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Why do we need to learn about our Government?
Why do we need to learn about our Government? Ø “We cannot work or eat or drink; we cannot buy or sell or own anything; we cannot go to a ball game or a hockey game or watch TV without feeling the effects of government. We cannot marry or educate our children, cannot be sick, born or buried without the hand of government somewhere intervening. ” - Senator Eugene Forsey
What is a Government? original sense of the word “government, ” as its roots in both Greek and Latin mean “to steer. ” Ø A government is the way a group of people come together to organize their affairs and decide how to get things done Ø
Canada’s Government Canada is a democratic country meaning the government is elected by the people Ø We have municipal governments (cities), provincial governments, and the federal Government (the entire country’s government) Ø Main roles of the federal government include: defence, criminal law, postal service, trade regulation, external relations, money and banking, transportation, citizenship, and Indian affairs. Ø
Chapter 1 How Effectively does Canada’s Federal Political System govern Canada for all Canadians? Prime Minister Liberal Leader NDP Leader Stephen Harper Justin Trudeau Thomas Mucair Bloc Quebecois Leader Green Party Leader Daniel Paille Elizabeth May
Create a KWL chart in your notes about Canada’s Federal System K= “What do I know about Canada’s Federal Government? ” Ø W= “What do I want to learn about Canada’s Federal System? ” Ø L= “What I learned about Canada’s Federal System Ø K What do I know about Canada’s about Canada’ Federal Government? W What do I want to learn about Canada’s Federal Canada’ System? L What I learned about Canada’s Federal Canada’ System
Walk In Assignment If you were old enough to vote in the next election (October 19, 2015), what would be the most important issues to you that you would want the Federal government to address and why? Ø After writing your response in complete sentences, rank order your top 5 priorities for the Federal government in this election.
Focus Questions of this Chapter Ø What is the structure of Canada’s federal political system? Ø How do bills become laws? Ø How do the media connect Canadians to their government? Ø What do lobbyists do?
Read Intro to Chapter 1 as a class page 16 Ø After reading the intro get into groups of 2 and create a chart to organize your thoughts during the group discussion. Complete the chart in point form. ”What challenges does the government of Canada have when they make decisions that reflect the needs of all Canadians? ”
Possible Group Responses Ø Ø Ø It is impossible to govern to all Canadians. The government is likely to make decisions that represent the majority opinion. They Govern to the majority so they get re-elected. The decisions that governments make will never please every single Canadian; all Canadians have different POINTS OF VIEW…therefore not everyone will be satisfied with government decision making. The government is in office for 4 years at a time…in this time they cannot possibly deal with all the concerns that Canadians have. The government is located in Ottawa so they may not be in touch with what is happening is all parts of Canada. Some voters feel “left out” of the political process even though they have the right to vote. If the government has a minority in the House of Commons, they may having difficulty passing legislation for fear that opposition parties will vote against them in the House of Commons (This is called a non-confidence vote). If this happens the Prime Minister would be forced to call an election before they are ready for one.
Critical Thinking Challenge Ø Look at the pictures on page 17 in your textbook. To what extent might the different experiences of the Canadians on this page affect their views or perspectives?
The Three Branches of the Canadian Federal Government
CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY Add term to Glossary Ø 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.
Canada’s Constitution Is the written law that describes all governance in Canada Ø It sets out the role of the governor general and the different roles of the three branches of government: Ø • Executive • Legislative • Judicial Ø Also sets out other important institutions in Canada See Cartoon pg. 21
Governor General Ø 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 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 act on the advice of the prime minister or premier of the province. Ø No bill gets passed in either parliament or a provincial legislature without ROYAL ASSENT- from the Governor General or Lieutenant Governor. Ø
What is the structure of Canada’s federal political system? The Queen The Executive Branch The Legislative Branch The Judicial Branch
The Executive Branch THE PART OF GOVERNMENT RESPONSIBLE FOR PUTTING LAWS INTO ACTION Ø Includes: • The Prime Minister (PM) - head of Canada’s government • The Cabinet - made up of leaders of different government departments or agencies (also called portfolios) - They are MP’s or Senators that are chosen by the Prime Minister (moving away from Senators in cabinet – Senate scandals) • Governor General
Steven Harper’s Cabinet
Walk in Assignment What factors do you think the prime minister takes into account when appointing the members of cabinet? Tip: Look on page 25 at the list of portfolios that cabinet ministers have. What kind of experience do you think cabinet ministers need to do their jobs?
