Browse "Government"

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Macleans

Ottawa's Referendum Strategy

On a day when Premier Jacques Parizeau and more than 1,000 of his closest sovereigntist friends were meeting for an occasion they deemed "historic," the man most of them consider Quebec's constitutional devil incarnate was less than 25 km away, doing his best to ignore them.

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Peace, Order and Good Government

“Peace, order and good government” is a phrase that is used in section 91 of the British North America Act of 1867 (now called the Constitution Act, 1867). It offers a vague and broad definition of the Canadian Parliament’s lawmaking authority over provincial matters. Since Confederation, it has caused tensions between federal and provincial governments over the distribution of powers. The phrase has also taken on a value of its own with Canadians beyond its constitutional purpose. It has come to be seen as the Canadian counterpart to the American “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and the French “liberty, equality, fraternity.”

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Political Participation in Canada

Canadians participate in the political system any time they voluntarily try to influence the outcome of an election, or a government or party policy. This can be done in various ways, from voting to campaigning for a political cause to running for political office. The highest turnout rate for a federal election was 79.4 per cent in 1958. Voter turnout in Canada declined in the 1990s and 2000s, reaching 58.8 per cent in 2008. The numbers then began trending upwards, reaching 68.3 per cent in 2015 and 67 per cent in 2019. Women, who gained the right to vote federally in 1918, vote at slightly higher rates than men. Older citizens are more politically active than younger ones, although voting among people age 18 to 34 increased sharply between 2011 and 2019.

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Political Party Financing in Canada

The financial activities of political parties in Canada were largely unregulated until the Election Expenses Act was passed in 1974. Canada now has an extensive regime regulating federal political party financing; both during and outside of election periods. Such regulation encourages greater transparency of political party activities. It also ensures a fair electoral arena that limits the advantages of those with more money. Political parties and candidates are funded both privately and publicly. Election finance laws govern how parties and candidates are funded; as well as the ways in which they can spend money. (See also Canadian Electoral System.)

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Premier

A premier is the chief minister of a provincial government. Because of the shared framework of cabinet government, the office of provincial premier is similar to that held by Canada's Prime Minister.

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Prerogative Powers

Prerogative powers are defined as "the residue of discretionary or arbitrary authority which at any given time is legally left in the hands of the CROWN.

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Prime Minister of Canada

The prime minister (PM) is the head of the federal government. It is the most powerful position in Canadian politics. Prime ministers are not specifically elected to the position; instead, the PM is typically the leader of the party that has the most seats in the House of Commons. The prime minister controls the governing party and speaks for it; names senators and senior judges for appointment; and appoints and dismisses all members of Cabinet. As chair of Cabinet, the PM controls its agenda and greatly influences the activities and priorities of Parliament. In recent years, a debate has emerged about the growing power of prime ministers, and whether this threatens other democratic institutions.

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Privy Council

Privy Council is a common name for the Queen's Privy Council of Canada, established under the CONSTITUTION ACT, 1867, to advise the Crown.

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Provincial Government in Canada

Under Canada’s federal system, the powers of government are shared between the federal government and 10 provincial governments. The Constitution Act, 1867 granted specific jurisdiction to the provinces in 16 areas, compared to 29 for the federal government. However, provincial powers have expanded since then. Provinces can levy direct taxation and derive most of their non-tax revenue from the use of public lands and natural resources. Provincial governments in Canada are modelled on the British Westminster parliamentary tradition and reflect the principles of responsible government. They comprise an elected legislative assembly, from which a governing cabinet is selected by the premier. The lieutenant-governor assents to legislation as the representative of the Crown.

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Provincial Orders

On 9 May 1991 Provincial Orders were incorporated into the Order of Precedence for Canadian Orders, Declarations and Medals through Order in Council approved by the government of Canada.

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Public Administration

Public administration has no generally accepted definition. The scope of the subject is so great and so debatable that it is easier to explain than define. Public administration is both a field of study, or a discipline, and a field of practice, or an occupation.

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Public Service

The public service, also known as the civil service, is the public BUREAUCRACY comprising, in Canada, departmental organizations that support the political executive in the development, implementation and enforcement of government policies.

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Regional Government

Regional government is a structure created by the provinces, in particular Ontario, Québec and British Columbia, by which municipalities are grouped under a regional political and administrative structure.