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HOW EFFECTIVELY

DOES CANADA’S
FEDERAL POLITICAL
SYSTEM GOVERN
CANADA FOR ALL
CANADIANS?

IMAGINE IF YOU WILL…
• You and a group of people
are on a cruise ship in the
pacific ocean.
• A storm hits, and the ship
begins to go down. You and
a few others escape into a
life boat
• Your boat washes up on the
rocky shore of a deserted
island. The rocks tear up
your boat
• You explore and discover
that the island has both
food, water.

With a small group
• List 3 decisions that would have
to be made within the 1st day
on the island
• How will you select a leader?
Explain the process
• Who is your leader?
• Make a list of 5 rules that will
allow you all to live in peace
and harmony.
• How did you decide the rules?
• What happens to those that
break the rules?

HOW EFFECTIVELY DOES CANADA’S
FEDERAL POLITICAL SYSTEM
GOVERN CANADA FOR ALL
CANADIANS?
Key Terms:
• Govern: to make
decisions as a government
and put decisions into
action
• Governance: the process
of governing
• Government: the body
(persons or person) with
the power to make
decisions for a society

On a loose leaf of paper record
answers to the following:

EVERYTHING
YOU WANTED
TO KNOW
ABOUT CANADA
BUT WERE
AFRAID TO ASK

• Who is Canada’s head of
State?
• Who is Canada’s head of
Government?
• How old is Canada?
• What kind of government
does Canada have?
• How is a prime minister
elected in Canada?
• What does MP stand for?
Watch the following video to
find the answers

WHAT IS THE STRUCTURE OF
CANADA’S FEDERAL POLITICAL
SYSTEM?
In order to answer this question we must look at
a few different areas:
• Head of State
• The Canadian Constitution
• Three Branches of Government:
• Executive
• Legislative
• Judicial

WHO IS CANADA’S
HEAD OF STATE?
• The Monarch (currently Queen
Elizabeth II)
• Britain’s king or queen is the
formal head of state in Canada,
but does not play an active
role in Canadian government.
• Represented in Canada by the
governor general.
• The governor general is
appointed by the monarch on
the advice of the prime
minister of Canada.
• Our current governor general is
Gary Johnston.

WHAT DOES THE
CANADIAN
CONSTITUTION DO?
Canada’s constitution is the
law that describes
governance in Canada.
It sets out the role of the
governor general and the
three branches of
government
It describes how the three
branches of government
work together
It sets out other important
institutions like the Charter of
rights and freedoms.

EXECUTIVE BRANCH
Break it down to understand what it means. Look for
connected words.
• Execute – to carry out, or put into effect of a plan or
course of action. (e.g To execute a flight maneuver.)
• Execution – the act of carrying out or putting into
effect a plan or course of action (e.g. the execution
of a death sentence.)
• Executive – having the power to carry out or put into
effect a plan or course of action (e.g. a business
executive who makes decisions for her company.)

EXECUTIVE BRANCH
Prime Minister:
• Head of government and head of
the executive branch
• Runs day to day business of the
government
• To become PM you must be
elected as leader of a political
party and the party you lead
must win the most seats in the
house of commons.
• Selects portfolios for the cabinet
• Selects cabinet ministers, who
are then appointed by the
governor general.

THE CABINET:
• Includes people with responsibility for different government
departments and agencies known as portfolios.
• Members of cabinet are called cabinet ministers.
• The cabinet proposes most of the ideas that become law

MINISTERS AND PORTFOLIOS
• Cabinet ministers are responsible for governing their specific
ministries, this is called their portfolio.
• Ministries are organizations that manage the many responsibilities
of the government.
• There are currently 39 Cabinet ministers with portfolios ranging from
Aboriginal Affairs, Defense and Justice to Multiculturalism and Sport

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
Break it down to understand what it means, and
look for connected words:
• Legal – means things having to do with law or
things allowed by law.
• Legislate – to make or enact laws, to decide
what is allowed (or not allowed)
• Legislative – the power to make or enact laws.

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
• The branch of government responsible for
making laws is made up of three parts:
• The governor general – who we previously
discussed, and who signs bills into law.
• The House of Commons
• The Senate

THE HOUSE OF
COMMONS
• The House of Commons is the major lawmaking body in Canada’s federal political
system.
• Its members debate, study, and vote on laws
proposed for Canada, called bills
• Members of Parliament, or MPs, are the
members of the House of Commons. Voters
elect them.
• Each MP represents the voters of one riding,
or district. There are 282 ridings in Canada in
2013, and therefore 282 MPs in the House of

THE HOUSE OF
COMMONS
• Most of the MPs belong to a political party
• The political party with the most MPs in the
house of commons gets to form (lead) the
government. The other parties form the
opposition
• The House of Commons is represented, or
distributed by population.
• This means that each riding is roughly equal
in population, and that each MP represents
about the same number of people.

