How Canada's Government Works (explainer)



hello everyone so today's video is a little bit different as you can probably tell it is a lot longer than usual and that is because it is a recording of a presentation I gave on the Canadian government yesterday see for many years I've been helping teach this course at my local library for new immigrants to Canada so that they can pass their citizenship exam it is a series of classes where you learn important things about Canada you know like Canadian culture and Canadian geography and Canadian history and Canadian government so anyway I did a recording of it you can take a look let me know in the comments what you think if you have the patience to get through it all apologies if it sounds like I am kind of being condescending in my delivery I'm speaking to a lot of people that are not very good at English and really know absolutely nothing about Canadian government some of what I talk about is obviously a little bit of a simplification I sort of breeze over some topics that are obviously more complicated but again this is supposed to be an introductory course to get people to understand the big fundamental ideas of the Canadian government rather than every last little specific detail so here it is I hope you enjoy watching so hello everybody it's nice to meet you my name is JJ and we're gonna be talking about the Canadian government today what is the Canadian government well the book that you guys all have wants you to understand a few big ideas about the Canadian government and those big ideas are Canada is a democracy and a federal state and a constitutional monarchy that uses the parliamentary system to give us responsible government the first one is democracy so what is democracy Canadians have struggled and fought for the right to have a government that obeys the people democracy is the system of government where the government obeys the people where the people rule the people are the highest authority the people decide who stays in government and who doesn't so in the old days as we know from studying Canadian history there didn't used to be democracy and in those days who made the decisions over the lives of Canadians who made the decisions aboot the laws and how the country was run well you know it was people like this it was aristocratic people you know people who were from Britain who were immigrants from England who had lots of money who were all men who were all white of British descent not even French people in the early day would have a say in how the country was governed not catholics only white British Protestant men people fought in this country in this picture we can see a pro-democracy riot of the sort that they had a lot in the 19th century in mid 19th century Canada you know people would fight and cause big problems and then eventually as we know from studying history the British did grant democratic self-rule they did grant parliamentary system they did grant democracy so this is what we mean when we talk about democracy one of the most sacred important principles of Canadian government a government that obeys the people next big idea federal state so what do we mean when we talk about a federal state this is also called the concept of federalism Canada has many different levels of government that share power with each other so is there only one government in Canada no there are many governments in Canada we look at this picture here what is this a picture of yeah it's Canada but what are all these different things the provinces right so Canada is a giant country that is split into a bunch of different provinces and every province has its own government that is the concept of federalism not one government but many governments that work together and in fact there's even more governments than just the province governments inside every province what is a province cut up into there are many what inside of a province we're yes very good so there are many cities in every province of Canada and every city has its own government as well this is also part of the federal idea the idea that we not only have one government we have many different governments that control different things and later on we will talk about what the different types of governments control next concept is a constitutional monarchy so constitutional monarchy is different than just monarchy monarchy is the concept of having a government where the top person in the government is a king or a queen right in some countries Saudi Arabia you know is in the news a lot lately they have a king their King rules their government him and his family they have the complete power but in constitutional monarchy you have a king or a queen but they only have symbolic powers not political powers but the power of a symbol Canada has a queen which is Queen Elizabeth which is right here he or she is dropping a hockey puck at a hockey game during one of her visits to Canada this is an example of the kind of thing that a constitutional monarch like Queen Elizabeth does you know fun sort of symbolic things and we will talk more about the monarchy in a little bit because it is a complicated concept within the Canadian government that is sometimes difficult to understand next big idea is the parliamentary system a parliamentary system is the sort of democracy the style of democracy that Canada has Canada uses the English system the system that we got from Great Britain which is where decisions about our laws and leaders are made by a body of elected representatives so we do not simply have one person that is in charge of Canada we have many people many people that we elect the people that we elect are part of Parliament so to have a government where the people that make our laws and decide who our leaders are are done by the Parliament of Canada that is called a parliamentary system of government these are the chambers of Parliament we will talk more about them in a bit the next one is responsible government this is a complicated topic that is some a little bit difficult to describe but it has to do with the idea that the politicians of Canada must be responsible to the voters of Canada and to our democratic parliamentary traditions so the idea is once we vote in our government once we vote in our Parliament and you know our leaders and the Prime Minister and all this kind of thing they cannot do whatever they want they can't you know conduct themselves in any way they feel they have to obey the traditions and the rules of our parliamentary system of government and the parliamentary system of government in Canada has a number of different rules that we will talk about in more detail the idea of like you know how is the Prime Minister chosen how is the Prime Minister removed how our law is made all of this kind of stuff the sort of the the complicated details of day-to-day politics this is all part of the system that we call the responsible government system and the idea is that because we have a responsible government system we as voters we as citizens of Canada we know what to expect from our government there are certain rules that they have to obey now we are going to talk about the different pieces of the Canadian government the institutions and structures and people that actually form the government all of the parts so the first part we are going to talk about is the Constitution the Constitution of Canada is the document that provides the rules for how can the system of government works and it also sets the limits on the government's power when we were talking