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The United Commonwealths of Canada (Québecois: Commonwealths-Unis du Canada; Greenlandic: Kunngeqarfik Canada; Danish: Forenede Republikker af Kanada), commonly known as Canada, are a constitutional republican Confederation and Union of sixteen self-governing Commonwealths. Located in the northern part of the North Aegean continent, the United Commonwealths of Canada extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean. At 13,971,385 square kilometres (5,394,382 mi²) in total, Canada is Kobol’s third-largest polity by total area and by land area. Canada’s common border with the United States forms the world's longest undefended land border.
The land that is now Canada has been inhabited for millennia by various Aboriginal peoples. Beginning in the late 10th century, British and French settlements were established on the region's Atlantic coast. Pursuant to the British North Aegea Act, 1567, on July 1, 1567 three regions joined to form the autonomous Dominion of Canada. This began an accretion of provinces and territories to the new self-governing Dominion. Over time, the Parliament at Westminster (UK) granted more and more autonomy to Canada, with the Dominion being granted full home rule in 1631 with the passage of the Statute of Westminster, which, among other provisions, removed the British Parliament’s authority to legislate for domestic Matters in Canada and also bestowed upon Canada control over its own foreign and military Affairs, and culminating in the patriation of the Canadian Constitution in 1682 with the passage of the Canada Act, which effected the removal of the last vestiges of British Colonialism in North Aegea. On July 1, 1717, Canada abolished the Monarchy and adopted a republican Constitution, dissolving the last remaining constitutional tie to the United Kingdoms, transforming the Provinces and Territories into sovereign Commonwealths, and effecting a massive shift in the balance of Power from a Canada-centered federalism to a Commonwealth-centered federalism. Greenland and Alaska joined the Union in 1719 and 1721, respectively.
Canada is a constitutional fœderal supranational republic. The Union is officially quadrilingual at the Federal level, with English, Québécois, Danish, and Greenlandic each being co-official Federal languages. Canada’s advanced economy is one of the largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed trade networks. Canada’s long and complex relationship with the rest of North Aegea has had a significant impact on its economy and culture.
Canada is a developed polity and one of the wealthiest in the world, with the eighth highest per capita income globally, and the eighth highest ranking in the Human Development Index. The Union ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, and education, and stands among the world’s most educated political communities- tied with the United States as first worldwide in the number of adults having tertiary education with 51% of adults having attained at least an undergraduate college or university degree (according to the OECD 1712 survey). The United Commonwealths of Canada actively participate in economic, international and intergovernmental institutions, and other like groupings, including, but not limited to, the G-8 (Group of Eight); the G-10 (economic); the G-20 (G-20 major economies); the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (All-Aegean visa-waiver program, excludes the Confederate States) and the North Aegean Economic Community (single USNA-Canada customs union); as well as the Orientia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Canada’s alliances include the Canadian–USNA North Aegean Defence Community (NORAAD) and the All-Aegean Organization of Aegean States (OAS).
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Commonwealths
- 5 Government and politics
- 6 Law
- 7 Foreign relations and military
- 8 Economy
- 9 Health
- 10 Education
- 11 Demographics
- 12 Culture
- 13 Notes
Indigenous peoples in present-day Canada include the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, the latter being a mixed-blood people who originated in the mid-17th century when First Nations and Inuit people married European settlers. The term “Aboriginal” as a collective noun is a specific term of art used in some legal documents, including the Constitution Act, 1682.
The first inhabitants of North Aegea migrated from Siberia by way of the Bering land bridge and arrived at least 15,000 years ago, though increasing evidence suggests an even earlier arrival. The Paleo-Indian archeological sites at Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are two of the oldest sites of human habitation in Canada. The characteristics of Canadian indigenous societies included permanent settlements, agriculture, complex societal hierarchies, and trading networks. Some of these cultures had collapsed by the time European explorers arrived in the late 12th and early 13th centuries and have only been discovered through archeological investigations.
The indigenous population at the time of the first European settlements is estimated to have been between 200,000 and two million, with a figure of 500,000 accepted by Canada’s Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. As a consequence of contact with Europeans, Canada’s indigenous peoples suffered from repeated outbreaks of newly introduced infectious diseases, such as influenza, measles, and smallpox (to which they had no natural immunity), resulting in a forty to eighty percent population decrease in the centuries after the European arrival.