WHAT IS A POLITICAL
PARTY?
Political Parties
A political party is a group of people who have
similar ideas about how government should
respond to issues facing society. Political parties
are formally recognized as organizations. They
put forward candidates in elections and seek to
form government.
Conservative Party of Canada
Stephen Harper

Liberal Party of Canada
Justin Trudeau
New Democrat Party of Canada:
Thomas Mulcair
Green Party of Canada
Elizabeth May

THE SENATE
• Is the second law making body in the Canadian
federal government.
• Is designed to be a check and balance to the
powers of House of Commons.
• Often called the chamber of “sober second
thought”
• Has the power to change or veto legislation, but
uses this power rarely.
• Is made up of appointed senators from the major
regions of Canada.

THE JUDICIAL
• Also called the Supreme Court of Canada
• The highest court in the land, it makes decisions on
cases which have been appealed in lower courts, or
where cases involve the constitution.
• There are nine Justices (judges) on the supreme court.
• The supreme court has the power to throw out laws if
they violate (go against) the Constitution, or the
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
• Recent examples of this are rulings on prostitution,
and medical marihuana.

EXAMINE THE
STRUCTURE
• Google and Solve the “
Parliamentary Puzzle”
• Create a diagram on
your page like the
parliamentary puzzle,
with sections to take
notes on each of the
parts of Canada’s
federal government.
Make sure you show
how the Judicial branch
fits into the picture
• Monarch, Executive,
Legislative, Judicial etc.

• Using the information in
the Parliamentary Puzzle,
and on the
Parliament website. Take
detailed notes on each of
the parts listed above. You
can also find information
in your text on pages 22,
24, 27, 31, 35.
• Go over the diagram you
have created and add
colors and images to
show what each part does
and how they are related

HOW EFFECTIVELY
DOES CANADA’S
FEDERAL POLITICAL
SYSTEM GOVERN
CANADA FOR ALL
CANADIANS?

THE LEGISLATIVE
PROCESS
How do we get from an idea to
a law?

EXAMINE THE
LEGISLATIVE PROCESS
• Use your own device or partner with a friend
and read through the “Follow that Bill” slides
on the parliament web page.
• When you are done think:
• Why does a bill get read so many times?
• What are some advantages to the way that a bill is
processed?
• What are some disadvantages to the way a bill is
processed?
• To what extent does the legislative process meet
the needs of all Canadians?

HOW DOES A BILL
BECOME A LAW?
• When an idea for a law
gets formally written up
and introduced to one
of the houses of
parliament it becomes a
bill.
• A bill must first be
approved by both
houses of parliament,
the upper house (the
Senate) and the lower
house (the House of
Commons)

• After a bill has been
debated, amended and
approved in both houses
it goes to the Governor
General, who then signs
it into law. This is called
Royal Assent
• Once a bill becomes law,
all Canadians must obey
it, and it will be enforced
by the police and the
courts (Judicial Branch)

INTRODUCING A BILL
• A bill can be introduced
into either the House of
Commons or the Senate.
• In the House of Commons
a bill can be introduced
by the executive, through
the Prime Minister or one
of the Cabinet Ministers.
• Or, any Member of
Parliament can also
introduce a bill. Private
member bills are less
likely to pass

• Senators may introduce
bills into the Senate, as
long as the bill has
nothing to do with taxes
or spending money.
• The bill will go through
the same process in
either house, starting
with the house where it
is introduced.

FIRST HOUSE
• Once a bill is introduced into one of the
houses of parliament it must go through the
following stages




First Reading
Second Reading
Committee Stage
Report Stage
Third Reading

• This process can take many months

FIRST READING
• The First reading is an opportunity for MPs (or
Senators) to review the bill.
• It is read in parliament but there is no debate
or vote at this stage.
• MPs/Senators will discuss the bill outside of
parliament to see where their political party
stands on the issue.

SECOND READING
• The bill is read for a second time to the house
• There is then debate and discussion around
the bill. MPs or senators share their
perspectives and points of view on whether
the proposed bill is in the best interests of all
Canadians.
• Finally a vote is held on the bill. At this point
the bill can either be
• Sent to committee to be studied. Or,
• Rejected. Game over this bill will not become
law.