about responsible government and I talked about how there are rules that the government has to follow where do we go if we want to read those rules well a lot of them can be found in the constitution of Canada which is a long document you can find it online the constitution of Canada is also important because it puts limits on the government's power so the constitution of Canada is is a very important document because it tells you what government cannot do sort of like the values that we have as Canadian citizens mean that we do not want our government to pass certain kinds of laws we do not want our government to pass laws that take away our rights that discriminate against us on the basis of our you know a race or our gender or anything like that we want a government that has some limits on their power and those limits can be found in the Canadian Constitution the Canadian Constitution has parts where it says no government is allowed to do this and this and this and this and this is a very important part of Canadian democracy this is what makes Canada a free country in contrast to some other countries where their government can do anything to the people next big thing we're going to talk about is the queen of Canada so here she is the queen of Canada queen elizabeth ii is canada's monarch head of the state so when we talk about the person that is head of the state we mean the person who is the highest most important political figure in the country she is a symbol of Canada's history and the power of the Canadian government and all laws are made in her name but basically the idea is that Canada as I said has separated from Great Britain 1982 before that in 1867 which was when Britain gave Canada the right of a mostly complete self-government but despite that it has been decided that Canada wants to keep a certain degree of symbolic connection to Great Britain to reflect our history as a British colony which was a very long history that a lot of people think was a proud and important history that is worth preserving so as a result part of the Canadian political system is that the queen of Great Britain elizabeth ii is called the queen of canada canada is not the only country that set up this arrangement we know that there are many other countries in the world that have felt affinity for their british past in the same way that canada has and they have given queen elizabeth ii different titles queen elizabeth is also queen of Australia she is queen of Jamaica queen of New Zealand queen of Barbados queen of Papua New Guinea there is a lot of countries that she is queen of because there are a lot of countries in the world that are former British colonies that are now independent but still have warm feelings for their British history and want to give Queen Elizabeth a special honor a special title when you look at the laws passed by the Canadian government they still often talk about the Queen as sort of the sort of the great Authority of the country so when you look at a law in Canada it will often say you know by the Queen's decree blah blah blah blah blah or you know in the army for instance the Queen is the symbolic commander of the Armed Forces and this sort of thing so there is a lot of respect that is still given to the Queen even though Canada's now an independent country she even comes to Canada sometimes to perform ceremonial duties so every four or five years Queen Elizabeth or you know one of her children or one of her grandchildren comes to Canada they do symbolic things you know if there is a new building they will sometimes cut the ribbon you know you can sometimes see this actually if you go around in in places in this city my father was in the hospital recently and when I was out front in the hospital there was this big plaque which showed that the hospital was opened by the Queen's husband Prince Philip many years ago a lot of Canadians still have warm feelings for the British royal family and like to keep them included in Canadian Affairs next thing is the Governor General okay so because the Queen is a busy lady being Queen of England and Jamaica and all the rest of the world she cannot be in Canada all the time as I told you she only comes sometimes but we need someone to do the symbolic duties that we give to the Queen so the person who does the symbolic duties when the Queen herself is not around is called the Governor General the Governor General is a person who represents the Queen in Canada he or she is appointed by the Government of Canada to perform certain symbolic duties this woman is the Governor General of Canada right now she is new on the job she's only been in charge for a few months her name is Julie Payette she was appointed by Prime Minister Trudeau it is always the prime minister who appoints the person to be the governor-general who then performs the duties of the Queen when the Queen is not in Canada the governor-general is usually somebody that has come from a important background julie payette was a Canadian astronaut one of the first Canadian women to go to outer space so and she was an accomplished scientist you know very proud accomplished woman who a lot of people have looked up to for many years before she was governor-general the governor-general was dr. David Johnston he was a very important professor he was president of a university you know the people that are Governor General of Canada are these kinds of people you know people they're very accomplished and important folks so the governor-general performs certain symbolic duties when a law is passed by the Parliament the governor-general signs it this is a picture of dr. Johnston the old governor-general you can see he's signing a law beside Prime Minister Harper back in the day when there is a new session of Parliament the governor-general officially opens the Parliament she officially closes the Parliament when it's over the governor-general does a lot of things relating to the Armed Forces when Canadians get medals you know when they do something great the governor-general gives you the medal so it is the same kind of thing that you expect the Queen to do the governor-general also has and this is very complicated but the governor-general has some emergency political powers that she can use in a time when Canada is in some degree of democratic crisis you know when there is a problem with the Prime Minister or there is a problem with the Parliament there are some powers that the governor-general has in the case of an emergency but this has not been done in you know many many many many years not within I don't think within like 80 years or something so it is very unusual and probably is not likely to happen anytime soon it's important to understand that even though the governor-general was mostly a symbol she does have some power to under the Constitution now we are going to talk about the Parliament of Canada Canada's Parliament is divided into two chambers the House of Commons which is elected and the Senate which is not elected first though let us talk about the political parties of Canada so who is this guy yes it's Justin Trudeau the Prime Minister of Canada but he is not just the Prime Minister of Canada he is also boss of the Canadian Liberal Party and do we know who this guy is maybe not he is new on the political scene he is the boss of the Conservative Party of Canada his name is Andrew Shearer we'll learn more about him in the future I'm sure who was the old boss of the Conservative Party of Canada yes so Prime Minister Harper was the old boss Prime Minister