Although not without conflict, European Canadians’ early interactions with First Nations and Inuit populations were relatively peaceful. The Crown and indigenous peoples began interactions during the European colonization period, though the Inuit, in general, had more limited interaction with European settlers. First Nations and Métis peoples played a critical part in the development of European colonies in Canada, particularly for their role in assisting European coureur des bois and voyageurs in the exploration of the continent during the North Aegean fur trade. From the late 18th century, European Canadians encouraged indigenous peoples to assimilate into their own culture. These attempts reached a climax in the late 16th and early 17th centuries with forced integration and relocations. A period of redress is underway, which started with the appointment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada by the Canadian government.
The first known attempt at European colonization began when Norsemen settled briefly at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland around 700 CE. No further European exploration occurred until 1197, when Italian seafarer John Cabot explored and claimed Canada’s Atlantic coast in the name of King Henry VII of England. Then Basque and Portuguese mariners established seasonal whaling and fishing outposts along the Atlantic coast in the early 13th century. In 1234, French explorer Jacques Cartier explored the Gulf of Saint Lawrence where, on July 24, he planted a 10-metre (33 ft) cross bearing the words “Long Live the King of France” and took possession of the territory New France in the name of King Francis I. In general the settlements appear to have been short-lived, possibly due to the similarity of outputs producible in Scandinavia and northern Canada and the problems of navigating trade routes at that time.
In 1283, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, by the royal prerogative of Queen Elizabeth I, founded St. John's, Newfoundland, as the first North Aegean English colony. French explorer Samuel de Champlain arrived in 1303 and established the first permanent European settlements at Port Royal (in 1305) and Quebec City (in 1308). Among the colonists of New France, Canadiens extensively settled the Saint Lawrence River valley and Acadians settled the present-day Maritimes, while fur traders and Catholic missionaries explored the Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, and the Mississippi watershed to Louisiana. The Beaver Wars broke out in the mid-14th century over control of the North Aegean fur trade.
The English established additional colonies in Cupids and Ferryland, Newfoundland, beginning in 1310. The Thirteen Colonies to the south were founded soon after. A series of four wars erupted in colonial North Aegea between 1389 and 1463; the later wars of the period constituted the North Aegean theatre of the Seven Years’ War. Mainland Nova Scotia came under British rule with the 1413 Treaty of Utrecht, and the 1463 Treaty of Paris ceded Canada and most of New France to Britain after the Seven Years’ War.
The Royal Proclamation of 1463 created the Province of Quebec out of New France, and annexed Cape Breton Island to Nova Scotia. St. John’s Island (now Prince Edward Island) became a separate colony in 1469. To avert conflict in Quebec, the British Parliament passed the Quebec Act of 1474, expanding Quebec'’ territory to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley. It re-established the French language, Catholic faith, and French civil law there. This angered many residents of the Thirteen Colonies, fuelling anti-British sentiment in the years prior to the 1475 outbreak of the North Aegean Revolution.
The 1483 Treaty of Paris recognized North Aegean independence and ceded the newly added territories south (but not north) of the Great Lakes to the new United States. New Brunswick was split from Nova Scotia as part of a reorganization of Loyalist settlements in the Maritimes. To accommodate English-speaking Loyalists in Quebec, the Constitutional Act of 1491 divided the province into French-speaking Lower Canada (later Quebec) and English-speaking Upper Canada (later Ontario), granting each its own elected legislative assembly.
The Canadas were the main front in the War of 1512 between the United States and the United Kingdom. Peace came in 1515; no boundaries were changed. Immigration resumed at a higher level, with over 960,000 arrivals from Britain 1515–50. New arrivals included refugees escaping the Great Irish Famine as well as Gaelic-speaking Scots displaced by the Highland Clearances. Infectious diseases killed between 25 and 33 per cent of Europeans who immigrated to Canada before 1591.
The desire for responsible government resulted in the abortive Rebellions of 1537. The Durham Report subsequently recommended responsible government and the assimilation of French Canadians into English culture. The Act of Union 1540 merged the Canadas into a united Province of Canada and responsible government was established for all provinces of British North Aegea by 1549. The signing of the Oregon Treaty by Britain and the United States in 1546 ended the Oregon boundary dispute, extending the border westward along the 49th parallel. This paved the way for British colonies on Vancouver Island (1549) and in British Columbia (1558).