COMMITTEE STAGE
• If the bill is accepted at the second reading a committee is
struck (created) to study the bill in detail.
• The committee is made up of MPs or Senators and hears from
a variety of experts, concerned citizens and other witnesses.
• Based upon the testimony of the witnesses the committee
creates and submits a report to the house.
• The committee recommends one of three things:
• Accept the bill as it is
• Accept the bill with minor changes called amendments
• Reject the bill altogether

• The house usually accepts the recommendation

REPORT STAGE
• The committee’s report is submitted to
parliament.
• There is then a debate and vote on each of
the individual amendments
• Once there are no more amendments to be
added or voted on the bill will move the the
Third Reading

THIRD READING
• When the bill is read for the third time, it is debated
one more time, and voted on.
• No amendments can be added at this stage.
• If the bill does not pass this vote it is rejected and
will not become law.
• If the bill passes this vote it is sent to the next
house of parliament
• Bills can go from House of Commons to the Senate
or vice versa, depending on which house they
started in.

THE SECOND HOUSE
• If the bill was introduced and passed in the
House of Commons it moves to the Senate,
• If it was introduced and passed in the Senate it
moves to the House of Commons.
• The bill then goes through almost the exact
same process as in the first house. Except…
• If the bill is accepted outright in the second reading
it can bypass the committee and report stages.
• If the bill goes to committee and no amendments
are recommended it can bypass the report stage.

FINAL AMENDMENTS
• If there are amendments added to the bill in
during the process of going through the second
house, the bill must then return to the first house.
• When it returns to the first house it the
amendments are debated and voted on.
• If all of the amendments are accepted it goes to the
Governor General to be given Royal Assent
• If some of the amendments are accepted it must go
back to the second house for a final vote before it is
given Royal Assent
• If the amendments are all rejected the bill dies.

ROYAL ASSENT
• Once a bill has been passed by both houses
of parliament it is sent to the Governor
General.
• The Governor General, adds his or her
signature to the bill, indicating Royal assent.
• This is a formality, and by tradition the
Governor General has never refused to sign a
bill.
• However if the Governor General refused to
sign the bill it would not become law.

HOW DOES A BILL
BECOME A LAW
• Think-Pair-Share
• Think:
• Why does a bill get read so many times?
• What are some advantages to the way that a bill is
processed?
• What are some disadvantages to the way a bill is
processed?
• To what extent does the legislative process meet the
needs of all Canadians?

• Pair: Discuss your answers to the questions with an
elbow partner
• Share: Be prepared to explain your discussion to the
class.

CREATE A FLOW CHART
• Create a Flow Chart which shows the possible paths that a bill can
take in becoming a law.
• Your flow chart should include:



Who can introduce a bill and how.
Each stage/reading in each house.
Details about what happens during each stage.
Colors to show which house it is in and whether it is accepted or
rejected.
• Arrows to show the paths that the bill can go

• Use the information presented in this lesson, the information from
“Follow that Bill”, and your text pages 40-41, to help you complete
this task
• At the end of class I will pick a few people at random to share their
flowcharts. Let’s see how many different ways you come up with.

MEMBERS OF
PARLIAMENT
AND ELECTIONS

HOUSE OF COMMONS
• Made up of elected
Members of Parliament

• This is called representation
by population.

• Each Member of Parliament
(MP) represents one riding.

• Citizens who live in a given
riding are called constituents

• A riding is an electoral
district, they are grouped
by place and each riding
contains approximately the
same number of people.
(~25’000 - 125’000)

• There are currently 308 seats
in the house of commons.

• This means that each MP
represents about the same
number of people.

• So there are 308 MPs from 308
ridings, including the Prime
Minister and her/his Cabinet.

• The ridings change if the
population changes.
• In the next election there will
be 338 ridings, MPs and seats.

MEMBERS OF
PARLIAMENT
• Most Members of Parliament
belong to a Political Party.
• Members belong to the
party which most closely
matches their own political
beliefs

• Candidates run in a
particular riding, against
candidates from other
political parties

• Individuals can also run as
independents, but having
the support of a party
makes it much easier.

• The candidate who wins the
most votes in their riding
becomes the MP for that
district and goes to Ottawa
to represent their
constituents and their party.

• Major political parties run
candidates in all of the
ridings

• They do not necessarily
need to win more than 50%
of the votes in a riding.

