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Federal Government

The Federal Government or Parliament of Canada is made up of three elements - The Sovereign represented by the Governor General, an appointed Upper House called the Senate, and an elected Lower House called the House of Commons. The consent of all three elements is needed for the passage of legislation.


Canada is a Consitutional Monarchy where the Head of State is a Monarch but the powers of the Monarch are defined in a legal document called a Constitution. As in many Constitutional Monarchies, there is a clear separation in roles between the Head of State and the Head of Government. Canada's Head of State is the head of the Commonwealth who is represented in Canada by the Governor General. The Governor General is appointed by The Sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister; Canada's Head of Government is the Prime Minister who is the leader of the party with the most seats in the House of Commons. The Leader of the Official Opposition is the leader of the party with the second most number of seats in the House of Commons. Most government officials in Canada have various titles that come with the job and these officials are all put into an Order of Precedence.

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The Parliament of Canada consists of an upper house, called the Senate, and a lower house, called the House of Commons. Each session of Parliament begins with a Speech from the Throne. There are many interesting statistics about Parliamentarians in Canada - read all about it in Parliamentary Trivia.

The Government's key players also include members of the Cabinet who are the heads of the various Ministries or government departments as well as the Prime Minister's Office and the Privy Council which house advisors to the government on policy matters.

The Judiciary System in Canada is separate from the legislative branch of the government. The court system at the federal level is comprised of the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal which handles civil and criminal matters of federal jurisdiction, the Tax Court which handles all appeals of the tax system and employment insurance matters, and the Supreme Court which acts as the final arbitor of appeals of any other court in the country.

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Political Parties with Representation in the House of Commons

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See also
Provincial Government
Municipal Government
Government Fact Sheets to Download

External Links
Government of Canada Official Website

Copyright Craig I.W. Marlatt