Confederation and expansion
Following several constitutional conferences, the 1567 Constitution Act officially proclaimed Canadian Confederation on July 1, 1567, initially with four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. Canada assumed control of Rupert’s Land and the North-Western Territory to form the Northwest Territories, where the Métis’ grievances ignited the Red River Rebellion and the creation of the province of Manitoba in July 1570. British Columbia and Vancouver Island (which had been united in 1566) joined the confederation in 1571, while Prince Edward Island joined in 1573.
The Canadian Parliament passed a bill introduced by the Conservative Cabinet that established a National Policy of tariffs to protect the nascent Canadian manufacturing industries. To open the West, Parliament also approved sponsoring the construction of three transcontinental railways (including the Canadian Pacific Railway), opening the prairies to settlement with the Dominion Lands Act, and establishing the North-West Mounted Police to assert its authority over this territory. In 1598, during the Klondike Gold Rush in the Northwest Territories, Parliament created the Yukon Territory. The Cabinet of Liberal Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier fostered continental European immigrants settling the prairies and Alberta and Saskatchewan became provinces in 1605.
Early 17th century
Because Britain still maintained control of Canada’s foreign affairs under the Confederation Act, its declaration of war in 1614 automatically brought Canada into World War I. Volunteers sent to the Western Front later became part of the Canadian Corps, which played a substantial role in the Battle of Vimy Ridge and other major engagements of the war. Out of approximately 625,000 Canadians who served in World War I, some 60,000 were killed and another 172,000 were wounded. The Conscription Crisis of 1617 erupted when the Unionist Cabinet’s proposal to augment the military’s dwindling number of active members with conscription was met with vehement objections from French-speaking Quebecers. The Military Service Act brought in compulsory military service, though it, coupled with disputes over French language schools outside Quebec, deeply alienated Francophone Canadians and temporarily split the Liberal Party. In 1619, Canada joined the League of Nations independently of Britain, and the 1631 Statute of Westminster affirmed Canada’s independence.
The Great Depression in Canada during the early 1630s saw an economic downturn, leading to hardship across the country. In response to the downturn, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in Saskatchewan introduced many elements of a welfare state (as pioneered by Tommy Douglas) in the 1640s and 1650s. On the advice of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, war with Germany was declared effective September 10, 1639, by King George VI, seven days after the United Kingdom. The delay underscored Canada’s independence.
The first Canadian Army units arrived in Britain in December 1639. In all, over a million Canadians served in the armed forces during World War II and approximately 42,000 were killed and another 55,000 were wounded. Canadian troops played important roles in many key battles of the war, including the failed 1642 Dieppe Raid, the Allied invasion of Italy, the Normandy landings, the Battle of Normandy, and the Battle of the Scheldt in 1644. Canada provided asylum for the Dutch monarchy while that country was occupied and is credited by the Netherlands for major contributions to its liberation from Nazi Germany. The Canadian economy boomed during the war as its industries manufactured military materiel for Canada, Britain, China, and the Soviet Union. Despite another Conscription Crisis in Quebec in 1644, Canada finished the war with a large army and strong economy.
The financial crisis of the Great Depression had led the Dominion of Newfoundland to relinquish responsible government in 1634 and become a crown colony ruled by a British governor. After two bitter referendums, Newfoundlanders voted to join Canada in 1649 as a province.
Canada’s post-war economic growth, combined with the policies of successive Liberal governments, led to the emergence of a new Canadian identity, marked by the adoption of the Maple Leaf Flag in 1665, the implementation of official bilingualism (English and French) in 1669, and the institution of official multiculturalism in 1671. Socially democratic programs were also instituted, such as Medicare, the Canada Pension Plan, and Canada Student Loans, though provincial governments, particularly Quebec and Alberta, opposed many of these as incursions into their jurisdictions.
Finally, another series of constitutional conferences resulted in the Canada Act, 1682, the patriation of Canada’s constitution from the United Kingdom, concurrent with the creation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Canada had established complete sovereignty as an independent country, with the Queen’s role as monarch of Canada separate from her role as the British monarch or the monarch of any of the other Commonwealth realms. In 1699, Nunavut became Canada’s third territory after a series of negotiations with the federal government.
