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Sovereignty

Sovereignty is an abstract legal concept. It also has political, social and economic implications. In strictly legal terms, sovereignty describes the power of a state to govern itself and its subjects. In this sense, sovereignty is the highest source of the law. With Confederation and the passage of the British North America Act, 1867, Canada’s Parliament was still legally under the authority of the British Parliament. By 1949, Canada had become fully sovereign in relation to Great Britain. This was due to landmark legislation such as the Statute of Westminster (1931). The Constitution Act, 1982 swept away Britain’s leftover authority. Questions of sovereignty have also been raised by Indigenous peoples in Canada and by separatists in Quebec. The latter, for a time, championed the concept of sovereignty-association.

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Local Government

Local government is the level of government below the provinces. The most important local governments are the MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENTS. Under the constitution, the provinces have exclusive jurisdiction over municipal affairs (see MUNICIPAL-PROVINCIAL RELATIONS).

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Defence Research

Defence research, initiation and development of weapons or technologies likely to be useful in national defence, is a comparatively recent phenomenon in Canada.

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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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Minority Governments in Canada

A minority government exists when the governing party does not hold a majority of seats in the House of Commons (or provincial legislature) but is still able to command the confidence of the House. Minority governments also exist at the provincial level and in Yukon, but not in Northwest Territories or Nunavut, which do not have political parties and are governed by consensus governments.

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Socialism

Socialism is a political doctrine that criticizes the existence of social, economic and political inequality in society. Seeking to lessen class inequality, socialists call for a redistribution of power from the affluent owners to the working class.

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Canada West

In 1841, Britain united the colonies of Upper and Lower Canada into the Province of Canada. This was in response to the violent rebellions of 1837–38. The Durham Report (1839) laid out the guidelines to create the new colony with the Act of Union in 1840. The Province of Canada was made up of Canada West (formerly Upper Canada) and Canada East (formerly Lower Canada). The two regions were governed jointly until Confederation in 1867. Canada West then became Ontario and Canada East became Quebec.

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Canadian Party System

Political parties are organizations that seek to control government and participate in public affairs by nominating candidates for elections. Since there are typically multiple groups that wish to do this, political parties are best thought of as part of a party system, which is the way political parties conduct themselves in order to structure political competition.

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Premier

A premier is the chief minister of a provincial government. Because of the shared framework of cabinet government, the office of provincial premier is similar to that held by Canada's Prime Minister.

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Allotment of Time

Allotment of Time, rules of the House of Commons, Standing Orders 115, 116 and 117, often confused by the media with the closure rule, S.O. 57. Since 1968 most bills pass the committee stage in the standing committees and may be amended at the report stage, but S.O.

Macleans

Vancouver Mayor, BC Premier at Odds

Jim Green, long-time champion of Vancouver's downtrodden, was yakking on his cellphone last week, trying to make sense of the Nov. 16 city election that swept him, and the entire left-leaning Coalition of Progressive Electors slate, into office, when he was greeted by a panhandling constituent.

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Double Shuffle

After the George-Étienne Cartier-John A. MacDonald ministry in the Province of Canada was forced to resign on 29 July 1858, a Reform ministry was formed under George Brown and A.A. Dorion.

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Peace, Order and Good Government

“Peace, order and good government” is a phrase that is used in section 91 of the British North America Act of 1867 (now called the Constitution Act, 1867). It offers a vague and broad definition of the Canadian Parliament’s lawmaking authority over provincial matters. Since Confederation, it has caused tensions between federal and provincial governments over the distribution of powers. The phrase has also taken on a value of its own with Canadians beyond its constitutional purpose. It has come to be seen as the Canadian counterpart to the American “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and the French “liberty, equality, fraternity.”