Politics in Canada

Politics in Canada – a stable, democratic system plus Queen

Canada, in accordance with its Constitution (1982), is a parliamentary monarchy with federal structures (federal, provincial, municipal). The seat of government is located in the Canadian capital Ottawa. The federal parliament is the actual instance of legislation. Queen Elizabeth II is the nominal head of state of Canada. Your representative in Canada is the Governor-General. While the tasks of the Governor-General are more formal, the Prime Minister has governmental responsibility. The Canadian Parliament consists of the “House of Commons” and the Senate, whose senators are appointed by the Prime Minister. The 295 members of the lower house are elected based on the majority system. The term of office of the Parliament is set at four years. The Canadian legal system is based on the Common Law of England. The civil law of Quebec, however, is based on French law. The state of Canada consists of ten provinces and three territories (Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon). Canada policy is promoting Canada’s attractiveness not only for tourists but also for investors.

Canada – from a British colony to the sovereign state

In a not-always-easy-to-vote with the UK, politics in Canada has managed to evolve from a colony to Dominion status to an autonomous state. In 1867, the first constitution of Canada emerged as part of the “British North America Act.” In those days, constitutional amendments had to be authorized by the British Parliament. In 1982, Canadian policy was given the right to formulate its own constitution. This independence is considered a great merit of the French-Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (1968 to 1984). Politics in Canada, as well as political debates, are determined by different regions, sometimes with different interests. This often made it difficult for the parties to find majorities.

The Canadian Parliament – the basis for a democratic policy in Canada

Politics in Canada and the federal parliament in Ottawa are based on democratic elections. All citizens older than 18 have the right to vote. Women have been eligible to vote since 1918. Inuit did not get the suffrage until 1960. The members of the “House of Commons” are elected. The Prime Minister is a member of the lower house and head of the majority-elected ruling party in parliament. If neither party reaches an absolute majority, the leader of the largest party becomes prime minister. The Canadian Prime Minister has the power to appoint members of his government and senior officials. He also appoints the 112 Senate members, representing the provinces. Currently, supporters of a reform of the Senate demand that the senators are elected. The governor-general has no influence on government affairs and active politics in Canada. It merely initiates the term of government officials and invites the chairman of the majority party to form the government (Cabinet). The Governor-General is authorized by the Prime Minister to appoint the Supreme Court judges.

The components of the federalist system – the federal government, provinces, and municipalities

The Canadian Constitution assigns to federal government the tasks of national relevance to policy in Canada, such as national security, foreign and trade relations, immigration, the media, and finance. For some issues, such as immigration policy and agricultural issues, conflicts of interest often arise between the federal government and the provinces. Yukon and the Northwest Territories are not provinces. They are directly subordinate to the federal government. Local councils realize local self-government. The semi-autonomous Nunavut, formed during the division of the Northwest Territories in 1999, is a region for the Inuit (indigenous people).

According to the Provincial Organization, the “Lieutenant Governor” represents the English Queen on the spot. Premier becomes the leader of the party with the most seats in the parliamentary election. The provinces do not have a senate but a chamber, the “Legislative Assembly.” Their responsibilities include the provincial constitution, provincial taxation, criminal and property rights, public land tenure, and its resources. The communities are controlled by an elected council, a parliament, and a mayor.

The political party landscape in Canada

The politics in Canada started with two parties, comparable to the USA and England. Still, the Conservative Party (CP) and the Liberal Party (LPC), with a more social democratic orientation, are the main political groups. One party formed the ruling party, the other party was in opposition, supplemented by occasional coalition and Union governments.

In 1920, a new party appeared suddenly, the Progressive Party, which represented the interests of the farmers against the industrial primacy, but held only briefly. In 1944 it was already dissolved again.

The Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) was founded as a workers’ party in 1932 as a result of the Great Depression. After a defeat, she joined in 1958 with the Canadian Labor Congress and formed the New Democratic Party. The NDP pursues mainly socialist goals.

In the 1935 elections, the social credits came up and upheld the postulate of the “social dividend” (profit made evenly among the population). She had because of the tax sovereignty of the federal no lasting opportunity. All provinces and territories send a democratically elected representative to the Federal Parliament in Ottawa.

Currently, the strongest parties, the Conservative Party of Canada, as well as the Liberal Party of Canada determine the political. Nevertheless, the New Democratic Party has grown in popularity in 2011. Other smaller opposition parties include the Green Party of Canada and the Bloc Quebecois.

The structures of politics in Canada are unmistakably based on the political system of Britain’s “classic Westminster model.” But autonomous Canada has long been a member of NATO and one of the G-8’s co-determinants of global trade agreements.

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