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Chapter 1 How Effectively does Canada’s Federal Political System govern Canada for all Canadians? NDP Leader Prime Minister Conservative Justin Trudeau Rona Ambrose Thomas Muclair Bloc Leader Green Party Rheal Fortin Elizabeth May
Lesson #1 1 -4 CANADA’S FEDERAL POLITICAL SYSTEM n n n Govern: Governance: Government: to make decisions as a government and put decisions into action. the process of governing. the body with the power to make decisions for a society. n Government makes news because everyday it’s decisions affect the quality of life of Canadians. Canada has several levels of government, federal, provincial, and local. Canada has been a country since 1867. n Pg. 17 How has Canada’s governance changed since 1867? n n
CANADA’S FEDERAL POLITICAL SYSTEM Canada’s Constitution ► Is the law that describes governance in Canada. ► It sets out the role of the Governor General (Michelle Jean), and the different roles of the three branches of government. ► It describes how the 3 branches of govn’t work together to make decisions. ► Also sets out the Charter of Rights. ► 4 main sections of Canada’s Federal Political System 1. Monarch of Britain 2. Executive Branch 3. Legislative Branch 4. Judicial Branch Pg. 22
What is the structure of Canada’s federal political system? The Queen The Executive Branch n The Legislative Branch The Judicial Branch Read page 22 in your text and create your own chart. In point form write down what each branch of government is responsible for doing.
CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY n Canada is a CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY, the head of state being a monarch (a king or queen). The monarch’s representative in Canada is the Governor General who fills the role of approving laws made in Canada and other formal functions. The representative of the monarch in the provinces is the Lieutenant Governor.
Governor General n The Governor General is appointed by the monarch (Queen) on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The Lieutenant Governor is appointed by the Governor General following a recommendation by the premier of a province to the prime minister. Governor General David Johnston
Governor General n n The Governor General has the power to appoint the Prime Minister, who is the leader of the political party that holds the most seats in the House of Commons. The Governor General and Lieutenant Governor generally acts on the advice of the prime minister or premier of the province. No bill gets passed in either parliament or a provincial legislature without ROYAL ASSENTfrom the Governor General or Lieutenant Governor.
CANADA’S FEDERAL POLITICAL SYSTEM Monarch of Britain ► Britain’s queen or king is the formal head of state in Canada, but does not play role in our government policy. ► Governor General is part of the executive and legislative branches of government. Executive Branch ► Includes the Prime Minister (Stephen Harper) and the Cabinet ► Prime Minister is head of Canada’s govn’t. Prime Minister is an elected position. First must be elected leader of a political party, then must be elected as a member of parliament, and the party you lead must win the most seats in the House of Commons. (308) ► Cabinet Ministers are appointed by the PM and have various roles in the government. (pg. 25) All belong to leading political parties in the H of C, and are MP’s or Senators.
CANADA’S FEDERAL POLITICAL SYSTEM Executive Branch cont. ► PM decides what portfolios to include in the cabinet. ► Cabinet proposes most of the ideas that become laws. ► PM and Cabinet run the day to day business of the govn’t. Critical takes minister prime Thinking: the thinkyou dofactors What into account when appointing the members of cabinet? Critical Prime Thinking: As positions to respond to issues about government that concern Canadians? Assignment: In small groups, make a list of the cabinets you would keep, change, or add. Why?
The House of Commons n Is made up of 338 elected Members of Parliament n Is the principal law making body in Canada n Members devote most of their time to debating and voting on bills They also…. ü Represent constituents views ü Discuss national issues ü Call on the government to explain its actions
The House of Commons Lower House
Lesson #2 slide 5 -9 CANADA’S FEDERAL POLITICAL SYSTEM Legislative Branch ► Includes the House of Commons, the Senate, and the Governor General. Also called Canada’s Parliament. ► House of Commons: major law-making body in the govn’t. Members of the H of C debate, study and vote on laws proposed in Canada, called BILLS. MP’s (members of Parliament) are the members of the H of C. Voters elect them. Each MP represents one riding, one district. Most MP’s belong to political parties. The party with the most MP’s usually forms the government. Other parties form the opposition. Representation in the H of C is by population (pg. 33) All proceedings in the H of C are in English and French. pg. 28 chart.
