About Canada — страница 2

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funds in Quebec related to advertising contracts. As a result, voters in Quebec abandoned the Liberal Party in droves reducing its seats in that province to 13 in 2006 from 21 in the 2004 election. The Conservative Party was able to gain 10 seats in Quebec, the most a moderate-to-conservative party was able to win in Quebec in four previous federal elections. Unlike the system of government in the United States, where citizens vote separately for the President and their local candidate for the House of Representatives, in the Parliamentary system of government such as Canada’s, a citizen votes only for his or her local representative. This has the effect of combining power between both the executive and legislative branches of government. Executive power is exercised by the

Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers, all of whom are sworn into the Queen's Privy Council for Canada to become Ministers of the Crown and responsible to the elected House of Commons. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are formally appointed by the Governor General (who is the Monarch's representative in Canada). However, the Prime Minister chooses the Cabinet, and by convention, the Governor General respects the Prime Minister's choices. There is no committee that confirms or disconfirms the Prime Minister’s choice of a cabinet minister. The Prime Minister exercises vast political power, especially in the appointment of government officials, civil servants, Supreme Court and provincial appellate justices, as well as appointments to various boards, commissions, tribunals, crown

corporations, and even the Senate-all with little or no oversight. This has led many critics inside and outside of government circles to argue for some controls/oversight on the vast amount of patronage positions afforded the Prime Minister’s Office. This power was cited by many critics as the reason for the corruption scandal which rocked the Liberal Party in 2004. The current Prime Minister has said that he intends to put oversight mechanisms in place to restore public confidence in government. To that end, against intense opposition from the Liberal Party and in the halls of academia, in February 2006 Canada saw its first-ever public hearing of a proposed Supreme Court justice. Marshall Rothstein was eventually approved in the same month. General elections are called by the

Governor General when the Prime Minister so advises. While there is no minimum term for a Parliament, a new election must be called within five years of the last general election. Increasingly, provincial governments are passing laws implementing set election dates to restore confidence in government after the scandal that put the Liberal Party out of office after the 2006 election. Ontario is holding its first set election date on October 10, 2011. The federal government under the Conservative Party passed similar legislation but then called an election only two years later citing the world recession as the reason. In the past, provincial and federal governments have called surprise elections for no other reason than to take advantage of their leads in the polls. Set election

dates are seen to be fairer to opposition parties. Members of the Senate, whose seats are apportioned on a regional basis, are chosen by the Prime Minister and formally appointed by the Governor General. This has been a continuing subject of controversy. It has been argued that the upper chamber of a bi-cameral system of government should be “Triple E”, i. e., elected, effective and equal among the provinces. Currently, the Senate is made up of former cabinet ministers and MP’s, ex-premiers, etc., and other party loyalists. Critics have argued that unelected Senators have no moral authority to block proposed legislation of elected members of the House of Commons. The current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has proposed that when a Senator retires, the person that fills that

seat should be elected. The proposal has run into stiff opposition from many quarters who have cited constitutional grounds, as from provincial premiers, who would rather be seen as the voice of their respective regions rather than elected Senators. Economy: Canada, one of the world's wealthiest nations with a high per capita income, is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Group of Eight (G8). Canada is a free market economy with slightly more government intervention than in the United States, but much less than most European nations. Canada has traditionally had a lower per capita gross domestic product (GDP) than its southern neighbour but higher than the large western European economies. Since the early 1990's, the Canadian economy