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Article TitleCanadian governance VS American governance... know your facts!
ContentsCanadian governance VS American governance... know your facts!

Canada’s federal government is effectively composed of a single layer of elected representatives (House of Commons), including the prime minister (and his/her appointed cabinet ministers). It is a parliamentary system based solely on population; the greater the number of people in a province the more seats it will have in parliament. Because Central Canada is so heavily populated, Ontario has 76 seats, Quebec 35 for a total of 111 seats, while the West has a total of only 104 (Alberta 34).

Because Canadian Senators are appointed by the prime minister they are seldom inclined to challenge legislation from the House. They are politically compromised and impotent.

A prime minister is the leader of the party with the most seats. If the winning party gains a majority, the PM will control what legislation is brought to the floor for consideration and will coerce his/her members to pass it.

The plain fact is that a prime minister with a majority has unbridled power; with a minority he/she must work with another party to pass laws. In our case, the Liberals are using the support of the NDP.

America on the other hand, has three equal branches of government: the Legislative (House of Representatives and the Senate), Executive (President and his Cabinet) and the Judiciary (Supreme Court and other federal judges).
The House of Representatives is based on population (like the House of Commons) but the Senate is composed of 2 elected senators from each state. It is far more powerful than the House and has the right and responsibility to defeat bills from the House if they are unconstitutional or seen as damaging to the Union. It truly is the chamber of “sober second thought”.

Once bills have successfully passed through the Senate, the president will sign the new law or reject it. The president has 10 days to sign a bill into law or he/she may decide to veto it. However, if the bill has passed the Senate with 2/3 approval it cannot be vetoed. Contrary to popular belief, a president cannot create laws or declare war— those duties are the prerogative of Congress.

Since Alberta became a province (1905) its people have tried to gain more representation to correct the federal government’s imbalance. Historically there have been movements and even political parties focused on achieving more representation: the the Reform party promoted a Triple E Senate (Elected, Equal and Effective— power to stop bills).

However, our quest for adequate representation has never been successful as Central Canada has no reason or desire to lose its power/control over other regions in Canada.

Such a dilemma could never occur under the American Constitution.
Media TypeLead_Article
SourceGeorgina Semeniuk