Harper is not in charge anymore you know when he lost the election he wandered off and so now they picked the new guy and he was only picked a few months ago and his name is Andrew Shearer he is quite young he's only 38 years old and we know who this guy is this guy's name is jag meets Singh he is also very new he is also only 38 years old he is the boss of the NDP the new Democratic Party of Canada do we know who the old boss of the NDP was no his name was Thomas Mulcair yeah you might remember but the beard yeah but anyway jag meets Singh is an interesting guy because as we can see he is not white he is of Indian heritage his parents were immigrants from India and this is the very first time in Canadian history that there has been a person who is not white who has become this high in the Canadian political system to be boss of a political party for a person who was not white he is also not a Christian as you can see because he is a Sikh with the turban and the beard and all of this sort of thing so this is very interesting development in Canadian political history is to have a person like him as one of the bosses of the three biggest parties so these are the three main parties in Canada is liberal conservative and NDP there are also two smaller parties in Canada the bloc québécois party and the Green Party so the bloc québécois party is a small party it only exists in the province of Quebec it's only issue is they want to leave Canada become a different country this is their boss I do not remember what her name is and there's any even smaller party which is the Green Party which is led by this woman Elizabeth May she has one seat in the parliament it is more popular party in British Columbia than it is in other parts of Canada but these are the three big parties that we should be most familiar with I don't want to talk about what they believe or what they don't believe that is for you to discover and research and form your own opinions about but when we talk about politics in Canada we usually think of the Liberal Party and the NDP party as being the parties of the left and then we think of the conservative party as being the party of the right so this is a different political philosophy which you can decide for yourself which one you like we have a in this province in British Columbia the government is NDP but there has never been an NDP Prime Minister the bosses of the parties of Canada are the people who run to be Prime Minister in an election so this is why you do not maybe know who andrew shear or jag meets seeing are right now but in 2019 when we have a new election you will hear a lot of them because they want to take the job from mr. Trudeau the other other important thing to know is that in Canada when we talk about political parties we always talk about the colours as well so it's important to know that the colors that match up with the parties so Liberal Party red conservative party blue NDP orange this is important to know the House of Commons so the House of Commons is the elected part of the Canadian Parliament the House of Commons consists of 338 representatives known as members of parliament or MPs who are elected to represent the 338 different communities that make up Canada Canada for the purposes of the House of Commons is chopped up into a whole bunch of little different pieces every little piece represents a different community you know there's parts of Coquitlam parts of Vancouver all of the different cities sometimes big cities like Vancouver are cut up into even smaller pieces like East Vancouver and North Vancouver and this kind of thing when the map is chopped up it looks like this so we can see here's British Columbia Alberta all of the different provinces are cut up into different little pieces and every piece has one politician that politician is called a member of parliament or an MP and we get to vote for an MP to represent our community we send them to Ottawa where they sit in the House of Commons in the parliament so in this map we can see all of the politicians and they are colored based on what party they are so you can see in British Columbia we are pretty equal we have conservative liberal New Democrat and we also have Elizabeth May over here Alberta is very conservative province you see they like that party much mostly Ontario it's mostly liberal here is a more organized chart where we see them all organized together the political party that elects the most MPs to the House of Commons forms the government of Canada and picks the Prime Minister so when we take all of those dots from the previous map and we sort them all out and we organize them by color we can see that there is more red than anything else because more read more liberals were elected than anyone else in our last election in the election in 2015 that means the boss of the red party the boss of the Liberal Party mr. Trudeau he gets to be Prime Minister this is how the Prime Minister of Canada is chosen the person the boss of the party that gets the most people elected to the House of Commons gets to be the Prime Minister so it is easy to see why mr. Trudeau gets to be Prime Minister he has elected so many of his people he is the very obvious winner but sometimes it is not so obvious who is the winner there are different types of government this is what we call a majority government which is the government where the one party wins so many seats that is very obvious that their party boss should be the Prime Minister these are the other party bosses they are sad because they got so few seats but sometimes it is more complicated than that sometimes the largest party is still outnumbered by the two other parties this is what we call a minority government which means that this guy still gets to be the prime minister but he does not control most of the seats the other two parties have more seats than he does which means that it is hard for him to get anything done he can say I want this and then they say no and this happens this is what happened with the the person who was Prime Minister before Prime Minister Harper Paul Martin he was in this situation he was liberal conservative NDP they always made it hard for him to do anything and in fact sometimes it becomes even more extreme so in this province in British Columbia we have a parliament as well which we will talk about later but in British club in the British Columbia Parliament the Liberal Party Christy Clark was in this position and so what happened was that the other two parties they form an alliance and then they kick her out and then they become in charge in British Columbia we had Liberal Party with this kind of situation NDP party Green Party they joined together to make an alliance NDP person became boss and thus became premier instead of the Liberals that has never happened in Ottawa before but could maybe someday but most common style of government is this not mostly when Canadians vote they give a pretty big victory to one party this kind of narrow situation is less common the Prime Minister the Prime Minister is the ruler of Canada and the leader of the Canadian government he remains in power so long as he can keep the confidence of the majority of members of the House of Commons this is what this is called this is called the keeping the confidence of the majority of the members so when we look at mr. Trudeau he clearly has a confidence he has the confidence of the majority of people in the House of Commons this guy does not and this is the old Prime Minister Paul Martin Paul Martin was Prime Minister