The Dominion of Canada, is a country in North America consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean. At 9.98 million sq km in total, Canada is the world's second-largest country by total area, and its common border with the United States is the world's longest land border shared by the same two countries.
The British North America Act, 1867, (BNA Act), created a federal dominion and defines much of the operation of the Government of Canada, including its federal structure, the House of Commons, the Senate, the justice system, and the taxation system.
According to the BNA Act, Canada has a parliamentary system within the context of a constitutional monarchy, the monarchy of Canada being the foundation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The Statute of Westminster 1924 granted full autonomy The sovereign is King of the United Kingdom who serves as head of state and of each of Canada's ten provinces. As such, the King's representative, the Governor General of Canada, carries out most of the federal royal duties in Canada.
The direct participation of the royal and viceroyal figures in areas of governance is limited. In practice, their use of the executive powers is directed by the Cabinet, a committee of ministers of the Crown responsible to the elected House of Commons and chosen and headed by the Prime Minister of Canada, the head of government. The governor general or monarch may, though, in certain crisis situations exercise their power without ministerial advice. To ensure the stability of government, the governor general will usually appoint as prime minister the person who is the current leader of the political party that can obtain the confidence of a plurality in the House of Commons. The leader of the party with the second-most seats usually becomes the Leader of His Majesty's Loyal Opposition and is part of an adversarial parliamentary system intended to keep the government in check.
Each of the members of parliament in the House of Commons is elected by simple plurality in an electoral district or riding. General elections must be called by the governor general, either on the advice of the prime minister, within five years of the previous election, or if the government loses a confidence vote in the House. The members of the Senate, whose seats are apportioned on a regional basis, serve for life.
The Supreme Court of Canada—the country's court of last resort—has nine justices appointed by the governor general on recommendation by the prime minister and led by the Chief Justice of Canada, and hears appeals from decisions rendered by the various appellate courts from the provinces and territories. Below this is the Federal Court, which hears cases arising under certain areas of federal law.
Parties that have representatives elected to the federal parliament are: Conservative Party, the Liberal Party, Social Credit League (conservative-populist) and the Progressive Labour Party (a coalition of provincial farmer and labour groups). Of importance at provincial and local level are the Communist Party of Canada (CPC) and Union Nationale du Quebec.
In contrast with the political party systems of many nations, the majority of Canadian parties at the federal level are often only loosely connected with parties at provincial level, despite having similar names.
Canada's federal structure divides government responsibilities between the federal government and the ten provinces. Provincial legislatures are bicameral and operate in parliamentary fashion similar to the House of Commons, The head of government of each province, called the premier, is generally the head of the party with the most seats. The King's representative to each province is the Lieutenant Governor. In each of the territories there is an analogous Commissioner, but he or she represents the federal government and not the monarch per se. Canada's two territories also have legislatures, but these are not sovereign and have fewer constitutional responsibilities than the provinces. The territorial legislatures also differ structurally from their provincial counterparts.
Provinces and territories of Canada
|Province||Capital|| Largest city|
|Entered Confederation|| Population||Area: total (km2)||Main Language(s)|
|Quebec||Quebec City||Montreal||1867||1,542,056||English and French|
|New Brunswick||Fredericton||Saint John||1867||72,908||English and French|
|Manitoba||Winnipeg||Winnipeg||1870||647,797||English and French|
|Prince Edward Island||Charlottetown||Charlottetown||1873||5,660||English|
|Newfoundland||St. John's||St. John's||1935||405,212||English|
|Territory||Capital and largest city||Entered Confederation||Population||Area: total (km2)||Main languages|
|Northwest Territories||Fort Smith (Administrative capital, Ottawa is legislative capital)||1870||3,439,296||
English and aboriginal languages (mainly Inuvialuktun, Cree and Ojibwe)
Since the early 20th century, the growth of Canada's manufacturing, mining, and service sectors has transformed the nation from a largely rural economy to an urbanized, industrial one.
The Minister of National Defence is responsible for the management and direction of all matters relating to the national defence of Canada and the armed forces. The services of the armed force are the following
- Canadian Militia
- Royal Canadian Navy. In case of emergency, the fleet can be turned over to the British Government.
- Canadian Air Force (CAF 1918-1920) Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF 1920 to date)
- The Canadian Expeditionary Force was the designation of the field force created by Canada for service overseas in the First World War.