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Government and Statute Law Chapter 3. Laws have to………. meet legal challenges and approval of citizens. be enforceable. present a balance between competing.

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Presentation on theme: "Government and Statute Law Chapter 3. Laws have to………. meet legal challenges and approval of citizens. be enforceable. present a balance between competing."— Presentation transcript:

1 Government and Statute Law Chapter 3

2 Laws have to………. meet legal challenges and approval of citizens. be enforceable. present a balance between competing interests. be constitutional be within the jurisdiction of the authority making the law.

3 BNA Act 1 st Constitution: British North America Act Passed by British parliament July 1 st,1867 Established Canada as a country John A. Macdonald as its first Prime Minister. Recognized Canada as a separate political entity, it still couldn’t make changes without Britain’s approval.

4 Federal System Responsibilities for governing divided between the central government and the provincial government. Each government had their own jurisdictions Central (federal) government could override a provincial law if it was seen as not in the best interest of all Canadians. Comes from the BNA act; therefore includes the monarch as the head of state and the principle of the rule of law.

5 Section 91 of the BNA act outlined the federal government’s powers, usually matters that applied to everyone, such as postal service or currency. Section 92 outlined the provincial governments powers, such as education. Provinces delegated their responsibilities to municipal governments for local matters.

6 Federal and Provincial Banking Foreign affairs Criminal Law Public debt Defence Trade and commerce Postal service PenitentiariesEducation Health care Labor and Trade unions Property and civil rights Compensation to injured workers Marriage

7 Doctrine of Ultra Vires Government may make laws only in its own jurisdiction. (Intra Vires: within the power of government to pass laws). If a government attempts to pass laws out of its jurisdiction it would be said to be Ultra Vires, (beyond the power of government to pass laws).

8 Patriating the Constitution Problems with BNA: –Canada still dependent on Britain. –Limited Canada’s independence –Did not make mention of a Prime Minister’s office –Unclear regarding jurisdiction over resources –Did not allow for responsibilities that did not exist in 1867. Statute of Westminster (1931): greatly extended Canada’s law-making power. Now Canada could make its own laws and they could not be overruled by Britain. The federal and provincial governments agreed to share the cost of areas not identified in the act. For all these reasons, and the fact that the act did not protect civil liberties, the constitution had to be brought home!

9 PM Pierre Elliot Trudeau wanted to Patriate (bring home) the constitution. After several attempts to get the provinces to agree, finally, without the approval of Quebec, the Constitutional Act of 1982 was born. It included the BNA act but had four new key elements….. –1. A principle regarding the equalizing of services across Canada. –2. A clearer interpretation of who was responsible for control and management of natural resources. –3. A formula indicating what terms would be necessary to make future amendments to the constitution. –4. Canadian charter of rights and freedoms was included, guaranteeing individual rights and freedoms. It also made provisions for the Principle of Equalization, which provides for equal access to essential services for all Canadians. Finally, an amending formula was agreed upon which required the approval of Parliament plus two-thirds of the provinces representing 50% of the population.

10 Government and Lawmaking The executive branch of government is responsible for carrying out the government’s plans and policies. It consists of the prime Minister, the Cabinet and the public or civil service. Members of cabinet are elected representatives appointed by the Prime Minister to positions of responsibility. The executive branch at the provincial level works much the same way.


12 The Legislative Branch Refers to the branch of government that has the power to make, change and repeal laws. Federally, this is the House of Commons and the Senate. Provincially, it the Legislative assembly. The Governor General, Michaelle Jean and the Lieutenant Governor, Mayann E. Francis, are appointed to represent the Queen.


14 The Judiciary The branch of government responsible for presiding over Canada’s court system. It is independent of the other two branches. Made up of judges who adjudicate disputes, interpret the law and decide on punishments. Apolitical and independent! Highest court is the Supreme Court of Canada.

15 From A Bill To A Statute Only the government can pass laws! The laws must be constitutional and should reflect public concerns and government policies. A proposed piece of legislation is called a Bill. Royal commissions, advisory boards, interest groups and Ministers’ initiatives all can have an influence on proposed legislation. Here are the steps involved in passing a Bill into law……..

16 Types of Bills A bill introduced by a Cabinet Minister is called a government or public bill. A bill may also be introduced by an elected representative who does not hold a Cabinet post. Then it’s called a Private Members Bill. Government bills almost always pass if the government has a majority in the house. It’s much more difficult for a private members’ bill because it may not have government support.

17 Making a Bill a Law Here are the steps involved……… –1. Draft legislation is put together by the government department involved. –2. First reading in the house, where the bill is introduced and its purpose is discussed. The bill is printed and distributed. –3. Second reading, where the principle of the bill is debated, each member has a chance to comment and then the bill may be referred to committee for revision and further examination. –4. Third reading, debate is restricted to the contents of the bill.

18 Making a Bill a Law –5. The bill goes to the Senate where the same steps take place. The Senate also checks that the bill does what is intended, is not redundant and is constitutional. –6. Bill is returned to the house for a vote. –7. If the bill passes it goes to the governor general for Royal assent and proclamation. –8. The bill is now a statute or act of parliament, and of course, a law! –9. Provincial laws follow the same process, but with no Senate, once its passed it goes directly to the Lieutenant Governor.


20 Lobby Groups Lobby groups, people who try to influence legislators in favor of their cause, can be very influential in getting laws changed or new laws passed. MADD, and The Coalition for Gun Control, are two good examples of groups who have influenced government to change laws. Sometimes specific national problems may require a government investigation. Often this involves a Royal Commission, which is appointed by the federal Cabinet to conduct impartial investigations. An example would be the Royal Commission on Canada’s blood supply. A report from a royal commission is referred to as a white paper.

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