Politics & Law | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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  • Article

    Budgetary Process

    Canada's federal and provincial governments follow a budgetary process, designed to ensure control, accountability and planning in the spending of public money.

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  • Article


    Bureaucracy may be defined as a formal organizational arrangement characterized by division of labour, specialization of functions, a hierarchy of authority and a system of rules, regulations and record keeping. In common usage, it refers to the administrative branch of government.

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  • Article

    Bureaucracy and Formal Organization

    The term bureaucracy is traditionally associated with the administration of government and its various agencies.

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  • Article


    The term "burglary" no longer names a Criminal Code offence, although the activities formerly so labelled remain crimes. Burglary and related activities were recognized as offences early in the development of English COMMON LAW.

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  • Article

    By-election in Canada

    A by-election is a special election in one riding. It is typically held to fill a seat in a legislature that is left vacant by the death or resignation of a member of that legislature. By-elections seldom earn much attention beyond the ridings in which they take place. Voter turnout is often lower than in general elections. However, by-elections can be nationally important if a riding switches from one party to another, and if that change alters the balance of power in the House of Commons or a provincial legislature. By-election results can also be important indicators of the popularity of a government, of parties, and of party leaders.

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  • Article


    In Canada’s parliamentary system of government, the cabinet is the committee of ministers that holds executive power. Cabinets are chaired by the prime minister (or in the provinces, by the premier). Ministers are typically elected politicians drawn from the party holding the most seats in the House of Commons (or the provincial legislature). Cabinets are traditionally strong, consensus-driven bodies; although some believe their influence is waning in the face of powerful prime ministers and their advisers.

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  • Article

    Cabinet (Plain-Language Summary)

    The Cabinet is a committee of ministers. It holds executive power in government. This means it has the power to execute, or carry out, the government’s plans. Cabinets are chaired by the prime minister. In the provinces, they are chaired by the premier. Ministers typically come from the party with the most seats. They oversee major departments, such as finance, health, natural resources, etc. Cabinets are usually strong and driven by agreement. But some believe they have grown weaker as the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has grown stronger. This article is a plain-language summary of Cabinet. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry: Cabinet.

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  • Article

    Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec

    The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) was established by an act of the National Assembly on 15 July 1965. The CDPQ was created to  manage funds deposited by the Québec Pension Plan (QPP), a public insurance plan similar to the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP). The CDPQ is a global investment group with 10 international offices. As of 30 June 2021 the CDPQ’s net assets totaled $390 billion.

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  • Article

    Calder Case

    The Calder case (1973) — named for politician and Nisga’a chief Frank Calder, who brought the case before the courts — reviewed the existence of Aboriginal title (i.e., ownership) claimed over lands historically occupied by the Nisga’a peoples of northwestern British Columbia. While the case was lost, the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling nevertheless recognized for the first time that Aboriginal title has a place in Canadian law. The Calder case (also known as Calder et al. v. Attorney General of British Columbia) is considered the foundation for the Nisga’a Treaty in 2000 — the first modern land claim in British Columbia that gave the Nisga’a people self-government.

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  • Article

    Cameras in the Court

    Canadian courts are open to any member of the public if there is the space, if the court is near enough to them and if they can find the time to attend. For years Canadian media have argued for television camera access to court proceedings.

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  • Article

    Canada and the Cold War (Plain Language Summary)

    During the Cold War, most of the world was divided into two camps. The "West" was led by the US and the "East" was led by the Soviet Union. Canada sided with the West. The Cold War started after the Second World War. It ended in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed. There was no direct or "hot" war between the two superpowers. But tensions were high, and people were afraid of nuclear war. Some smaller wars were fought, like the Korean War. (This article is a plain-language summary of the Cold War. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry, Canada and the Cold War.)

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  • Article

    Canada and the Iraq War

    The Iraq War (2003–11) was fought against Iraq by a coalition of 46 countries led by the United States and the United Kingdom. The decision to go to war was based in part on faulty intelligence and assumptions about the Iraqi manufacture and storage of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The war was conducted in two phases, a brief conventional one in March and April 2003 and a much longer counterinsurgency operation, which ended in December 2011. Despite American and British pressure, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien refused to publicly support the war. Ostensibly, this was because there was no United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution authorizing the operation, although several other factors were involved.

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  • Article

    Canada and the Responsibility to Protect (R2P)

    The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is a non-binding political commitment made by United Nations Member States to protect populations from genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and war crimes. Canadian leadership was instrumental in the establishment of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) in 2000, which led to the development and eventual adoption of R2P at the 2005 UN World Summit (see also Canada and Peacekeeping).

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  • Article

    Canada and the United States

    "The Americans are our best friends whether we like it or not." This statement, uttered in the House of Commons by  Robert Thompson, the leader of the Social Credit Party early in the 1960s, perhaps best captures the essence of Canada's complex relationship with its nearest neighbour.

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  • Macleans

    Canada Backsliding on Kyoto Pledges

    IT'S A TRUE believer's kind of tale. The day after Canada officially ratified the Kyoto Protocol on CLIMATE CHANGE in December 2002, David Anderson was in New York City to deposit the freshly signed paper with the Treaty Section of the United Nations.This article was originally published in Maclean's Magazine on February 28, 2005

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