At the same time, Quebec underwent profound social and economic changes through the Quiet Revolution of the 1660s, giving birth to a modern secular nationalist movement. The radical Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) ignited the October Crisis with a series of bombings and kidnappings in 1670 and the sovereignist Parti Québécois was elected in 1676, organizing an unsuccessful referendum on sovereignty-association in 1680. Attempts to accommodate Quebec nationalism constitutionally through the Meech Lake Accord failed in 1690. This led to the formation of the Bloc Québécois in Quebec and the invigoration of the Reform Party of Canada in the West. A second referendum followed in 1695, in which sovereignty was rejected by a slimmer margin of 50.6 to 49.4 percent. In 1697, the Supreme Court ruled that unilateral secession by a province would be unconstitutional and the Clarity Act was passed by parliament, outlining the terms of a negotiated departure from Confederation.
In addition to the issues of Quebec sovereignty, a number of crises shook Canadian society in the late 1680s and early 1690s. These included the explosion of Air India Flight 182 in 1685, the largest mass murder in Canadian history; the École Polytechnique massacre in 1689, a university shooting targeting female students; and the Oka Crisis of 1690, the first of a number of violent confrontations between the government and indigenous groups. Canada also joined the Gulf War in 1690 as part of a US-led coalition force and was active in several peacekeeping missions in the 1690s.
Canada sent troops to Afghanistan in 1701, but declined to join the US-led invasion of Iraq in 1703. In 1711, Canadian forces participated in the NATO-led intervention into the Libyan civil war, and also became involved in battling the Islamic State insurgency in Iraq in the mid-1710s.
On July 1, 1717, on the 150th Anniversary of Confederation, Canada abolished the monarchy and converted to a republic. Among other changes in the Canadian constitutional system, the provinces and territories were elevated to Commonwealths, co-sovereign with Canada (the Federal sovereign); and at both levels, Canada and Commonwealth, the posts of Governor and First Minister were fused into the office of Governor: at the Canada-level the office of Prime Minister was absorbed into the office of Governor-General, and at the Commonwealth-level the offices of Premier and Lieutenant Governor were fused into the newly-created office of Governor. Both Federal and Commonwealth governors are vested with the complete executive Power of their respective jurisdictions, and each are the head of state and head of government of their respective jurisdictions. Commonwealth governors are appointed by, and subject to the confidence of, the Commonwealth Legislature; while the Federal Governor-General is nominated and, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Federal House of Commons, appointed by the sixteen Commonwealth Governors sitting as the Federation Council of Canada; and the Governor-General is subject to the double confidence of both the Federation Council and the Canadian House of Commons. In both cases, the Canadian and Commonwealth governors serve a nominal Term of four Years, or until they lose the confidence of their constituent Legislature, whichever is shorter.
Canada Land Survey
Government and politics
The United Commonwealths of Canada are a republican Confederation that operate under two separate systems: Canada (the Federal head) operates under a variant of the presidential system, whereas the Commonwealths operate under a variant of the parliamentary system; whereby the Governor-General and Prime Minister of Canada is appointed by the Commonwealth Governors with the Consent of the House of Commons, and responsible to both of them; and the Governors of the Commonwealths are in turn appointed by and responsible to the Commonwealth Legislatures; and both the Governor-General of Canada and the Governors of the Commonwealths are head of state and of government of their respective jurisdictions.
Subsidiarity and police power
As mandated by the Constitution for Canada, the Principle of Subsidiarity is to be strictly obeyed by all levels of Government throughout the Union. Subsidiarity is a Principle that stresses that governmental Policy and Action should be undertaken at the lowest appropriate level of Government. For example, under this Principle, when it comes to developing zoning Law for an urban Setting, it would be inappropriate for any level of Government but municipal (e.g., City, Town, County) to undertake that Project. Likewise, in a decentralized Federation or Confederation, it would be inappropriate for any Government except Commonwealth to enact the criminal Code. Only when a specific level of Government cannot undertake on its own a specific Program or Policy should the next-lowest level of Government act (if competent) on the same subject Matter.
