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The Structure of Canada’s Federal Political System

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Presentation on theme: "The Structure of Canada’s Federal Political System"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Structure of Canada’s Federal Political System
The Relationship Between the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches of Our Federal System

2 Introduction Parliament Parliament is a group of people who represent the entire population in a country. In Canada, Parliament is made up of three parts: the Governor General, the Senate and the House of Commons. What do you already know about Canada’s government? Let’s take a pre-quiz!

3 Our Federal Government

4 Introduction Canada’s federal government (also known as parliament) has THREE branches with special roles and responsibilities: The Legislative Branch The Executive Branch The Judicial Branch

5 The Legislative Branch
This branch is made up of the HOUSE OF COMMONS (all elected members of Parliament), the SENATE (appointed by the Prime Minister), and the GOVERNOR GENERAL (the Queen’s representative in Canada). More commonly, the legislative branch is referred to as Parliament. The duty of the legislative branch is to propose, amend, and pass laws in Canada. Because all elected members of Parliament are members of the legislative branch, there are various political parties represented within it.

6 The Legislative Branch
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS: This is the major law making area in our government. They debate, study, and vote on bills that they think should become laws. Voters in each riding of Canada elect people to represent them in the government. They are called members of parliament. (MPs)

7 The Legislative Branch
MPs belong to political parties. The party with the most MPs elected form the government. The other parties form the opposition. Representation in the House of Commons is by population. (How many people live in that area determines how many representatives that area can have.)

8 House of Commons Tour

9 The Legislative Branch
THE SENATE: These members are called senators. They are appointed by the prime minster and remain in office until the age of 75. PMs usually appoint members who support their parties, so the senate is made up of representatives from various parties. The Senate was created at the beginning of Confederation to ensure equality and protection of minority rights (at the time, Francophones), and so the Senate is made up of people who are from various cultures and occupations.

10 The Legislative Branch
Their role is to take a careful second round of debating, studying, and voting on bills that have been passed by the House of Commons. A bill cannot become law until both the House of Commons and the Senate pass it. The Senate has the power to reject bills, but rarely uses this. They can not propose any bills related to money.

11 The Senate Chamber Roles in the Senate

12 The Senate Prime Minister Stephen Harper named five new members to the senate. Let’s look at the press release and think about what issues arise from this. CBC News: Harper Names 5 to Senate Of note: Alberta has held elections to nominate representatives to the Senate in 1989, 1998, and We are the only province to do so. Stan Waters was elected in 1989 and appointed by PM Brian Mulroney in 1990.

13 The Legislative Branch
THE GOVERNOR GENERAL: Is the Queen’s representative. DOES NOT play a part of the day to day running of the government. His roles include: signing official documents, greeting important officials, and presenting honours and awards.

14 Governor General David Johnston

15 The Executive Branch Consists of the prime minister, the cabinet, public service. Their role is to carry out laws passed by the legislative branch and are responsible for the daily duties of running the country. THE PRIME MINISTER: He is the head of the government. To be PM, you must be the leader of a political party, elected as a member of Parliament, AND your party must win the most seats in the House of Commons.

16 Prime Minister Stephen Harper

17 The Executive Branch THE CABINET: These people are called cabinet ministers. The cabinet proposes most of the ideas that become laws. Some ministers are appointed by the PM and are responsible for specific areas that are important to Canadians. These areas are called PORTFOLIOS. The member of Parliament in charge of them is called a minister. Some examples of portfolios: Minister of National Defense Minister of the Environment Minister of Health

18 The Executive Branch PUBLIC SERVICE: Consists of people employed by the government who are not elected and whose jobs generally do not change as a result of an election.

19 The Judicial Branch Consists of Canada’s courts of law including provincial courts, the court of appeal, the Supreme Court and other federal courts. The Supreme Court has the final word on all legal questions and laws. This branch is kept separate from the other branches and acts as a check on the powers of the executive and legislative branches. This branch interprets laws and ensures the rights of Canadians are protected.

20 To whom are members of Parliament and senators accountable?
Members of Parliament and senators are accountable to the citizens of Canada and should consider the best interests of Canadians at all times. Specifically, MPs are accountable to the people who elected them in their constituency – they are the voice of the people in Parliament. Senators have a responsibility to minorities in Canada – to make sure that the issues and concerns of minorities are addressed in Parliament.

21 Assignment Complete the handout: Lesson 2: Canada’s Federal Political System: Critical Thinking Questions. Let’s summarize with a video! The Parlimentary System of Canada

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