January 20 2009 Chantal Gobin Grade 10 Civics 10 Final Summative Part A: Structure of Canadian Government There are many components to the Canadian government that work successfully, however certain sectors may benefit from improvement. Canada’s political system is based on that of the United Kingdom with representation of the Queen, which we know as the Governor General, and Parliament. Parliament consists of the Senate and the House of Commons. However, the Canadian Government is primarily run by the Prime Minister with support from his cabinet.
The Canadian government is a democratic system, which means that the citizens have the right to vote. At the time of confederation, the governor general was meant to represent the monarch and the British government. He or she was to work with the Canadian prime minister and help said person manage all international affair, as at the time Canada was a new nation. However, today the role has altered; their duties include receiving ambassadors, heads of states etc when they come to Canada as well as signing bills as they are passed by parliament.
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In addition the governor general plays many different ceremonial roles, such as summoning, opening and ending sessions in parliament. The role of the Governor General seems to exist only of the sake of tradition as well as to keep ties to Britain. However, Canada has evolved much past the point of having a British representative “baby sitting” our actions. The Governor General’s responsibilities are unnecessary; therefore this role should be abolished. As a result Canada will be looked upon as more independent by severing ties with Britain. The prime minister is the head of government.
This role differs from the one of the head of state in major ways. He or she come into power if the political party said person is representing has won the most seats in the House of Commons during a general election. The prime minister is the most powerful person in government; he or she controls their party, speaks for the government in power and appoints the cabinet members. As well, the prime minister is the only person who has the ability to ask the governor general to dissolve parliament or call an election. The cabinet is a group of ministers chosen by the prime minister to carryout day to day business.
Each member is assigned a responsibility for a specific area of government. Members for the cabinet are normally chosen from the House of Commons; however, it is not unheard of for senates to be chosen as members of the cabinet. There is not much to be said for this sector of Parliament, it is reasonable and hasn’t proven unsuccessful, for the Prime Minister to choose his Cabinet, and the responsibilities he or she holds are necessary to keep our country running successfully. The role of the Prime Minster is elected in a very intelligent way.
In America, the President directly elected, where as the prime minister is elected based on their representatives. In a federal election, voters vote for a representative from a party to the House of Commons. The party with the most votes becomes Prime Minister, even if it is not a majority. In that case, a minority government would come into place, this most frequently happens. That means that, while the party with the most votes still is the Prime Minister, the other parties who have won seats also have say in the government depending on the amount of seats won.
The voting system used allows voters to elect as representative in their riding, which lets them choose someone whose changes will happen “in their backyard” so to speak. Therefore, if they agree with the types of local changes being made chances are they would agree with the types of federal decisions made. This is a positive way of electing a Prime Minister for the additional reason that the needs of the voters in the Yukon Territories differ from that of a voter in Quebec for example. The only change that should be made is that the government should always be a minority.
Combined decision making, allows for all sides to have a say as well to have an array of Liberal, Conservative, and New Democratic decisions. Canada has a bicameral system, which means that there are two legislative parts, the House of Commons and the Senate. The senate is composed by members of parliament called senators. The senate’s role is to be the “sober second thought” which simply means that they have the second legislative review on government legislation and action. The senate has the ability to reject, offer amendments, or delay any bills with which a majority of its members disagree.
In theory the senate and the House of Commons are equal parts of the bicameral parliamentary system, however, in reality the House of Commons dominates legislative body in Canada’s Parliament. This is due to the fact that the house of commons is made up of elected MPs whereas the senate is made up of appointed senators. Therefore it is unofficially understood that the senate only veto’s or delays legislature in exceptional circumstance While having a “sober second thought” was an intelligent proposal because elected persons strive to please the voter, therefore the decisions they may agree to may not be in the interest of the country.
However, due to the fact that the Senates role is somewhat ignored, there is no reason to continue to have it. Therefore the power the Senate was meant to have should be reinstated. The Canadian parliamentary system is highly successful, even before the proposed improvements. Our system allows for fair and equal representation due to the voting system used. As well all passed legislature and major decisions made are subject to many steps of approval before being implicated. The citizens of Canada are extremely fortunate to live in this nation of freedom, where our well being and rights are priority.