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.
Contemporary observers who may not be thoroughly familiar with the history behind Canadian cultural dualism often have trouble in decoding it. Although the idea of cultural duality appears in laws, in policies on education, religion and language, and in the formulation of the fundamental rights of the provinces, its historical foundations remain hard to define.
The Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste (SSJB), founded in Montréal in 1834 by Ludger Duvernay, is the oldest patriotic association in French North America. With branches at one time located throughout the continent, it has long been engaged in fighting the linguistic and identity battles of francophones in North America. Since the 1960s, the SSJB network has played a crucial role in developing and defining contemporary Québec nationalism.
The Reform Party was a right-wing, populist, western political protest movement that grew to become the official opposition in Parliament in 1997. Reform played a role in the creation of the Canadian Alliance, as well as the demise of the federal Progressive Conservative Party — and the eventual merger of those two groups into today's Conservative Party.
The Québec referendum of 1980, on the Parti Québécois government’s plans for sovereignty-association, was held in fulfilment of a promise that the party had made to do so, during the 1976 election campaign that brought it to power. In this referendum, the government asked the people of Québec to give it a mandate to “negotiate a new constitutional agreement with the rest of Canada, based on the equality of nations.” When the votes were counted, nearly 60% of Quebecers had voted against this plan, and it was thereby rejected. If the “Yes” side had won, the results of the negotiations would have been submitted to a second referendum. The 1980 referendum was followed by constitutional negotiations that have left an indelible mark on the Canadian political scene.
Assiniboia is a name derived from the Assiniboine, an Indigenous people. The name Assiniboia applied to two political units in the 19th century. The first was a district centred on the forks of the Red and Assiniboine rivers — which became the site of the Red River Resistance (1869–70) — forerunner to the province of Manitoba. The second was a provisional district of the ever-changing North-West Territories (1870–1905). Two political constituencies (one federal and one Manitoban), a rural municipality (in Manitoba), and a town (in Saskatchewan) have also been called Assiniboia.
Political patronage in Canada is a broad term covering the granting of favours, money, jobs, government contracts or appointments to individuals or corporations in exchange for political or monetary support. Patronage can range from the relatively benign — political campaign members are frequently hired as staff members for elected officials — to outright corruption and fraud. Patronage is linked to lobbying, conflict of interest and corruption and is therefore a politically volatile subject. Though some efforts have been made to discourage patronage, the practice remains a fixture of Canadian political life.
Electoral reform is the process of reviewing and reconfiguring the structure of electoral politics, i.e., the way in which voters elect their representatives. In Canada, electoral reform has historically occurred through reconfigurations of electoral ridings, or the extension of the right to vote to previously disenfranchised groups of people. Attempts have been made to change electoral systems on a number of occasions, at both the provincial and federal level. The matter was of specific interest throughout 2016 due to the Liberal Party’s pledge during the 2015 federal election campaign to enact reform by 2019. However, the Trudeau government abandoned this in February 2017, citing a lack of consensus on the issue.
Lobbying is the process through which individuals and groups articulate their interests to federal, provincial or municipal governments in order to influence public policy or government decision-making. Lobbyists may be paid third parties who communicate on behalf of their clients, or may be employees of a corporation or organization seeking to influence the government. Because of the possibility for conflict of interest, lobbying is the subject of much public scrutiny. Nevertheless, it serves the important purpose of providing individual and collective interests with access to government. At the federal level, lobbying activities are governed by the Lobbying Act, while provinces and municipalities have their own laws and by-laws.
In December 1837 and January 1838, in the wake of heavy defeats at the hands of British and Loyalist forces, Upper and Lower Canadian rebels fled to the United States where they sought financial and military assistance. Though the American public was aware that there had been an armed conflict in the Canadas, and many were even initially very supportive, the presence of Canadian rebels on American soil along with growing tensions with Great Britain amid the Caroline Affair forced many to question American involvement. The rebels appeared at a very divisive moment in American history, forcing many to consider the social, political, diplomatic or economic ramifications of the rebellions on the Early American Republic. Though the rebels received support in the borderland, most believed that the United States should remain neutral.