• Constitutional Monarchy = Head of State is a hereditary Sovereign (Queen or King), who reigns in accordance with the Constitution: the rule of law
  • Governor General represents the sovereign | Appointed by the sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister for 5 years
  • Lieutenant Governor represents the sovereign in provinces | Appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister for 5 years
  • Branches of government = Executive, Legislative and Judicial
  • Members of the legislature are called Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) OR Members of National Assembly (MNAs) OR Members of the Provincial Parliament (MPPs) OR Members of the House of Assembly (MHAs) depending on the province
  • Premier = Head of provincial government
  • Commissioner = Plays a ceremonial role in the territories
  • Municipal (local) government led by Mayor or Reeve | Councillors or Aldermen. Takes care of snow removal, policing, Firefighting, Emergency services etc.
  • First Nations have band chiefs and councillors who have major responsibilities on First Nations reserves, including housing, schools and other services
  • Federal elections must be held on the third Monday in October every four years
  • The Prime Minister may ask the Governor General to call an earlier election.
  • 308 electoral districts in Canada (also called ridings / constituencies)
  • An electoral district is represented by a MP
  • Canadian citizens who are 18 years old or older may run in a federal election
  • The people in each electoral district vote for the candidate and political party of their choice. The candidate who receives the most votes become the MP for that electoral district.
  • To vote in federal election or a cast ballot in federal referendum, one must be:
  • a Canadian citizen; and
  • at least 18 years old on voting day; and
  • on the voters’ list.
  • Voter information card = lists when and where you vote and the number to call if you require an interpreter or other special services.
  • Secret Ballot = his means that no one can watch you vote and no one should look at how you voted. You may choose to discuss how you voted with others, but no one has the right to insist that you tell them how you voted.
  • Voter information card = This confirms that your name is on the voters’ list and states when and where you vote
  • I did not get a card = call your local elections office OR call Elections Canada, in Ottawa, at 1-800-463-6868
  • Advance poll and special ballot = If you cannot or do not wish to vote on election day, you can vote at the advance polls or by special ballot
  • On election day = Go to your polling station + Bring voter card and proof of identity and address to the polling station
  • Marking the ballot = Mark an “X” in the circle next to the name of the candidate of your choice
  • Voting is secret = Your vote is secret. You will be invited to go behind the screen to mark your ballot. Once marked, fold it and present it to the poll officials.
  • The ballot box = The poll official will tear off the ballot number and give your ballot back to you to deposit in the ballot box
  • The election results = every ballot is counted and the results are made public
  • After election, political party with the most seats in the House of Commons is invited by the Governor General to form the government. Leader of this party becomes PM.
  • If party in power holds less than 50% of seats in house of commons, it is called minority government. Otherwise, it is called Majority government.
  • If a majority of the members of the House of Commons vote against a major government decision, party in power is defeated, PM asks Governor general to call an election
  • PM chooses ministers of the crown (most of them from house of commons).
  • PM + Cabinet Ministers = Cabinet
  • Opposition parties = Parties not in power
  • Role of opposition parties = Peacefully oppose / try to improve government proposals
  • Conservative party, Liberal party and New Democratic party = Represented in House of Commons
  • Justice system founded on the presumption of innocence in criminal matters, meaning everyone is innocent until proven guilty.
  • The courts settle disputes and the police enforce the laws
  • The law in Canada applies to everyone, including judges, politicians and the police.
  • The Supreme Court of Canada is our country’s highest court.
  • Federal Court of Canada deals with matters concerning the federal government
  • In most provinces there is an appeal court and a trial court, sometimes called the Court of Queen’s Bench or the Supreme Court
  • There are also provincial courts for lesser offences, family courts, traffic courts and small claims courts for civil cases involving small sums of money
  • The police are there to keep people safe and to enforce the law
  • You can ask the police for help in all kinds of situations
  • There are provincial police forces in Ontario and Quebec and municipal police departments in all provinces
  • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) enforce federal laws throughout Canada, and serve as the provincial police in all provinces and territories except Ontario and Quebec
  • You can also question the police about their service or conduct if you feel you need to
  • Lawyers can help you with legal problems and act for you in court. If you cannot pay for a lawyer, in most communities there are legal aid services available free of charge or at a low cost.

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