from 2003 to 2006 but he lost power because he could not keep the support of the House of Commons because he was in the weak situation the NDP and the Conservative Party voted him out of power in 2006 then we had an emergency election and mr. Harper became prime minister instead so that is why Prime Minister Martin is sad because he was is not in charge for very long these are the different prime ministers of Canada I just wanted to show you because it shows how people come and go in Canadian politics this is Prime Minister Trudeau this is the old the the father of the current Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau was his name he was in charge from 1968 to 1979 then he lost the election to this guy Joe Clark but Joe Clark did not have the confidence of the majority of members so he was only in charge for a little period of time and then they kicked him out and then the old man Trudeau is back in 1982 1984 the old man Trudeau resigns in 1984 and this man became Prime Minister for a few months but then he lost election to this guy Brian Mulroney John Turner was only Prime Minister for I think three months very very short period of time Prime Minister Mulrooney in power from 1984 to 1993 then he quits this woman becomes Prime Minister Kim Campbell first woman to be Prime Minister of Canada she was only in power for very short period of time less one year because she lost the election to this guy Jean chrétien he was Prime Minister 1993 to 2003 all of 10 years yes long time when krachan left office in 2003 Paul Martin becomes Prime Minister Paul Martin is not like Turner or Campbell because he manages to hang on a little bit longer he manages to win an election in 2003 but he does not have the majority of the seats in the House of Commons so they vote him out in 2006 there is a new election Prime Minister Harper is voted in he is in office from 2006 to 2015 and then he has an election and he loses his bid to have a fourth term in office to Justin Trudeau the son of the old man Trudeau so it goes full circle yes yeah because you can have emergency elections if there is I'll show you so in this sort of situation here they can gang up and they can form a new government to replace this government but they can also do it so they can just force there to be an emergency election what happened when Joe Clarke became Prime Minister Joe Clarke Prime Minister in he would beat the old man Trudeau in 1979 and then he's in office for a few months but then the Parliament votes against him and they call for emergency election so there's emergency election less than a year after the previous one and then they vote him back in so there are situations where you can have emergency election if they do not control the majority of the seats in the House of Commons they can vote to put in a new government or they can vote to kick out the old government and have emergency election yes yes yes when we look at Prime Minister's like this they serve very short times because you know the old guy left and then someone had to take the job right and then they couldn't win an election on their own terms can the Prime Minister run the whole country by himself no he needs helpers and the helpers are called the cabinet the Prime Minister appoints MPs so he appoints other politicians in the house Commons from his own party to form his cabinet members of the cabinet are called cabinet ministers and they help the Prime Minister run the country so when Justin Trudeau looks at this he's got so many politicians here he can pick some of them to help him run the country this becomes his cabinet you know he picks I think like cabinet is very big now I think it's like 40 people so he picks maybe like 40 of his favourite people from here here they are they become his cabinet ministers who help him run the country Prime Minister Trudeau made it a big deal to have half of the cabinet ministers women and half of the cabinet ministers men and there are a lot of cabinet ministers that are immigrants there are a lot of cabinet ministers that are not Christians or are not white people so it is a very diverse group of people and the cabinet ministers all have different jobs so they're always minister of something so there is the Minister of Finance the minister of relations with other countries the minister of the military minister of there's lots of different Minister there's minister of like Women's Affairs there's minister of trade with other countries so there's lots of different types of ministers and look see there's the Queen and this guy that's dr. Johnston the old governor-general so you can see a lot of the symbolism Prime Minister can fire them whenever he wants and put in new people – okay next thing so that is the Prime Minister and the House of Commons next thing is the Senate now the Senate is very controversial and see if you can tell why the Senate consists of a hundred and five members called senators who are appointed by the Prime Minister they serve until they are 75 years old in contrast to the House of Commons which is elected by all of us the Senate is not elected it is appointed by the prime minister and the Prime the senators serve until their 75th birthday until recently they used to serve until they died so their whole life it wasn't until 1999 that the last life senator moved on why do we have this so this is the controversial thing is that when Canada was first being formed in 1867 when the Canadian Constitution was first written not everybody thought that democracy was the best idea some democracy was good but too much democracy was not so good so they thought okay we will have two chambers of Parliament one chamber of Parliament will be elected by everybody the other chamber of Parliament will not be elected it won't be appointed by the Prime Minister and who will the Prime Minister appoint to be a senator well you know he will appoint very smart and sophisticated people wealthy people people that are intelligent and accomplished and they will help write the laws along with the elected part of the Parliament you have half of the Parliament that is voted by the people and half of the Parliament that is you know chosen because of their expertise and their smarts and their intelligence and their wealth so this is an idea that is obviously controversial now because we think differently about democracy than we did in those days but it is a part of the Canadian government that still survives and is still important it is important to understand as well is that when we say there 105 men 105 members appointed by the Prime Minister but they but since they serve until age 75 that means that the Prime Minister cannot get rid of them so this means that the Senate of Canada right now Prime Minister Trudeau has appointed a bunch of them but he hasn't appointed all of them because some of them are still serving until their birthday which means that they were appointed by other prime ministers in fact there is still a few senators that were appointed by the prime minister's father you know way back in the old days there are still senators by all of the other prime ministers still working some people that like the Senate will say this is a good thing because it means that there are some people in the Canadian political system who have been hanging around for a very long time they have long memories they are perhaps more experienced in government and they don't have to worry about elections so they don't have to worry about doing things that are popular or you know trendy or whatever and they don't