Portal:Canadian politics

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The Politics of Canada Portal

Introduction

Politics by province or territory

The politics of Canada function within a framework of constitutional monarchy and a federal system of parliamentary government with strong democratic traditions. Many of the country's legislative practices derive from the unwritten conventions of and precedents set by the United Kingdom's Westminster Parliament. However, Canada has evolved variations: party discipline in Canada is stronger than in the United Kingdom, and more parliamentary votes are considered motions of confidence, which tends to diminish the role of non-Cabinet Members of Parliament (MPs). Such members, in the government caucus, and junior or lower-profile members of opposition caucuses, are known as backbenchers. Backbenchers can, however, exert their influence by sitting in parliamentary committees, like the Public Accounts Committee or the National Defence Committee.

Canada is described as a "full democracy", and an egalitarian, Far-right and far-left politics have never been a prominent force in Canadian society. Peace, order, and good government, alongside an implied bill of rights are founding principles of the Canadian government. An emphasis on social justice has been a distinguishing element of Canada's political culture. Canada has placed emphasis on equality and inclusiveness for all its people.

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The Langevin Block, home to the Privy Council and prime minister's office
The Queen's Privy Council for Canada (QPC) (French: Conseil privé de la Reine pour le Canada (CPR)), sometimes called Her Majesty's Privy Council for Canada or simply the Privy Council, is the full group of personal consultants to the monarch of Canada on state and constitutional affairs, though responsible government requires the sovereign and/or her viceroy, the Governor General of Canada, to almost always follow only that advice tendered by the Cabinet—a committee within the Privy Council composed of elected Members of Parliament. Those summoned to the QPC are appointed for life by the governor general as directed by the Prime Minister of Canada, meaning that the group is composed predominantly of former cabinet ministers, with some others having been inducted as an honorary gesture. Those in the council are accorded the use of an honorific style and post-nominal letters, as well as various signifiers of precedence.

The Constitution Act, 1867, outlines that persons are to be summoned and appointed for life to the Queen's Privy Council by the governor general, though convention dictates that this be done on the advice of the sitting prime minister. As its function is to provide the vehicle for advising the Crown, the membership of the QPC is comprised predominantly of all living current and former ministers of the Crown. In addition, the chief justices of Canada and former governors general are appointed.

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George Brown the first Liberal Leader 1861-1867.
The Liberal Party of Canada (French: Parti libéral du Canada), colloquially known as the Grits, is the oldest federally registered party in Canada. In the conventional political spectrum, the party lies on the centre-left. The party has been the Official Opposition in the Parliament of Canada since the 2006 federal election. The Liberal Party has dominated federal politics for much of Canada's history, holding power for almost 69 years in the 20th century, more than any other party in a developed country.

The Liberals are descended from the mid-19th century Reformers who agitated for responsible government throughout British North America. These included George Brown, Robert Baldwin, William Lyon Mackenzie and the Clear Grits in Upper Canada, Joseph Howe in Nova Scotia, and the Patriotes and Rouges in Lower Canada led by figures such as Louis-Joseph Papineau. The Clear Grits and Parti rouge sometimes functioned as a united bloc in the legislature of the Province of Canada beginning in 1854, and a united Liberal Party combining both English and French Canadian members was formed in 1861.

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Political shift in Canada in the first decade of the 21st century.

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Agnes Macphail - PA-165870.jpg
Agnes Campbell Macphail (March 24, 1890 – February 13, 1954) was the first woman to be elected to the Canadian House of Commons, and one of the first two women elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Active throughout her life in progressive Canadian politics, Macphail worked for two separate parties and promoted her ideas through column-writing, activist organizing, and legislation.

As a radical member of the Progressive Party, Macphail joined the socialist Ginger Group, faction of the Progressive Party that later led to the formation of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). She became the first president of the Ontario CCF in 1932. However, she left the CCF in 1934 when the United Farmers of Ontario pulled out due to fears of Communist influence in the Ontario CCF. While Macphail was no longer formally a CCF member, she remained close to the CCF MPs and often participated in caucus meetings. The CCF did not run candidates against Macphail in her three subsequent federal campaigns. Out of office, she wrote agricultural columns for the Globe and Mail newspaper in Toronto. Following a family tragedy in her home town, Macphail moved to the Toronto suburb of East York, Ontario and rejoined the Ontario CCF in 1942 becoming its farm organizer.

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Canadian politics Subcategory

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The Canadian federal election of 1911 was held on September 21 to elect members of the Canadian House of Commons of the 12th Parliament of Canada. It brought an end to fifteen years of government by the Liberal Party of Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier. The election was fought over the issues of free trade with the United States, and the creation of a Canadian navy. The Conservatives formed a majority government under Robert Borden.

The Liberal government was caught up in a debate over the naval arms race between the British Empire and Germany. Laurier attempted a compromise by starting up the Canadian Navy, but this failed to appease either the French and English Canadians; the former who refused giving any aid, while the latter suggested sending money directly to Britain. After the election, the Conservatives drew up a bill for naval contributions to the British, but it was held up by a lengthy Liberal filibuster before being passed by invoking closure, then it was struck down by the Liberal-controlled Senate.

Many English-Canadians in Alberta, and the Maritimes felt that Laurier was abandoning Canada's traditional links to the United Kingdom. On the other side, Quebec nationalist Henri Bourassa, having earlier quit the Liberal Party over what he considered the government's pro-British policies, campaigned against Laurier in that province. Ironically, Bourassa's attacks on Laurier in Quebec aided in the election of the Conservatives, who held more staunchly Imperialist policies than the Liberals.
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