REVIEW: POLITICAL
PARTY
Political Parties
A political party is a group of people who have
similar ideas about how government should
respond to issues facing society. Political parties
are formally recognized as organizations. They
put forward candidates in elections and seek to
form government.
Conservative Party of Canada
Stephen Harper

Liberal Party of Canada
Justin Trudeau
New Democrat Party of Canada:
Thomas Mulcair
Green Party of Canada
Elizabeth May

THE CONSERVATIVE
PARTY
The Conservative party of Canada is the current
governing party of Canada. Often called “Tories”.
They sit on the right of the political spectrum.
This means they support things like tax cuts and reduced
spending. They have a strong focus on economic issues,
tend to support businesses and believe that government
should play a smaller role in citizens lives.
Conservative Party of Canada
Stephen Harper

THE LIBERAL PARTY
The Liberal Party of Canada, has been the governing
party of Canada more often than any other party and are
sometimes called Canada’s “Natural Governing Party”, or
called “Grits”.
They sit in the center of the political spectrum.
This means they try to balance economic and social
issues. They want to keep taxes low but also value social
programs and make sure that they are funded
Liberal Party of Canada
Justin Trudeau

NEW DEMOCRATIC
PARTY
The New Democratic Party is the current official oposition
in the House of Commons.
They sit on the left of the political spectrum
This means they have a strong emphasis on social
issues. They are in favor of increasing government
spending in order to provide better social services for
Canadians. They support labor unions and try to provide
better working conditions for Canadians.
New Democrat Party of Canada:
Thomas Mulcair

THE GREEN PARTY

The Green Party of Canada is the only other party to win
at least one seat in the house of commons. They
currently have 2/308 seats.
They sit on the left of the political spectrum
The green party advocates for environmental and social
justice issues
Green Party of Canada
Elizabeth May

ELECTIONS
• Are held by law every 5
years.
• Elections can also be
called by the Governor
General if:
• The Prime Minister
Requests

or
• The executive loses the
confidence of the house,
by being defeated in a
confidence vote, or failing
to get a budget or tax bill
passed.

• All ridings vote and elect
their representatives
(MPs) on the same day.
• The party which wins the
most seats in the House
of Commons is asked by
the Governor General to
form the government.
• The leader of the winning
party becomes the Prime
Minister, selects the
cabinet, and chooses the
portfolios.

MAJORITY VS. MINORITY
Majority
Government

• Majority means greater
than fifty percent
( >50%)
• If a party wins more
than 50% of the seats,
they form a majority
government.
• Majority governments
tend to pass legislation
quicker, and with less
debate.

Minority
Minority
means less
Government
than fifty percent
(<50%)

• If one party wins more
seats than any of the
other parties, but fails
to get more than 50%
of the seats, they form
a minority government
• Minority governments
usually pass legislation
more slowly with more
debate.

THE OFFICIAL
OPPOSITION
• Our Constitution is based on
the British constitution. And
their constitution is set up
adversarial (across from each
other)
• Sitting on the side opposite
the government is the
“official opposition”.
• The job of that party and
their leader is to look
critically at legislation
proposed by the government.
To make sure it is in the best
interest of all Canadians.

DISCUSSION
QUESTIONS
• In what ways are members of parliament held
accountable to their constituents?
• How does the way our House of Commons
works help to meet the needs of all Canadian?

MAJORITY/MINORITY
DEBATE
• We will run this simulation twice, once with a
majority government, and once with a
minority government.
• We will examine a different bill each time.
• For this simulation we will assume that the
bills are in their third and final reading. No
amendments can be added at this point. They
must be debated as is, and then voted on.

GOVERNMENT AND
OPPOSITION
• The Conservative Party is in power and forms
the government. Your job is to defend the bill
by explaining why it is in the interest of all
Canadians and to try and get it passed.
• The NDP Party is the official opposition. Your
job is to criticize the government’s bill to
make sure it is in the interest of all Canadians
and to try and prevent it from passing if it is
not in the interest of all Canadians.
• All other parties are trying to make sure the
bill is in the best interest of all Canadians.

ROLES &
RESPONSIBILITIES
• Conservative Party Leader – You are the Prime Minister.
• NDP Party Leader – You are the opposition leader. You must
criticize the position of the government.
• Party Leaders - You get to set the position for your entire
party, and will be the first person to speak for your party.
• Party Whips – makes sure that everyone in the party knows
which way the leader wants them to vote. You will speak
second for your party
• Backbencher – Once the party leaders and whips have
spoken you will have a chance to give your input. You must
be accountable to your constituents, and still obey the
wishes of your party leader.

PROCEDURE
• The Speaker for the House (Mr Desrochers) will
distribute the bill to each party.
• Each party will have 5 minutes to read and discuss the
bill “in caucus”. Party leaders will decide the stance
their party will take on the issue.
• The bill will be introduced to the house, and debate
will commence (begin). Starting with each party
leader giving an opening statement, and then opening
the floor to the whips, and the backbenchers.
• After debate has concluded the House will vote on the
bill and it will either be accepted or rejected.