have to worry as much about political parties and this sort of thing so this is a controversial idea some people do not actually a lot of people do not like it some people think it's good but it is an important part of the government anyway the other important thing to understand about the Senate is that when we talked about how the House of Commons is split up every one of these little dots every one of the little seats they represent a politician and a different community and those communities are usually about the same size so every one of these dots represents about the same number of people in the Senate this is not the system senators represent the different regions of Canada so the Senate has a strange system where different provinces are given different numbers of senators and this is this is difficult to describe because you know it is it's a controversial idea so British Columbia has six Alberta six the Scotch one six Manitoba six Ontario 24 Quebec 24 Newfoundland six Prince Edward Island for Nova Scotia ten New Brunswick ten and then these parts get one up at the top the idea is that there are different regions of Canada so like this is one region Ontario is its own region Rebekah's its own region this the these provinces here are their own region this is its own this is its own the idea I guess is that this part of the country has some common interest and this part of the country has some common interest in this part has some common interest so they should have an equal number so you see six times four is 24 so this part of the country is equal to this part and this part you know like I said this is a controversial idea as you can see British Columbia has six New Brunswick has ten there is much more people in British Columbia than there are in New Brunswick but New Brunswick has more senators than British Columbia does not without controversy is the Senate we talked about all these different pieces now we're going to talk about how they all fit together so this is how laws are passed the purpose of the government is to make laws to make laws that form the rules for how you know we live our lives in this country what's illegal and what's not is all decided by the government and how did the government make those laws laws start as bills which are proposed by the Prime Minister and his cabinet the Prime Minister and his cabinet they get together they decide there should be a new law about something so the Prime Minister and his and his supporters his his people they get together and they write what is called a bill which is a draft of law the Prime Minister and his cabinet give the bill to a committee the committee is a group of people from the House of Commons there are many different committees in the House of Commons and they all have expertise in some different area so there is a committee on laws about you know labor there's a committee on laws about Finance there's Committee on laws about you know trade there's many different committees and they're all a small group you know maybe 10 or so members of parliament MPs they get together and they look at the Prime Minister's bill and they come up with suggestions they say this is good this is bad change this don't change that and then after they've had their way with it it goes to the House of Commons and then all of those people in the House of Commons all 338 they either say yes or no and if enough of them say yes then they the bill goes to the Senate and then all of the Senators say yes or no and if this enough of the Senators if a majority of the Senators just like in the House of Commons a majority of members of the House of Commons say yes majority of senators say yes then it goes to the Governor General and the governor-general signs it into law Governor General never says no it is just symbolic right we understand this and then it is a new law so sometimes things go back and forth and back and forth and banks Penryn so sometimes something goes to the House of Commons and the House of Commons says and more committee please and then goes back to committee and goes back to the house and back and forth back and forth back and forth and sometimes it goes to the Senate and then the Senate goes back to committee and then doot-doot doot-doot you know and the Senate has its own committees too which makes it more complicated but the basic idea is that it usually goes in this order you know sometimes it goes up and back and forth and back and forth now the Senate which we know is weird and controversial because it is weird and controversial and a lot of people don't like it the Senate almost always says yes to everything just like the governor-general says yes to everything the Senate also says yes to everything do you know the expression in English when you say something is a rubber-stamp that is what they sometimes say the Senate is you know the Senate is just like yes yes yes yes paycheck please you know now we're going to talk about the other governments of Canada not just the national government we're going to talk about the provincial governments so every province of Canada has its own independent government provincial governments work very similar to the Canadian government which we also call the federal government we remember this because Canada is a federal state which means that the Government of Canada is called the federal government it is the national government but there's also many other governments we are now going to talk about the provincial governments now provincial government is kind of easy to understand because it is organized in the exact same way as the federal government is organized as the Government of Canada is organized the only difference is provincial governments are smaller and they use different names the governor-general of the province is called a lieutenant governor the Prime Minister of a province is called the premier the Parliament of Canada British Columbia it's called the Legislative Assembly of BC and an MP in British Columbia is called an MLA everything works the exact same way so just like how Canada is cut up into 338 little pieces each piece has an MP British Columbia is cut up into I don't remember 80 something I think pieces and each one has its own MLA and you know the person that wins the most seats in the Legislative Assembly the boss of the political party becomes the premier in the same way that somebody becomes Prime Minister of Canada by winning the most seats in the House of Commons the biggest difference I guess you could say between the Canadian government and the provincial government is that provincial governments do not have a Senate other than that they are structured the exact same way division of powers being a federal state means that the provincial governments and the Canadian governments have different powers and can only make laws about certain things so this makes sense because it would be very confusing if the Canadian government and the provincial government could make laws aboot the same things because then you'd have laws that would contradict each other or would conflict with each other it is also silly to think that British Columbia could be controlling the army or you know British Columbia printing the money or you know stuff like that the way that the Constitution of Canada is set up is it give certain power only to the federal government and certain powers only to the provincial governments who can make laws about what so the Canadian government the federal government in Ottawa can make laws about serious crimes like murder theft