of the government to the people • Addresses Canadians on important issues • Represents Canada on trips to other nations • Works with premiers to coordinate federal / provincial responsibilities

  27. The Prime Minister is the Leader of his Political Party: • As leader of his party, the PM • Acts as spokesperson for his party • Gives patronage appointments • Leads other party members in Parliament

  28. What is the Cabinet? • The cabinet is made up of MPs chosen by the PM. • Members of the cabinet are known as Cabinet Ministers • Each cabinet minister is responsible for one cabinet department • Examples: • Minister of Foreign Affairs • Minister of Finance • Minister of Defence • Minister of Fisheries

  29. How does a PM select Cabinet Ministers? • The PM has to consider a number of factors: • The cabinet must make the different regions of Canada feel as though they are fairly represented. • The cabinet must make the different ethnic, linguistic and social groups in Canada feel as though they are fairly represented. • The cabinet must be made up of people who are capable, trustworthy and loyal to their leader.

  30. What do Cabinet Ministers do? • They help to form government policy for the department they are in charge of. • They are free to express their opinions behind closed doors, but in public their job is to show full support for the decisions of the government – this is the principle of Cabinet Solidarity. • Solidarity is ensured by one MP of the party who has the role of Party Whip.

  31. What do Cabinet Ministers do? • They help to form government policy for the department they are in charge of. • They are free to express their opinions behind closed doors, but in public their job is to show full support for the decisions of the government – this is the principle of Cabinet Solidarity. • Solidarity is ensured by one MP of the party who has the role of Party Whip.

  32. What happens after the Governor General, the PM, and the Cabinet have made their decisions? • They get the civil service to put their decisions into practice.

  33. What is the civil service? • Everyone who is employed by the government is part of the civil service. They are the people who perform the ongoing business of government. • This includes teachers, fire fighters, police, the military, ambassadors, tax collectors... • The civil service is also known as the public service or the bureaucracy.

  34. Civil Servants do many things: • Gather statistics • Advise cabinet ministers (deputy ministers) • Write details for new laws • Represent Canada in other countries • Collect taxes • Inspect food • Deliver mail...

  35. ASSIGNMENT • Prepare a job advertisement for one of the following positions: Governor General, Prime Minister, Cabinet Minister, or Senator. • Include: • a brief job description • personal qualities that are necessary for the job • work experiences that are necessary for the job