SENATORS AND THE
SENATE

A LITTLE ABOUT THE
SENATE
• The Senate is known as the “Upper House”, although it
is not as powerful or important as the House of
Commons.
• Members of the Senate are called senators
• Senators serve in office from the time they are
appointed until they are 75.
• When senators retire their seats become vacant
(empty)
• The Prime Minister selects new people to fill the vacant
seats, and the Governor General appoints them to the
Senate.

DISTRIBUTION OF THE
SENATE
• The PM usually selects new senators from his/her own
political party, but because senators only retire a few
at a time there are members of many parties in the
Senate.
• A certain number of senators are appointed from 6
different regions:





The Territories: 3
Newfoundland Labrador: 6
Maritimes: 24
Quebec: 24
Ontario: 24
Western Provinces: 24

WHY TWO HOUSES?
• When our constitution was created there was worry that a
majority of a population could take over the House of
Commons, and control the law making process.
• For example English speaking Canada could use its larger
population to pass laws that are not in the interest of French
speaking Canada

• To balance the power of the House of Commons the
senate was created, and each of the original 4 regions
were given the same number of senators.
• This way the interests of minorities and different regions
wouldn’t get ignored. And it ensured that if a law passed
in the House of Commons wasn’t in the interest of all
Canadians it could be stopped.

WHY TWO HOUSES?
• The Senate is meant to prevent a Tyranny of
the Majority, by providing a balance to the
power of the House of Commons.
• This is why it is often called the chamber of
“sober second thought”, because carefully
and critically reviews the legislation from a
different perspective than the House of
Commons.

SENATE AND
LEGISLATION
• The senate can introduce legislation but does
this less often than the lower house.
• The senate cannot introduce legislation that is
about taxes or spending money.
• The senate has the power to veto (reject) a
bill from the house of commons, but it rarely
uses this power.

MPS AND SENATORS:
VENN DIAGRAM
• Create a Venn Diagram that shows the similarities
and differences between Members of Parliament
and Senators. Make sure to include information on:
• How are Members of Parliament and Senators are
selected?
• How are Members of Parliament and Senators are
held accountable?
• What are the roles and responsibilities of MPs and
Senators?

• Use the information in your text p29-33, from your
notes, or

THE MEDIA AND
GOVERNMENT
View Prezi Here

LOBBY GROUPS AND
GOVERNMENT
As a class let’s read pp51-53 in your text. As we
read keep the following questions in mind?
• What do lobbyists do?
• To what extent do lobbyists represent
Canadians in the political process?
• How do lobbyists influence government
decision making? In a positive way? In
negative way?

LOBBY ISSUE: CATTLE
FARMING
Lobby Group: Canadian Cattlemen’s Association
• Cattle producers understand the need to raise more beef
using fewer resources. Global meat demand is expected to
surge by 70 per cent by 2050 due to a growing world
population, particularly the middle class. The global livestock
industry needs to ensure that they are able to meet this
demand by supplying high quality protein while optimizing
the use and sustainability of limited natural resources.
• The CCA is a member of the Global Roundtable for
Sustainable Beef (GRSB). Like the GRSB, the CCA is focused
on developing the necessary tools to ensure beef production
is environmentally sound, socially responsible and
economically viable.

LOBBY ISSUE: CATTLE
FARMING

Lobby Group: Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals

• Feedlots (also called “finishing” lots) raise serious welfare
concerns. The main issues being crowding and inappropriate
feed. The largest feedlots can accommodate up to 40,000
animals. Cows are social animals, yet the stable social
groupings established on the range are destroyed in feedlots,
throwing the animals into social chaos.
• Cattle are initially fed a diet consisting mainly of hay and
forages, with their feed gradually becoming 90% grain. Grain
feed causes the cattle to gain weight more quickly than grass,
thus making their flesh fatter and their meat more appealing to
consumers. However, grain feeding wreaks havoc with the
animals’ digestive systems because cattle are ruminants
suited to eating grass, not grains. Grain can cause bloating,
diarrhea and extreme discomfort.

EDITORIAL RESPONSE
Prepare a speech that you might give as a cabinet
minister, to the press gallery, responding to
accusations by Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals,
that Canadian cattle farming is inhumane. You must
also take into consideration the viewpoints of the
Canadian Cattlemen's Association.
You can use your own device to find more
information on each lobby groups website:
www.humanefood.ca and www.cattle.ca
Draft a rough copy of your speech in your unit
briefing. You will get an opportunity later to type it
up and post it to your blog.