Government of Canada Grade 9 Social Studies Chapter 9
What is government? • Government: the political direction and control exercised over the actions of the citizens of an area • There are many types of government, but the most common are: • Communism • Democracy • Dictatorship • Monarchy • Totalitarianism
Government in Canada • Canada is governed as a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy • Democracy: government by the people
Levels of Government • Canada’s government is divided into three levels: • federal government (national level – the whole country) • provincial government (provincial/territorial level) • municipal government (community/town/city level) • Each level of government is responsible for different tasks.
Prime Ministers of Canada since 1867 Prime Ministers
Executive Branch This branch of government is responsible for ‘running the government’ – it implements and enforces the laws created by the legislative branch
I. The Sovereign • Elizabeth II is the current ruling monarchy in Canada • She is the official Head of State • In practice, the sovereign rarely personally exercises her executive, judicial or legislative powers • Since the monarch does not normally reside in Canada, she appoints a Governor General to represent her and exercise most of her powers.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II • The Queen is Head of State of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms. • The elder daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, she was born in 1926 and became Queen at the age of 25, and has reigned through more than five decades of enormous social change and development. • The Queen is married to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and has four children and eight grandchildren.
Images of Queen Elizabeth II Image Gallery - British Monarchy
II. Governor General of Canada • Right Honourable David Johnson is the current Governor General of Canada as of October 1st 2010 (28th since Confederation) • He represents the Crown in Canada and carries out the duties of head of State. • He resides at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, ON.
Duties • He summons Parliament, sets out the government’s program by reading the Speech from the Throne, and approves all acts of Parliament that create law. • He presides over the swearing-in of the prime minister and his cabinet. • He is Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces. • The governor general is Chancellor of the Order of Canada and the Order of Military Merit.
III. Prime Minister of Canada • Stephen Harper is the current Prime Minister of Canada (May 2, 2011). • He is the leader of the national Conservative Party. • He is the head of government of Canada and Head of the cabinet. • The PM is not elected directly, but is by constitutional convention the leader of the political party that holds the largest number of seats in the House of Commons.
Prime Minister of Canada • Following an election, the PM is sworn in by the governor general. • The official residence of the prime minister is 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, Ontario.
Prime Minister of Canada • A prime minister does not have a fixed term of office - once sworn in (s)he retains the office until (s)he resigns, is dismissed or dies. • In 2007 the Prime Minister of Canada had an annual salary of $301,600.
Duties • The Prime Minister does not have specific powers and duties. • Instead, the position has powers in three areas: • recommending the appointment of individuals to key positions (senators, ministers, judges, ambassadors,) • organizing Cabinet (number and appointment of ministers, sets agenda for meetings) • providing leadership and direction to the government (participates in House of Commons debates and daily Question Period)
IV. The Cabinet • The Cabinet is the executive committee of the Canadian government. • The current cabinet is comprised of 34 ministers. • Each minister is responsible for one portfolio, or department (ex, Minister of Finance).
Duties • Duties of the cabinet ministers include: • advising the queen, governor general and prime minister of developments in their portfolio. • introducing and defending new legislation regarding their portfolio at the House of Commons • answering questions on their job performance from the Opposition.
Selection of Cabinet Ministers • Cabinet is appointed by the governor general upon the advice of the prime minister. • The selection process is a complex task as the prime minister tries to include people from: • each province • visible minorities • both genders • interest groups
The Cabinet…who are they? • Use this webpage to complete the chart of current cabinet members: • Cabinet Members 2009 • House of Commons diagram
Legislative Branch This branch of government is responsible initiating, approving or rejecting laws in Canada
I. Members of Parliament • The House of Commons is the first law-making body in Canada, made up of Members of Parliament. • It is also called the “Lower House” • The MP’s are chosen during federal elections.
Elections • During an election, constituents (people of voting age) in a particular area (called a riding) are presented 1 candidate for each political party • On election day, all Canadians 18 or older are eligible to vote. On the ballot are the names of each candidate. They choose 1. • The candidate who receives the majority of votes will represent them in the House of Commons and becomes a Member of Parliament
Members of Parliament • Currently, there are 308 MP’s in the House of Commons (a record 69 are women) • Each province has a certain number of MP’s, according to their population.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s MP’s List of Canada's current Members of Parliament
Members of Parliament • The political party with the largest number of MP’s wins the election and forms the gov’t. • MP’s hold their positions for a period no longer than five years. • The Cabinet members are part of the 308 MP’s, as is the prime minister. • Annual salary: $155,400 • Stephen Harper’s current riding is Calgary.
Duties • The duties of the Members of Parliament are: • to represent the constituents who elected them • to question gov’t and to bring attention to the concerns of the people in their riding in the House of Commons during Question Period • to study, amend and introduce bills (laws), such as the creation of National Holocaust Day • to attend functions in their riding Let's Watch CPAC!
II. The Senate • The Senate is the second law-making body in Canada, which is made up of Senators. • It is also known as the “Upper House” • The Senators are appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister.
The Senate • There are currently 105 Senators. • 34 are women • There are four senatorial divisions, which have 24 Senators each: • The Maritimes (10 NS, 10 NB, 4 PEI) • Ontario • Quebec • Western (6 each for MN, SK, BC) • plus 6 seats for NL, and one for each of the territories
The Senate • The Senate is located in a different block in the Parliament building, known as the ‘red chamber’
Senate • Senators originally held their position for life • But since 1965, Senators cannot hold their position after the age of 75 • Senators must meet certain criteria to be eligible, and can loose their seat if they miss two Senate sessions, are convicted of a crime or go bankrupt!
Duties • The duties of the Senators are: • to provide a “sober, second thought” to the House of Commons • to review bills presented by the MP’s and send them back for amendments if needed • to delay or veto the passage of a bill • to introduce bills (but not on taxes) • to work on committees that study issues of public concern, such as health concerns • to question and challenge the gov’t