Elections are a process in which Canadian citizens express their preferences about who will represent and govern them. Those preferences are combined to decide which candidates will become Members of Parliament. Elections are fundamental to the operation of democracy in Canada as they are the central means by which citizens grant authority to those who govern them.
The Saskatchewan Party is a provincial political party formed in 1997 by a coalition of Liberals and Progressive Conservatives seeking to offer a viable governing alternative to the New Democratic Party (NDP). Since 2007, the Saskatchewan Party has won three straight elections, holding power in the province under leader and Premier Brad Wall. In 2018, Wall stepped down and was replaced as premier and party leader by Scott Moe, who served in Wall’s executive council from 2014–17.
The Parti Québécois (PQ) is a nationalist political party formed in Québec in 1968 through the merger of the Mouvement souveraineté-association and the Ralliement national. René Lévesque was the PQ’s first leader and held that position until 1985. The party was elected to its first term in office in 1976 and went on to hold two referendums on Québec sovereignty: one in 1980 and the other in 1995.
Founded in 1961, the New Democratic Party (NDP) is a social democratic political party that has formed the government in several provinces but never nationally. In 2011, it enjoyed an historic electoral breakthrough, becoming the official opposition in Parliament for the first time. Four years later, despite hopes of winning a federal election, the NDP was returned to a third place position in the House of Commons.
The most visible and recognized part of the Canadian Constitution, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, guarantees the rights of individuals by enshrining those rights, and certain limits on them, in the highest law of the land. Since its enactment in 1982, the Charter has created a social and legal revolution in Canada, expanding the rights of minorities, transforming the nature of criminal investigations and prosecutions, and subjecting the will of Parliament and the legislatures to judicial scrutiny—an ongoing source of controversy.
The Council of the Federation (COF, also known as “Canada’s Premiers”) is the organization which supports top-level provincial-territorial (PT) relations in Canada. It was founded in 2003 as a formalization of the Annual Premiers’ Conference, which had occurred annually from 1960 to 2003. Although frequently focused on the federal government, COF also serves as an increasingly important forum for provincial-territorial relations (separate from the federal government) in Canada.
The Canada‒United States Safe Third Country Agreement (hereafter the STCA) sets out the rules of refugee/asylum claims between Canada and the United States. This agreement stipulates that a refugee must claim asylum in the first country in which they arrive, either Canada or the US, and precludes their entry into the neighbouring country unless they qualify for an exemption. A number of challenges have been raised to the agreement, particularly since July 2017 — as a result of concerns about human rights protections in the US after the election of President Donald Trump, and particularly his executive orders on immigration.
Immigration policy is the most explicit part of a government's population policy. In a democratic state such as Canada, immigration (migrants entering Canada) – is the most common form of regulating the population. Since Confederation, immigration policy has been tailored to grow the population, settle the land, and provide labour and financial capital for the economy. Immigration policy also tends to reflect the racial attitudes or national security concerns of the time.1
The movement of nationals of one country into another for the purpose of resettlement is central to Canadian history. The story of Canadian immigration is not one of orderly population growth; it has been and remains both a catalyst to Canadian economic development and a mirror of Canadian attitudes and values; it has often been unashamedly and economically self-serving and ethnically or racially biased.1
Drafted in January 1834 by Louis-Joseph Papineau, leader of the Parti patriote, and Augustin-Norbert Morin, the 92 Resolutions were a list of grievances and demands made by the Parti patriote with regards to the state of the colonial political system. They were drafted following a long political struggle against the governor general and Château Clique and the Patriotes’ inability to produce any significant reforms. The document critiqued the division of authority in the colony and demanded a government that was responsible to the Legislative Assembly. The imperial government responded with the Russell Resolutions, which rejected their demands, preparing the way for the Canadian Rebellion.
The Liberal Party has dominated federal politics for much of Canada's history, using the formula for success of straddling the political center developed under the leadership of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Liberals have formed numerous governments and provided Canada with 10 prime ministers, but the party has also experienced defeat and internal divisions. Most recently, in the election of October 2015, the party rose from third to first place in the House of Commons, winning a majority government under leader Justin Trudeau.
Although the Reform (that is to say liberal) Party swept the constituencies like a broom, the principle that the majority party controls parliament was not yet established. Colonial government was still firmly in the grip of the governor, who was appointed by London.
The term Family Compact is an epithet, or insulting nickname, used to describe the network of people who dominated the legislative, bureaucratic, business, religious and judicial centres of power in Upper Canada (Ontario) from the early- to mid-1800s. Members of the Family Compact held largely conservative and loyalist views and were notably against democratic reform and responsible government. By the mid-19th century, immigration, the union of Upper and Lower Canada, and the pressure of various democratic reformers had diminished the Family Compact’s power. The equivalent to the Family Compact in Lower Canada was the Château Clique.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an economic pact between Canada, the United States and Mexico. Designed to eliminate all trade and investment barriers between the three countries, the agreement came into force on 1 January 1994. In addition to being one of the most ambitious trade agreements in history, NAFTA also created the world’s largest free trade area. It brought together two wealthy developed countries (Canada and the United States) with a less developed state (Mexico). The agreement built on the earlier Canada-US Free Trade Agreement (CUSFTA), which came into effect on 1 January 1989. After NAFTA was signed, trade and investment relations between the three countries expanded rapidly, but political co-operation remained weak. NAFTA continues to be controversial, particularly in the United States. Recently elected US president Donald Trump has threatened to renegotiate or cancel the deal.