and this kind of thing this is called criminal law the Canadian government can make laws aboot the military they can make laws about coins and paper money they can make laws about our relationships with other countries and they can make laws aboot citizenship provincial governments control schools hospitals oil gas and electricity highways are run by the provincial government although there are some Canadian highways too and then there are also buses and bridges so you know TransLink we ride the buses on that's controlled by the provincial government and of course how are these things paid for they are paid for by taxes right and different levels of government collect different types of taxes so we pay the GST right that goes to the federal government helps pay for all of these things we also pay our federal income tax which goes to the Canadian government but then we also pay our PST our provincial service tax which goes to Victoria and we pay our provincial income tax as well which also goes to Victoria so you see these are very there's a strong line between the two different things that the two different kinds of government can do sometimes they work together mostly when it has to do with money you know the provincial government wants to make a new hospital but there's not enough money so then they go and ask the Canadian government for some money to pay for it but even then it's still technically the provincial government that's making the decision even if the money is sometimes a little bit mixed together then of course we have another level of government which is the city government city governments which we also sometimes call municipal government municipal just means city our governments created by the provinces to help govern smaller communities within a province provinces are big just like Canada is big it is difficult for Victoria to run everything in the entire province of British Columbia so as a result the province is split up into many small little communities those communities are called cities or towns or villages and they have their own governments too they do not have very good powers or very many powers they are the powers that Victoria or that the provincial government doesn't want to deal with or that they think are best handled by a small government that is very close to the people these powers include things like garbage collection today is garbage day where I live that will be picked up by the garbage trucks that are run by the city government not by Victoria not by Ottawa but by the city of Coquitlam libraries like the one we're in right now this was paid for and run by the library board which I used to be on which is part of the city government sewers run by the city government property and construction so you know when you're building new buildings in Coquitlam they have to pass certain tests and standards that the municipal government makes regulation of business I don't know if any of you guys are business owners you often have to get approval from the city government if you want to run your own business you see those little pieces of paper that they always have hung up in restaurants those are often business licenses from the city government this is the mayor of Coquitlam and this is the City Council the leader of a city is called the mayor the Parliament of a city is called the City Council they are all elected by voters cities are run by a mayor and a City Council the City Council is kind of like a parliament because they pass the laws but you know it is very small group of people so they don't have a lot of fancy rules the way that the Parliament does it's basically you know someone comes up with an idea and they vote yes or no in some cities the mayor has extra powers sometimes he does not have any extra powers sometimes he is just a member of the group but also does sort of symbol things symbolic things like the governor-general does this is a fun tradition in this country in Canada this is a mayor he's wearing a chain in Canada mayors on special occasions wear these chains and the chain every piece on the chain is from a different mayor you know the city is around for a long time and then it becomes very long and heavy chain when you go to the Coquitlam City Council they have it in a box and you can look at it there was a story in the news recently where there was this young mayor in Ontario and he wear the chain all the time he wore it to his wedding you know he wore it just at the house he put it on his dog you know and it was like a very controversial because the chain is very important and so the City Council passed a law that said you cannot use the chain that way anymore and then so he just went to the store and bought his own chain and now he wears that all the time so laughs part of the Government of Canada is the courts Canada's courts are the bodies that enforce the laws of Canada and punish people who are guilty of breaking the law when the Parliament or the provincial Parliament or the City Council or whoever passes a law obviously there are consequences if you break the law when you break the law the police will arrest you and maybe put you in jail for a little while and then you eventually get to talk to a judge talk to the courts of Canada to decide if you are going to stay in prison or if you are going to be free if you are going to be punished if you are going to be given a fine or if you're going to get off there are different levels of courts in Canada that handle different sorts of law courts decisions can be appealed to a higher level so this is an important concept of the Canadian government as well there are low level courts at both the federal and the provincial level it is complicated I think you guys do a whole different section on law and stuff so I won't talk about this too much but basically there are federal courts and there are provincial courts that deal with different kinds of laws it is not so simple as to say federal courts deal with federal laws provincial courts deal with provincial laws that's too easy it's more complicated than that but basically depending on the kind of crime that you are accused of committing you will go to a certain court at one of these levels but the important thing about Canada's democratic system is that if the judge says guilty and you don't think the judge is right you can appeal to a higher court where there will be multiple judges not just one but several judges who will hear your appeal and if that you think that they are wrong too you can appeal to the highest court which is the Supreme Court so the Supreme Court of Canada is the highest level of court and can throw out laws that they think violate the Canadian Constitution so this is a very important power sometimes Ottawa or Victoria or wherever else sometimes they pass a law that is a very bad law that violates the Canadian Constitution that law violates a fundamental freedom that the Constitution promises us this is very controversial concept and it is hard for me to give you an example that is not very controversial as well because laws that violate the Canadian Constitution are almost always very controversial laws so for example there was at one time there was laws in this country that made it difficult for a woman to have an abortion and that was considered you know the politicians thought that was the right thing to do but there was a lot of women who thought that that was a bad law and they said that it violated the Constitution so you know an abortion doctor who was arrested for breaking this law he went