The government of Canada comprises of a set of institutions and is a common authority which governs the country. The Crown, represented by the monarch, has sovereign authority and shares it with various institutions of governance. The country is a constitutional monarchy, and the Queen-in-Council acts as the executive, the Queen-in-Parliament is the legislature, while the Queen-on-the Bench represents the court system. The enactment of letters patent, laws, and orders-in council necessitates Royal Assent as well as royal sign-manual.
The Crown appoints a prime minister who heads the Cabinet. The current head of government and prime minister is Stephen Harper. Key priorities of the government are stimulating the economy, supporting communities and families, balancing budgets, and working toward long-term priorities. These include strengthening the country’s economic union, asserting Canada’s sovereignty in the Arctic, improving product and food safety regulations, and more.
The legislative power is vested in the bicameral legislature, which is situated in Canada’s capital Ottawa. The legislature comprises of two structures – the Senate and the House of Commons. On the advice of the prime minister, the governor general appoints the members of the Senate or the upper house. The senators deliberate on a variety of issues and assess the impact of different measures and policies on the territories and provinces. The committees invite territories and provinces to make presentation in case bills are examined, which have a particular significance to them. The members of the lower house or the House of Commons are directly elected by the Canadian voters. The members of parliament make laws by debating and voting on bills. The parliament can pass laws that relate to banking, bankruptcy, patents, copyrights, shipping, the military, fishing, naturalization, and more. Other issues are within the authority of the provincial governments (e.g. regulating agriculture, taxes, etc). The House of Commons is where members of parliament can deliberate on national, regional, and local problems and issues. They present petitions, ask questions, and make statements as to represent the views of their constituents. Law making is supported by the work of committees.
MPs examine various issues, from the federal departments’ spending plans to health and finance. Members of parliament can participate in more than one committee. They also travel across Canada to speak with their constituents. In addition, MPs help people with questions about income tax, pensions, and anything the federal government is responsible for.
The sovereign safeguards justice for all citizens but does not review judicial cases in person. Canada’s court of last resort is the Supreme Court of Canada, and the Federal Court is below it within the justice system. The Supreme Court hears appeals, and the Federal Court handles cases that arise under different areas of federal legislation. The provincial governments and the federal government have authority over Canada’s judicial system. The provincial governments make sure justice is rendered in the provinces by maintaining civil and criminal courts. There are currently some 750 court locations in Canada.