The Branches of government

Report
The Branches of
government
The powers of Canada’s government are divided into
three branches:
•Legislative Branch
•has the power to make or change laws
•Executive Branch
•makes decisions and enforces them through
the civil service
•Judicial Branch
•interprets and administers the law
The Legislative Branch
This branch of government is made up of three parts:
House of Commons
Senate
Governor General
These three parts of the legislative branch make up
Canada’s Parliament.
What is the purpose of Parliament?
Parliament meets at least once a year in a session.
During each session, Parliament
passes new laws
changes or removes old laws
debates issues that are important to
Canadians
To fully understand how parliament works, we need to
take a closer look at each of its three components...
The House of Commons (Lower
House)
This is the only part of Parliament that is
democratically elected.
The people who sit in the House of Commons are
called Members of Parliament (MPs).
HOW DO MPS GET THEIR
JOBS?
 MPs are elected (every five years).
 Each MP comes from a different riding.
• Canada is divided into 308 ridings, each
representing approximately 100,000 people.
 Ridings are also known as electoral districts or
constituencies.
Ridings in BC
Ridings by Province
Alberta
BC
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland
NWT
Nova Scotia
Nunavut
Ontario
PEI
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Yukon
28
36
14
10
7
1
11
1
106
4
75
14
1
WHAT DO MPS DO IN THE HOUSE
OF COMMONS?
 MPs usually sit with and vote with their party.
 Discuss and vote on all the new laws.
The governing party (party in power) is the party that has the
most seats (MPs) in the House of Commons. Leader = Prime
Minister.
 The Prime Minister is also an MP. The PM chooses the most
important MPs from his party to become part of his Cabinet.
 The PM and the Cabinet come up with most new bills that
are proposed in Parliament.
 The MPs who belong to the other parties make up the
opposition.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE
OPPOSITION?
The second largest party = Official
Opposition. Leader is known as the Official
Leader of the Opposition.
The main job of the opposition is to
scrutinize all decisions made by the
government.
DO MPS HAVE TO VOTE WITH
THEIR PARTY?
Usually YES!
Every political party holds meetings of its MPs in which
they discuss their opinions freely. These closed door
meetings are called a caucus.
Once decisions are made in caucus, ALL of the MPs are
expected to vote in favour of them in the House of
Commons.
If MPs do not follow the party line, they risk being kicked
out of the party!
HOWEVER...
Sometimes there are free votes in the House of
Commons.
In such cases, MPs are free to vote as they wish.
Situations where free vote may occur involve
debates on controversial topics such as gay
marriage, abortion, capital punishment...
The Senate
(Upper House)
This is the second house of Parliament
The people who sit in the Senate are called
Senators.
How do Senators get
their jobs?
Senators are NOT elected. They are appointed by the
Governor General after being recommended by the
Prime Minister.
Senators keep their position until they retire (age 75)
or die.
Usually, Prime Ministers fill empty seats in the Senate
with supporters of their own party. This is called
patronage.
Senators at work
Result of Patronage:
People argue that positions in the Senate are given to
people the PM likes people the PM likes as opposed to
those who are best qualified.
This is one of the main reasons why many Canadians
support the idea of abolishing the Senate.
What do Senators
do?
Senators basically do the same thing in the Senate that the MPs
do in the House of Commons.
A bill cannot be turned into law unless both the Senate and the
House of Commons have passed it.
The main difference between the two Houses are
Senators cannot propose money bills
The Senate represents regions as opposed to
populations
Province or Territory
Number of Senators
Population per Senator
(2006 census)
British Columbia
Alberta
Ontario
Quebec
Manitoba
Saskatchewan
Nova Scotia
6
6
24
24
6
6
10
685,581
548,391
506,678
314,422
191,400
161,359
91,346
Newfoundland and
Labrador
6
84,244
New Brunswick
10
72,999
Northwest Territories
1
41,464
Prince Edward Island
4
33,962
Yukon Territory
Nunavut
Total/Average
1
1
105
30,372
29,474
301,075
So what is the purpose of the
Senate?