all the way up to the Supreme Court and then they threw away that law and they said that no this is a right it was this was the same way that there was you know prostitution was recently legalized in this country and that went through this way as well there is a law that violates what you believe to be a sacred freedom a right that the Constitution of Canada gives you on the basis of you know your gender or your race or or even something else like that just a fundamental freedom your freedom of expression here's another controversial example the government has laws on the books that says that you cannot say very very cruel things about homosexual people and there was a guy that would hand out flyers that said you know homosexual people are evil and wicked and they're gonna go to hell in this kind of thing and he was arrested for distributing hate propaganda but he said the Constitution says I have freedom of speech I have freedom to say whatever I want in Canada and then the government said no you don't have freedom to say hateful things that can cause people to be you know exposed to violence or hatred or you know this kind of thing so he argued all the way up to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court said no hate speech it is okay to have laws that ban distributing hate speech anti-homosexual sort of things so it is controversial the Supreme Court of Canada has to take very seriously very serious cases in which people feel that their fundamental rights their rights that the Canadian Constitution promises are being violated getting to go to the Supreme Court is very difficult the Supreme Court will not here you know your parking ticket that you're angry about they will only hear most very serious cases that involve something very important to all of our rights as Canadian people appeals courts at the lower level they might hear something a little bit less important but everything starts at the smallest level everything starts with a normal person like you or I getting arrested for something that we think is wrong and if we think it's wrong enough it can get up to the highest level most judges are appointed by the prime minister or the provincial premier so this is another power that the Prime Minister and the provincial premiers have they pick the people that go in these courts the courts are kind of like the Senate though generally you get to stay in until you are 75 years old there is some story in the news right now because the one of the judges on the Supreme Court is almost 75 so Prime Minister Trudeau has to pick a new person to replace her and so because the Supreme Court has so much power everybody is watching that very closely to see who it will be voting any Canadian citizen over the age of 18 can vote in any federal provincial or city election you can only vote for politicians representing the city where you live so you people cannot vote because you are not Canadian citizens I can vote because I am you will be able to vote soon when you pass your citizenship test but you can only vote if you are over the age of 18 and you have to vote for the politician in the city where you live I live in Coquitlam I can vote for MP Member of Parliament for the House of Commons when there's an election for that I can vote for m/l a member of the provincial parliament when there's an election for that I can vote for the mayor and city council of Coquitlam when there's an election for that but I cannot go to Vancouver and vote for their elections you have to only vote where you live and when you go to vote they often ask you to show proof that you live where you say you are you know you have to show like your mail or your card or something that has your address on it voting in Canada is very private when you vote you get to vote behind these little shield things so nobody sees what you're doing and you get to put it in this box so no one can see it it doesn't have your name on it or any other sort of identifying symbols you don't have to tell anybody how you voted if you don't want to and yes somebody asked about this before house of common elections is set by law once every four years is in October provincial elections are every four years in May but the government's also have the power to change the day of elections if they want to we are at the end here is the summary Canada has three levels of government we have the federal government which is the government of all of Canada we have the provincial government which is the ten governments of Canada's provinces and we have the municipal government which is the hundreds of government's running Canada's cities in addition to having three levels we also talk about three branches of government so you have the executive branch the legislative branch and they do judicial branch so the executive branch is the leaders of the government who carry out the laws so this is executive branch is like the people like the the important people within the government so that includes the Queen the Prime Minister mayor governor-general and the cabinet ministers they are the powerful individuals who make the decisions but they are also the people that have to help carry out the laws so you know if the Parliament passes a law that says you know the taxes should be cut then the Finance Minister is the guy that has to go along and make sure that that happens if the Parliament passes a law changing what is in the immigration book well then the immigration Minister has to go and change that the legislative branch of the government is the groups of people who pass the laws so this is more this is easier to understand whenever you have a big group of people who pass laws together that's called a legislative branch of government that includes the House of Commons and the Senate the City Council the provincial government and then there is the judicial branch of government this is the governor brown sugar mint that enforces the laws or sometimes rejects them so that is what I was talking about before the judge is the Supreme Court we have the three branches but within the three branches there are these three so you know executive in the federal government is prime minister and cabinet House of Commons Senate you know federal courts Supreme Court in the provincial government it would be the premier and the Premier's cabinet provincial assembly the provincial courts right same within the in the municipal government it would be the mayor it would be the City Council and it would be the city courts to the extent those exist and here is a summary this shows how it all fits together so we will go over this quickly what is this what's happening here yeah there's voting and who are we voting for we are voting for yeah we're voting for Parliament but what part of Parliament yeah House of Commons the the boss of the party that has the most seats in the House of Commons is yes is the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau the boss of the Liberal Party the Prime Minister appoints this person the governor-general right who represents the yes and then the Prime Minister also picks these people who are what yeah the cabinet and the cabinet comes from where yes so both the Prime Minister and the cabinet are from the House of Commons the Prime Minister appoints the and the yes and the judges but we also vote for yeah the provincial government the the Parliament the Legislative Assembly and we also vote for and the yes and the mayor okay very good that is everything so do we have any questions about anything I've talked about today