CANADA’S FEDERAL POLITICAL SYSTEM Legislative Branch cont. ► House of Commons cont. MP’s have 2 key responsibilities, to represent their constituents, and to create legislation for the peace, order, and good of all Canadians. Pg. 29 How are MP’s elected? Pg. 29 Popular vote means the total support political parties win during an election, regardless of whether they win the riding. # OF RIDINGS IS BASED ON POPULATION. Pg. 30 (Alberta has 28 ridings) ► Senate: Senators are not elected. The Prime Minister appoints them. Can remain in office until age 75 (WOW) PM tends to appoint people who support his political party, since seats rarely open up, senators come from all parties. Senators represent the interest and rights of Canada’s regions, and especially Canada’s minorities. Senator’s are appointed by division, or region. (Provinces) All proceedings are in English and French.
CANADA’S FEDERAL POLITICAL SYSTEM Legislative Branch cont. ► Senate cont: The senate can propose laws, but usually only considers bills passed by the H of C. Senate gives sober second thought, a second round of debate. Senate cannot propose laws that create or spend taxes. A bill cannot become law until both the H of C and Senate pass it. Senate has power to reject bills from the H of C , but rarely uses this power. - Critical Thinking: Why might the role of the Senate to represent minorities be important to governance in Canada? - Assignment: Describe 3 ways Canada’s House of Commons and Senate provide opportunities for citizens to participate?
CANADA’S FEDERAL POLITICAL SYSTEM JUDICIAL Branch ► Includes Canada’s court of laws. All members of the judicial branch come from the legal profession. ► Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court in Canada. Has the final word on all legal questions, including making and applying laws. ► The judicial branch is separate from the other branches and acts as a check on their powers. ► Judicial Branch has the main responsibility of making sure rights of all Canadians are respected. ► Judicial Branch – the part of the government that interprets and applies the law by making legal judgements. Pg. 35 – how Judges see their role. Pg. 35 – Who becomes a Supreme Court Judge?
CANADA’S FEDERAL POLITICAL SYSTEM MONARCH OF BRITAIN ↓ EXECUTIVE BRANCH Prime Minister & Cabinet ↓ LEGISLATIVE BRANCH House of Commons, Senate, Governor General ↓ JUDICIAL BRANCH Court of Laws Parliament Hill Assignment
Lesson #3 UNDERSTANDING CANADA’S CONSTITUTION n n All societies have some form of government. All societies have some way of establishing rules. All systems must be classified, one way is by who holds the power. • Democracies: those who govern do so with the consent of those who are governed. The citizens hold the power to govern and play a role in the decision making. • Dictatorships: those who govern (one person or a few) do so without the consent of those who are governed. One element holds all the power. This can be represented by a political spectrum: ← Low Degree of participation by citizens High → n Dictatorhips Democracies
UNDERSTANDING CANADA’S CONSTITUTION n There are other ways of classifying political systems: • • • n Degree of equality amongst citizens (communism, socialism) Degree of willingness to change current political system Canada is a democracy Common Values in a Democracy: • A belief in the value and dignity of individuals • Political pluralism (a recognition and acceptance of a broad range of political views, resulting in a range of political parties from which to choose when voting. • Majority rule, with respect to minority rights • Rule of law • A separation of powers (avoids concentration with one branch - absolute power corrupts absolutely) • Canada, Britain, and the USA have democracies. • Chart on democracies
THE POWERS OF GOVERNMENT n Legislative – the power to make laws, Executive – the power to govern according to the law, Judicial – the power to judge or interpret the law. n LEGISLATIVE n n • Power is held by an assembly of elected people (can include appointed senators). • Function is to represent citizens and to act as intermediaries between citizens and government. • Discuss and pass laws, and act as a check on the executive branch. • Two types of assemblies: n n Unicameral – where people are represented by members who are elected in a representation by population system. Bicameral – where two assemblies are each based on different types of representations. House of Commons and Senate, one voted, when appointed.