To provide “sober second thought” to any decisions
made by the democratically elected House of Commons.
To be more representative of regions with smaller
populations.
The Governor General
The Governor General is the Queen’s representative in
Canada.
He or she is appointed by the Prime Minister.
A Governor General normally serves for 5 years.
What does the Governor
General Do?
Gives formal assent (royal assent) to any bill passed by
Parliament.
After the Governor General gives formal assent, the
bill becomes a law.
The Governor General also ensures that the
government abides by the Constitution and opens each
session of Parliament with a speech.
The Executive Branch
This branch of government is made up of four parts:
Governor General
Prime Minister
Cabinet
Civil Service (Public Service / Bureaucracy)
What is the role of the
Executive Branch?
To make decisions and make sure that they are
carried out through the civil service.
Example:
The Provincial government decides how many
provincial exams you must write.
The people who run your school make sure
that you actually write them.
So what does each part of the
Executive Branch do?
The Governor General has the simplest job:
Gives formal assent to bills, making them laws that
must be enforced.
What does the PM do?
The Prime Minister has a number of roles to play in
Canada’s government:
Is the leader of the political party with the most seats
in the House of Commons
After an election, is asked by the Governor General to
become Prime Minister
The Prime Minister is the Head of
Government:
As head of government, the PM
Asks the Governor General to name new judges and
senators
 Decides when to ask the Governor General to call an
election
Chooses Cabinet Ministers
Has final say in creating the policies of the
government
The Prime Minister is the
Leader of the Nation:
As leader of the nation, the PM
Explains the goals of the government to the people
Addresses Canadians on important issues
Represents Canada on trips to other nations
Works with premiers to coordinate federal / provincial
responsibilities
The Prime Minister is the Leader of
his Political Party:
As leader of his party, the PM
Acts as spokesperson for his party
Gives patronage appointments
Leads other party members in Parliament
What is the Cabinet?
The cabinet is made up of MPs chosen by the PM.
Members of the cabinet are known as Cabinet
Ministers
Each cabinet minister is responsible for one cabinet
department
Examples:
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Minister of Finance
Minister of Defence
Minister of Fisheries
How does a PM select
Cabinet Ministers?
The PM has to consider a number of factors:
The cabinet must make the different regions of
Canada feel as though they are fairly represented.
The cabinet must make the different ethnic, linguistic
and social groups in Canada feel as though they are
fairly represented.
The cabinet must be made up of people who are
capable, trustworthy and loyal to their leader.
What do Cabinet Ministers do?
They help to form government policy for the
department they are in charge of.
They are free to express their opinions behind closed
doors, but in public their job is to show full support for
the decisions of the government – this is the principle of
Cabinet Solidarity.
Solidarity is ensured by one MP of the party who has
the role of Party Whip.
What do Cabinet Ministers do?
They help to form government policy for the
department they are in charge of.
They are free to express their opinions behind closed
doors, but in public their job is to show full support for
the decisions of the government – this is the principle of
Cabinet Solidarity.
Solidarity is ensured by one MP of the party who has
the role of Party Whip.
What happens after the Governor
General, the PM, and the Cabinet have
made their decisions?
 They get the civil service to put their decisions into
practice.
What is the civil service?
Everyone who is employed by the government is part
of the civil service. They are the people who perform
the ongoing business of government.
This includes teachers, fire fighters, police, the
military, ambassadors, tax collectors...
The civil service is also known as the public service or
the bureaucracy.
Civil Servants do many things:
Gather statistics
Advise cabinet ministers (deputy ministers)
Write details for new laws
Represent Canada in other countries
Collect taxes
Inspect food
Deliver mail...
ASSIGNMENT
• Prepare a job advertisement for one of the
following positions: Governor General, Prime
Minister, Cabinet Minister, or Senator.
• Include:
– a brief job description
– personal qualities that are necessary for the job
– work experiences that are necessary for the job

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