Canada is a constitutional monarchy, wherein the Queen is the Head of the State. The Governor General and ten Lieutenant Governors (from the ten provinces) are the Queen's representatives. The Governor General is elected by the Queen on the Prime Minister’s advice. The Lieutenant Governors are appointed by the Governor General on the Prime Minister’s recommendation.
(Source: Canadian Heritage, Canadian Heritage)
The political parties active in the country include:
- Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada
- Bloc Québécois
- Canadian Action Party
- Christian Heritage Party of Canada
- Communist Party of Canada
- Conservative Party of Canada
- First Peoples National Party of Canada
- Green Party of Canada
- Liberal Party of Canada
- Libertarian Party of Canada
- Marijuana Party
- Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada
- New Democratic Party
- People's Political Power Party of Canada
- Pirate Party of Canada
- Progressive Canadian Party
- Rhinoceros Party
- United Party of Canada
- Western Block Party
(Source: Elections Canada)
The current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, was appointed in February 2006. David Johnston has been the Governor General since July 2010.
(Source: Prime Minister of Canada, Governor General of Canada)
The Government in Canada is based on a Parliamentary system. The responsibilities are shared between the federal and the provincial governments
Canada’s economic freedom score is 80.8, making its economy the sixth freest in the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom. In North America, Canada ranks first. The country’s overall score is 0.4 points higher than last year.
The Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is a survey to measure the perceived level of corruption across countries worldwide. Canada is ranked sixth in 2010 on this list indicating low levels of corruption in the country’s public department.
Canada’s CPI ranking has improved since 2008 – it was ranked ninth with a score of 8.7 and in 2009 was ranked at eighth.
Freedom of Information
The country’s media have a free environment to present their views and opinion. The Access to Information Act provides citizens the right to access government controlled information, with certain exemptions.
(Source: Library of Parliament)
The World Press Freedom Index 2010 ranks Canada at the 21st position with a score of 7.00, indicating moderate levels of government influence on the media.
The provincial governments are responsible for the constitution, organization and maintenance of courts in the provinces. They do not have the power to appoint judges to the superior courts in the provinces. This power is vested with the federal government.
The courts are organised in a four-tiered structure, comprising:
- The Supreme Court;
- The Federal court of Appeal and various provincial courts of appeal;
- The Federal Court, the Tax Court of Canada and the provincial and territorial superior courts of general jurisdiction; and
- Provincial courts at the lower level
The provincial courts in the lowest tier are divided as per various subject matters such as the Traffic Division, Small Claims Division, Family Division, and Criminal Division among others.
There are about 750 court locations in Canada with the Supreme Court of Canada based in Ottawa. The three federally established courts, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court and the Tax Court of Canada are in seventeen locations. In addition, provincial and territorial courts are situated at more than 700 locations, including 15 permanent provincial and territorial appellate court locations.
(Source: Supreme Court of Canada)