Walk in Assignment As Prime Minister, how could you use cabinet positions to respond to issues about government that concern Canadians?
The Executive Branch Ø Role: • • • Proposes most laws Puts laws into action Runs the day-to-day business of government See Cartoon pg. 23
The Legislative Branch AKA - Canada’s Parliament THE PART OF GOVERNMENT THAT MAKES LAWS Ø Includes: • House of Commons - the major law making body. They debate, study and vote on laws called BILLS. Made up of elected MP’s (Members of Parliament) • Senate - represent the interests and rights of Canada’s regions, and especially Canada’s minorities. The Senate’s job is to give “sober second thought” to a bill from the HOC. They pretty much do what the House of Commons does all over again. Also, the Senate can propose laws, but this rarely occurs. • Governor General - represents Britain’s Monarch in Canada
The House of Commons Ø Is made up of 308 elected Members of Parliament (338 in 2015 election) Is the principal law making body in Canada Ø 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 Ø
The Legislative Branch Important things to remember: Queen’s role as head of state is to give Royal Assent to the laws being passed, either directly or through Governor General or Lieutenant Governor. Ø The Prime Minister (PM) is the leader of the political party that wins the most seats in the HOC and can form the government. Ø Canadians do not vote for or against a PM, Canadians vote for the various representatives of the various political parties (MP – Member of Parliament). Ø
House of Commons in Session
The Legislative Branch Ø Role: • Makes laws • Represents the interests and rights of Canada’s regions. See Cartoon pg. 26 Why might the role of the Senate to represent minorities be important to governance in Canada?
HOC vs. Senate HOC -can -Elected propose laws -Lower House -Representation by Population -Appointed -Upper House -Representation by region
By the Numbers HOC Standing (Member of Parliament – MP) ØConservative Party 162 ØNew Democrat Party 100 ØLiberal Party 34 ØBloc Quebecois 5 ØGreen Party 1 ØIndependent 2 ØVacant seats 4 TOTAL 308 Senate Standing ØConservative Party ØLiberal Party ØIndependent ØVacant seats TOTAL New for the 2015 Election The Fair Representation Act introduces a new formula that would expand the House of Commons from 308 to 338 seats, based on existing population estimates that show growth in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, which would gain more influence in the new Parliament. 60 33 6 (Brazeau, Cools, Duffy, Mc. Coy, Rivest, Wallin) 6 BC(1), Manitoba (2), Ontario (2), Quebec (1) 105
Members of Parliament MP’S Ø Read page 29 -30 in your text and answer the following questions. 1. What are the 2 key roles of MP’S? Look at the graph and map on page 30, and respond to the question: 2. “What if the votes in the 2006 election had been counted by popular vote instead of by riding? How would the way Albertans are represented in the House of Commons be different?
Answer to Question #2 Ø In the 2006 election all of Alberta’s 28 ridings were won by the Conservative Party. If the election was determined by popular vote, then other political parties would have won seats in Alberta.
Walk in Assignment If you were prime minister, to what extent would you work with the opposition?
The Judicial Branch THE PART OF GOVERNMENT THAT INTERPRETS AND APPLIES THE LAW BY MAKING LEGAL JUDGEMENTS Ø Includes: l ALL Canada’s Courts of Law (Supreme and Provincial/Territorial Courts) • The Supreme Court is the highest (most powerful) - it has the final word on all legal questions in the country. Ø Role: l l l To apply and interpret laws Acts as a “check” on the power of the executive and legislative branches of government. Ensures that the rights of Canadians are protected. See Cartoon pg. 34
Supreme Court and its Judges