Did you know that Canada has a Queen? Yes, Canada is technically a monarchy. Even weirder, Canada is fully democratic. A democratic monarchy might sound contradictory, but it just means that the government acts in the name of the crown though the authority comes from the people. Canada’s current political system is a result of hundreds of years of history. It has been affected by its relationship with the United States and the United Kingdom alike. In the end, Canada is a democratic country in which the people elect their own leaders.
History and Context of Canadian Government
You might know that both Canada and the United States were once colonies of Great Britain. However, you might not know that they became independent in very different ways. The United States’ independence was an act of rebellion against its mother nation. An act which led to violence and a true battle for independence. To put it simply, Canada did not agree with this. In fact, Canada was quite content with the backup of the United Kingdom.
You might be wondering then why Canada chose to become independent? Originally, Canada consisted of various smaller colonies that were defenseless against an expansionist America to the south. Thus, the colonies chose to come together in order to defend themselves from the chance of American invasion. The crown agreed to this, and thus Canada became a country with the approval of the United Kingdom. Democratic from the start, Canada has always elected its own leaders while respecting its monarchic traditions and ties to the crown.
As a result, two main ideologies have defined modern Canadian politics. First, an allegiance to Britain. To this day Canada maintains close ties to the UK. Therefore, Queen Elizabeth II is technically the Queen of Canada as well. Second, Canada’s nationalist sentiment has always been anti-American. Thus, Canada is traditionally liberal, to the left of the conservative United States on the political spectrum. Despite the anti-American sentiment, Canada has close political and economic ties to the States.
Levels of Government
The Canadian government is divided into three levels. These divisions are the federal, provincial, and municipal governments. Each tackles a different scope of governmental duties. Let’s explore what each one does:
Federal Government – This is the highest level of government in Canada. The House of Commons which is elected by the people makes laws that are held throughout the whole country. The Prime Minister, the head of government, elects those who serve in the Cabinet which makes decisions on government policy. The Queen is the head of state, and the Governor General is her representative in Canada. The Governor General does not actually hold power, rather they simply approve the laws passed by government.
Provincial Government – As you may know, Canada is split into 13 provinces and territories. Each of these has its own government under the federal government. This is referred to as the provincial government. The Lieutenant Governor represents the Queen, and the legislative assembly makes laws. Of course, the provinces’ own citizens elect its legislative representatives.
Municipal Government – This level of government is the most local of them all. At its head are the mayors and councils of each city. There are also regional representatives. Every citizen can elect their local representatives as well. Local law and policy is dealt with here.
Canada's Political Stance
As mentioned, Canada is a fully democratic country. Technically, it is a constitutional monarchy. Its ideologies have always been very moderate. Thus, the far right and far left have never been very popular in Canada. In fact, the country has a liberalist tradition. This means that it is still right-wing, but much more centered than a country like the United States.
Canada is very egalitarian, meaning that it believes in social equality. Thus, the government seeks to maintain a country in which every person has equal opportunity to succeed. It is also based on principles of order, peace, good government and an implied bill of rights. Canada’s free health care and open immigration policy are results of its liberal tendencies.
Currently, Canada’s political elections are a two-horse race between the Liberal and Conservative parties. Though both are on the right of the political spectrum, the Liberals are considered left-leaning and conservatives right-leaning. There are also other parties that regularly maintain a smaller though significant presence. The Bloc Quebecois is a Quebec nationalist party which leans towards separatism. The NDP is a slightly left-wing party that seeks to institute more socialist programs.
Immigrate to Canada with Gentium
Canada is an open and welcoming country to immigrants. Its egalitarian principles seek to give everyone equal opportunity to succeed, even new citizens. At Gentium Immigration we are dedicated to helping you find the best way to immigrate into this great country. Book an appointment with one of our certified consultants to begin your journey. We hope to hear from you!