Maurice Vega

23 Responses

  1. I have posted the slides to this presentation on my Patreon page, available to anyone who makes an any-size monthly donation: https://www.patreon.com/posts/15559247

  2. I started watching this video with zero knowledge about Canadian federalism and by the end of it you got me ready for tomorrow's exam. Very well explained, thank you.

  3. Who ever came up with this whole system is a fucking idiot why couldn’t they make it more simpler thousands off ppl making decisions
    Idd love to see how much each one off them gets payed per year and there full tax return these motherfuckers are toning hard working people like my self ITS A BIG CLUB AND 95% OFF US IS NOT INVITED
    Also ARBITRALY ASSED TAXES ITS WHEN you didn’t file for business that you stoped operating ok no problem you owe us 200.000$ we’d like to have it payed in 30 days
    You didn’t make that much it ok just pay full amount we don’t care take it to court ps you only have 90 days to file otherwise you pay full amount
    NO ONE GETS TAGHT IN SCHOOL ABOUT THIS SHIT NO WONDER EVERYONE GETTING BIG MAPLE LEAF DILDO IN THERE ASS EVERY TIME

  4. Do provincial courts in Canada have an appellate level of courts similar to the State of California's court system having a California Court of Appeal?

  5. Thank you for caring this. I’ve always been fascinated by things Canadian, and I am thankful to have a boots-on-the-ground perspective by a Canadian about Canada. English is my first language and I’m thankful you were as explicit as you were. I did not take you to be condescending at all.

  6. i am really not a fan of the queen she can get bent and im canadian i want our own 100% canadian rule with no queen we behold too

  7. Whoa this is the longest youtube video I think I've ever watched.. For some reason I couldn't look away.

  8. Let's talk about the separation of AG and JM. Cause no one as corrupt as Trudeau, while it not be true, but when you champion one thing and do exactly the opposite, we should have those two role separated and than indict the PM over liying to Canadians.

  9. 2008 parliament was prorogued, If you are going to teach things about the Canadian government then you should probably learn your facts.

  10. This should be mandatory viewing for all Canadians, immigrant or otherwise. It still baffles me that this sort of thing isn't taught in most Canadian schools.

  11. Only works for lower class that pay fk all tax , where middle class screwed over with high taxes in Canada

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