THE POWERS OF GOVERNMENT n EXECUTIVE • Function of the executive is to govern according to laws passed by the legislative branch. n Executive is chosen from elected members of the legislative assembly. n Two ways of organizing executive power: • One Person Executive – USA. President is head of state and holds executive power. • Dual Executive – Canada and Great Britain. Two people share the duties. Prime Minister and the Monarch • Canada – Prime Minister and cabinet are elected members. • USA – president is elected, then appoints the cabinet. n JUDICIAL • Function is to interpret laws and to judge those who do not apply. • Handout 1 -8
Lesson #5 n n ELECTORAL PROCESS Majorityseats Government: more winning party a than any other parties combined. Minority seats, most. Government: the wins party a but less than the other parties combined. • Support from an opposition part is essential to keep a minority government in office. • Average length in office is less than a year and a half. n Coalition Government: two or more parties combining to form a government, usually within enough seats to form a majority. (1917 – 1921 Sir Robert Borden’s Union Government)
ELECTORAL PROCESS n n Canada has a parliamentary democracy where elections determine the members of Parliament. Political parties choose leaders whom they expect to make a good Prime Minister or Premier, if the party wins the election. Electoral process determines which political parties have representation and how much. Electoral boundaries constituencies. determine the size of
ELECTORAL PROCESS n FIXED ELECTION DATES • Canada bill C-16, received royal assessment in May 2007. Sets fixed election dates every 4 years, beginning October 19, 2009. • After each general election, the legislation sets the date of the following election for the 3 rd Monday in October, 4 years away. • Opposition parties still have the power to force an election earlier than the fixed date if a minority government is defeated in a confidence vote!! n ELECTORAL REFORM • First past the post – The candidate in an electoral district with the most votes wins the seat. • Proportional Representation - # of seats = the % of popular vote the party receives.
Class Work n Hand – out 1 – 9 • ABC’s of the Electoral Process. • www. nelson. com n Hand – out 1 – 10 • Branching Diagram.
Lesson #6 n n n FEDERAL ACCOUNTABILITY ACT Passed by Canada’s govn’t in December 2006. Objective was to solve the issues raised by the ‘sponsorship scandal’. Issue’s included: • Responsible and accountable spending by the government • Protection for government employees who blow the whistle on wrongdoing within Canada’s civil service. • More info about the activities of lobbyists (people who are paid to represent the interests of a particular group in society) • Read. Pg. 39 – Scandalous! Appalling! • Critical Thinking Challenge n n n Small groups, answer the question Handout 1 -11 Pg. 40 -41 Read and summarize the key points.
Lesson #7 MEDIA IN GOVERNMENT n n n n Media includes newspapers, magazines, film, radio, tv, internet, books and billboards. They deliver info to very large audiences. Media influences our personal understanding of the world and how it works. ALL MEDIA is created by people who interpret facts and tell a story. Politicians develop key messages for the media, which is controlled and communicated by them. Usually memorable quotes or slogans. Big challenge for the media is to get to the ‘truth’. Pg. 48 – Media Sources in Canada
LOBBYISTS n n A lobbyist is someone hired by a group to influence MP’s and government officials. Lobbyists must register with a Commissioner of Lobbyists, so everyone in Canada knows who they are. The Federal Accountability Act introduced rules that require lobbyists to document which MP’s they meet with. They are known as the “Watchdogs of politics”.
Class Work n n Read pg. 49 “Ho To Detect Bias? ” Class work 1 -12.