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53 terms

Canadian Government

A vocabulary review for the government unit test in Socials 11 at Pender Harbour Secondary, BC, Canada.
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BNA Act
The set of rules that created Canada from the Colonies and became Canada's first Constitution. It was renamed the Constitution Act when repatriated in 1982.
Constitution Act, 1867
The new name for the BNA Act: the constitutional authority of the division of responsibilities between the federal and provincial governments.
Sections 91, 92, 93
The BNA Act sections that outlined: federal powers; provincial powers; and, shared powers.
Constitution Act, 1982
This law brought the Canadian constitution home from Britain and put it under Canadian control. It included the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The constitution applies to all of Canada, but Quebec has not officially signed it.
Charter of Rights and Freedoms
This became part of the new constitution adopted by Canada ini 1982. It is a clear statement of the basic rights and freedoms enjoyed by all Canadians. It takes precedence over any law passed by any government, except where a government chooses to invoke the "notwithstanding clause"
Parliament
The lawmaking body of British-style governments.
Legislative, Executive, Judicial
The three branches of our national government.
House of Commons
The branch of parliament with the most power. The political party with the most members of parliament chooses the Prime Minister. The house where most of the important laws are created.
Senate
The branch of parliament that generally reviews legislation passed by the House of Commons. The house that represents the regions through appointed members.
Speaker of the House of Commons
The moderator: like a referee in parliament who decides who is going to speak; he or she may cast a vote in a case of a tie.
MP
Member of Parliament - one MP is elected by each constituency of about 100,000 voters.
PM
Prime Minister - the leader of the party that gets the most votes in an election.
Cabinet
Persons appointed by the PM to head the ministries of government and act as official advisers.
Governor General
The monarch's representative in Canada. The governor general gives royal assent to bills (signs them) before they become law, performs ceremonial duties, and ensures that the country always has a Prime Minister.
Riding
An electoral district (or constituency) of about 100,000 voters at the federal level.
Ministry
A government department under the direction of a cabinet minister.
Cabinet Minister
An MP or MLA that is placed in charge of a specific government department, ex. Energy, defense, education, health, etc.
Deputy Minister
Public servants employed by the government to help run a specific department and report to their Cabinet Minister.
Political Party
A group of individuals with broad common interests who organize to nominate candidates for office, win elections, conduct government, and determine public policy.
Caucus
A meeting to select a candidate or promote a policy or develop a party platform.
De facto / De juri
De facto = in practice/reality
De juri = by law/technically speaking
Common Law
The legal system that originated in England and is now in use in Canada that relies on legal principles from past judicial decisions. Common law principles can be changed by legislation.
Unwritten Constitution
Traditions, precedent, and practice incorporated into our form of government that add to the Constitution's elasticity and its viability.
Public Service
A group of permanent employees who perform the ongoing business of government. These people are not elected and do not pass legislation.
Bureaucrat
A member of the public service.
Elected
A person who is chosen by voting in an election.
Appointed
People who are given their jobs by leaders. They are not elected.
Precedent
A law or decision established by following earlier judicial decisions.
Upper House
The Senate: a legislative body appointed by the Governor General upon the advice of the PM.
Lower House
The House of Commons: a legislative body elected by the people.
Representative Government
The people are represented in government, but not necessarily by elected officials.
Responsible Government
Elected officials who are responsible to the people through routine elections.
Minority Government
The ruling political party does not have enough elected member to out-vote the opposition parties if they vote as a bloc and therefore this government is very unstable.
Majority Government
Government by a political party which has enough elected members to out vote all opposition parties combined (that is, more than 50% of the seats).
Independent MP
An MP who is not aligned to a political party.
Private Member's Bill
Sometimes individuals rather than the leading party attempt to introduce a Bill in the House of Commons.
Socialism
An economic system in which government owns some factors of production and participates in answering economic questions. It offers some security and benefits to those who are less fortunate, homeless, or under-employed.
Democracy
Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representative
Communism
A political and economic system where factors of production are collectively owned and directed by the state.
Fascism
A political system headed by a dictator that calls for extreme nationalism and racism and no tolerance of opposition
Political Spectrum
Used to refer to the differences in views between the major ideologies.
Left Wing
Those who support varying degrees of social or political or economic change designed to promote the public welfare.
Right Wing
Those who support tradition with limited government interference in the economy and generally less likely to promote spending on the public welfare.
Centre
The political view that finds a balance between change and social welfare and tradition and fiscal independence.
Special Interest Groups
An organization of people with some common interests who try to influence government decisions.
Petitions
Requests for action signed by many people. A petition was used in 2010 in BC to successfully challenge the provincial government's new HST (tax).
Letters to the Editor
Letters written by newspaper readers to the editor of a newspaper to express their opinions about various problems and issues - usually to effect change.
Media Campaigns
The part of a political campaign or protest waged in the broadcast and print media. More recently, campaigns have occurred on the Internet.
Court Actions
Interest groups will file lawsuits or class action suits to protect and advance their interests.
Protests
A public demonstration of objection that may take many forms (for example, a picket line). In recent history, many protests against globalization have been expertly organized and included violence, destruction and mass arrests.
Civil Disobedience
A form of political participation that reflects a conscious decision to break a law believed to be immoral and to suffer the consequences (for example, in BC inthe 1980s, it was popular for environmentalists to chain themselves to trees scheduled for logging.
Legislature/Provincial Parliament/National Assembly
Names for the provincial "parliaments." Remember, the provinces do not have upper houses.
MLA / MPP / MNA
Member of the Legislative Assembly (BC)
Member of the Provincial Parliament (Ont)
Member of the National Assembly (Que)