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The legislative branch consists of...
- House of Commons (all elected members of Parliment)
- Senate (appointed by the prime minister)
- Governor General (the Queen's representative)
- Its duty is to propose, amend, and pass laws in Canada
The executive branch consists of...
- Prime Minister
- Cabinet (a group of members of Parliment appointed by the PM to be responsible for specific areas/portfolios important to Canadians)
- Public service (consists of people employed by the government who are not elected and whose jobs generally do not change as a result of an election)
- Its duty is to carry out the laws passed by the legislative branch of the government, and is responsible for the daily duties of running the country and serving the interests of Canadians
The judicial branch consists of...
- Canada's courts (the superior provincial courts, the court of appeal, the Supreme Court, as well as other federal courts)
- This branch is kept completely seperate from the other branches in order to provide a check of powers on the executive and legislative branches
- It interprets laws made by the legislative branch to ensure the rights of Canadians are protected
How are laws passed in the Federal Political System?
- Laws are passed by the legislative branch
- A proposed bill (first reading) ~ MPs (second reading) ~ Senators (third reading) ~ Governor General (royal assent) ~Bill has become a law
- Presented as a bill to the House of Commons (goes through a first reading, where there is no debate or changes made)
- Bill enters the second reading, where the ideas behind the bill and its merits for Canadians are debated (vote on the bill, and it will either pass to the commitee stage or be rejected)
- at the committee stage, a small group of MPs work with citizens and other stakeholders or experts to decide if the bill should be ameded/changed and/or accepted or rejected
- The last phase is the third reading, where the House of Commons vote on the finalized bill
- The bill must go through a similar process in the Senate (may recommend more amendments to the bill, which the House of Commons will again debate and either accept or reject)
- After the bill has passed through the House of Commons and the Senate, it must be given royal assent by the Governor General (technically the Governor General does not have the power to block a bill from becoming a law)
- It becomes a law
What processes are used to determine the Members of Parliament and Senators?
- Parliment encompasses the House of Commons, the Senate and the monarch
- Members of Parliment: elected by the citizens through a process called "representation by population"
- Each party map have one candidate run in each riding, and the candidate who wins the most votes in each riding wins a seat in the House of Commons, and the party that wins the most seats forms the government
- Senators: appointed by the prime minister, and represent a variety of political parties (may retain their posts until the age of 75)
To whom are Members of Parliament and Senators accountable?
- They are both accountable to the citizens of Canada
- Members of Parliament: to the people who elected them in their constituency
- Senators: have a particular responsibility to minorities in Canada
What is the role of political parties in Canada's Federal Political System?
The role of political parties is to share their values and ideas (party's platform) about the best way to govern Canada.
What is the role of the media in relation to political issues?
- Media refers to the Internet, newspapers, television, radio, advertizing, and magazines
- Its role is to inform citizens about government ideas, actoins and decisions.
- It's very powerful and adept at influencing citizens' perspectives and beliefs about government or politics
How do lobby groups impact government decision-making?
- Lobby groups are organizations that work to influence government decisions about specific issues
- Lobby groups hire [lobbyists] to bring their issue to the forefront of the mind of Canadians, and they put pressure on the government to make policies that support their issues
- Lobby groups also use the media to influence public views about their issues and try to have the general population put pressure on the government to implement changes or introduce policies to support their goals
- Ex. lobby group (MADD) Mothers Against Drunk Driving
To what extent do political and legislative processes meet the needs of all Canadians?