Canada Primer p2: Canada, eh

Canada, aka Canuckistan, is a parliamentary representative democracy under a constitutional monarchy. Which is a really fancy way of saying we’re technically a monarchy, but the monarch’s influence on politics has been narrowly defined such that they have no real” power. All laws approved by the legislative body must be signed off by the monarch’s appointee, the Governor General.

We keep the Queen because she generates ~$50 million/year in tourist revenue, which is more than the allowance afforded to the Royal Family.

“Underneath” the monarchy is the legislative body with the real power. It is divided into two parts, the elected Parliament and the appointed Senate. Any law approved in Parliament has to also go through the Senate, at which point it is passed off to the Governor General. As both the Governor General and the Senate are appointed, rather than elected, they seldom oppose the direction of the Parliament. (If it sounds insane that two thirds of Canada’s legislative body is appointed, I agree!)

Parliament is elected with a similar First Past the Post system we discussed from the Alberta primer. The country is carved up into districts, also called ridings, and each riding corresponds to a seat in Parliament. A person who wins the riding is called a Member of Parliament (MP). Theoretically, it is the Governor General who selects the Prime Minister among the MPs, a person who “holds the confidence of Parliament.” In practice, it’s the party leader of the party that won the most seats that becomes Prime Minister.

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Canada Primer p1: Alberta, eh

The Canada Primer series is to help all the non-Canadians I’ve picked up over this year’s blogging get some context as to what arm-flailing inanity our right-wing has picked up from your right-wing. It might also be a good place for fellow Canucks to catch up or review.

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