Portal:Canadian politics

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The Politics of Canada Portal

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The politics of Canada function within a framework of parliamentary democracy and a federal system of parliamentary government with strong democratic traditions. Canada is a constitutional monarchy, in which the monarch is head of state. The country has a multi-party system in which many of its legislative practices derive from the unwritten conventions of and precedents set by the Westminster parliament of the United Kingdom. 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.

The two dominant political parties in Canada have historically been the Liberal Party of Canada and Conservative Party of Canada (or its predecessors), however, the social democratic New Democratic Party (NDP) has risen to prominence and even threatened to upset the two other established parties during the 2011 federal election and the 2015 federal election. Smaller parties like the Quebec nationalist Bloc Québécois and the Green Party of Canada have also been able to exert their own influence over the political process. Far-right and far-left politics have never been a prominent force in Canadian society.

The Economist Intelligence Unit rated Canada as a "full democracy" in 2016.

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The government of Canada is the system whereby the federation of Canada is administered by a common authority; in Canadian English, the term can mean either the collective set of institutions or specifically the Queen-in-Council. In both senses, the construct was established at Confederation, through the Constitution Act, 1867, as a constitutional monarchy, wherein the Canadian Crown acts as the core, or "the most basic building block," of the kingdom's Westminster-style parliamentary democracy. The Crown is thus the foundation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Canadian government. Further elements of governance are outlined in the rest of the constitution of Canada, which includes written statutes, court rulings, and unwritten conventions developed over centuries.

As per the Constitution Act, 1867, Canada is a constitutional monarchy, wherein the role of the reigning sovereign is both legal and practical. The Crown is regarded as a corporation, with the monarch, vested as she is with all powers of state, at the centre of a construct in which the power of the whole is shared by multiple institutions of government acting under the sovereign's authority; the Crown has thus been described as the underlying principle of Canada's institutional unity, with the executive formally called the Queen-in-Council, the legislature the Queen-in-Parliament, and the courts as the Queen on the Bench.

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Tommy Douglas, NDP leader 1961-1971
The New Democratic Party (French: Nouveau Parti démocratique), commonly referred to as the NDP, is a social democratic political party in Canada. The party is regarded as falling on the left in the Canadian political spectrum.[1] The provincial NDP parties in Manitoba and Nova Scotia currently form the government in those provinces, and provincial parties have previously formed governments in British Columbia, Ontario, Saskatchewan and in the Yukon.

In 1956, after the birth of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) by a merger of two previous labour congresses, negotiations began between the CLC and the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) to bring about an alliance between organized labour and the political left in Canada. In 1958 a joint CCF-CLC committee, the National Committee for the New Party (NCNP), was formed to create a "new" social democratic political party, with ten members from each group. The NCNP spent the next three years laying down the foundations of the New Party. During this process, a large number of New Party Clubs were established to allow like-minded Canadians to join in its founding, and six representatives from New Party Clubs were added to the National Committee. In 1961, at the end of a five-day long Founding Convention which established its principles, policies and structures, the New Democratic Party was born and Tommy Douglas, the long-time CCF Premier of Saskatchewan, was elected its first leader. In 1960, before the NDP was founded, one candidate, Walter Pitman, won a by-election under the New Party banner.

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"Canada's Prime Ministers from 1867 to 1967

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Sir John Alexander Macdonald, GCB, KCMG, PC, PC (Can), (11 January 1815 – 6 June 1891) was the first Prime Minister of Canada and the dominant figure of Canadian Confederation. Macdonald's tenure in office spanned 18 years, making him the second longest serving Prime Minister of Canada. He is the only Canadian Prime Minister to win six majority governments.

He was the major proponent of a national railway, the Canadian Pacific Railway, completed in 1885, linking Canada from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. He won praise for having helped forge a nation of sprawling geographic size, with two diverse European colonial origins, numerous Aboriginal nations, and a multiplicity of cultural backgrounds and political views. Queen Victoria knighted John A. Macdonald for playing an integral role in bringing about Confederation. His appointment as a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George was announced at the birth of the Dominion, 1 July 1867. An election was held in August which put Macdonald and his Conservative party into power.

Macdonald's vision as prime minister was to enlarge the country and unify it. Accordingly, under his rule Canada bought Rupert's Land and the North-Western Territory from the Hudson's Bay Company for £300,000 (about $11,500,000 in modern Canadian dollars). This became the Northwest Territories. In 1870 Parliament passed the Manitoba Act, creating the province of Manitoba out of a portion of the Northwest Territories in response to the Red River Rebellion led by Louis Riel.

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Canadian politics category

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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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  1. ^ Penniman, Howard (1988). Canada at the polls, 1984: a study of the federal general elections. Duke University Press. p. 218. ISBN 9780822308218. 
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