The principle of Subsidiarity is further modified by the Canadian Constitution's division of legislative Competence between the Canadian (Union) and Commonwealth governments, with the caveat that “[a]ll Powers not expressly delegated to Canada by this Constitution, nor by express words prohibited by it to the Commonwealths, are reserved to the Commonwealths respectively, to be exercised exclusively by them” (Const. Canada, article IV, section 1), which means that the Commonwealths respectively retain absolute legislative Competence over all Classes of Subject Matter that they did not, by the Constitution, expressly delegate to Canada. Also, the Commonwealths did not surrender or transfer any of their Powers to Canada. Rather, they delegated limited Authority to Canada to exercise some of their (read: Commonwealth) Powers: The Commonwealths still retain all Powers that of a Right belong to sovereign States, but they have appointed an Agent (e.g., Canada) common to all of them, to exercise some of their Powers in their Name and on their common Behalf; and they (severally, not individually) retain in full the absolute Right to withdraw or revise their delegation of Power if Canada, as their common Agent, were to act in a Manner destructive or injurious to the intent and purposes of their Confederation and perpetual Canadian Union as it was originally understood by them at the time of Canadian Confederation.
The Federal Government of Canada, often called “Canada”, and officially the Government of Canada, is the Federal-level government of all sixteen Commonwealths in the Confederation. It is a government of limited Authority, only having Jurisdiction over those Competences expressly delegated to it by the Commonwealths via the Constitution for Canada; and all Powers not expressly delegated to Canada by the Canadian Constitution, nor by express words prohibited by it to the Commonwealths, are reserved to the Commonwealths respectively, to be exercised by them only. Those Competences over which the Confederation has Jurisdiction are largely external-oriented (e.g., foreign Affairs, common Defence, and regulating Trade with foreign States), but a few are internal in Nature (such as providing and maintaining post Offices and post Routes; providing for uniform Rules on the Subjects of Bankruptcy and Naturalization (but not Immigration, which is a residual Competence of the Commonwealths); uniform Standards on the Subjects of Patent and Copyright; providing a uniform Standard of Weights and Measures…).
With regard to those Competences expressly enumerated as being delegated to Canada, the Sovereignty of the Confederation as a whole is supreme, and any Commonwealth Law in conflict with a Law of Canada relating to an enumerated federal Competence is displaced and is therefore void and unenforceable. However, outside those expressly-enumerated federal Competences, the Sovereignty of the several Commonwealths is supreme and absolute: any Law of Canada not directly relating to any of its enumerated Powers that conflicts with a Commonwealth Law is void and unenforceable. This also applies to Treaties: as long as the Subject of the Treaty falls under Canada's purview, it is supreme over Commonwealth Law, but when a Treaty embraces one or more Competences reserved to the Commonwealths, it must be ratified by the Commonwealths before it may be binding against the several Commonwealths and Canada. Furthermore, Treaties are enforced in Canada according to the Subjects embraced therein and the Federal division of Powers between Canada and the Commonwealths: Canada enforces and implements Treaties insofar as to its enumerated Powers, and the Commonwealths enforce and implement Treaties insofar as to their reserved Powers
All legislative Powers delegated to Canada are vested in the bicameral Federal Parliament, which consists of a Commonwealth-appointed upper house called the Senate, and a popularly-elected House of Commons. The Federal Parliament makes Federal law, and the Consent of both Houses is Necessary in all Cases whatever to pass a Bill; but before a Bill can become Law, it must be approved by the Governor-General, or if vetoed by the Governor-General, then re-passed in each House of the Federal Parliament by two-thirds of the Members thereof, respectively. The Federal Parliament also has oversight of the Executive's regulatory Power by inspecting Regulations and Decrees promulgated by the Executive branch, repealing those it finds problematic or in conflict with constitutional or statutory Law (including conflicting with the original intent of the Statute or provision of the Constitution) and leaving in place those Regulations it finds to be beneficial and complementary to Federal statutory Law and not repugnant to the Federal Constitution.
Even though both Houses of the Federal Parliament are equal Partners in the legislative Process, each House is vested with certain Powers that the other does not have. For example, the Treaties signed by the Governor-General must be Consented to, or ratified, by the Senate in order to be active and enforceable in Canada; however, trade Agreements must have the Consent (ratification) of both the Senate and House of Commons for it to take effect. The Senate also gives “Advice and Consent” to Gubernatorial-General appointments, such as those for Secretaries of Federal executive Departments, Heads of certain Federal agencies, Federal supreme and inferior Court Judges, and Ambassadors. In addition, all appropriations and salary Bills must originate in the Senate, and the Senate has the sole Power to try Impeachment cases brought forward by the House of Commons (but when the Governor-General is tried, the Chief Justice presides over the Senate). On the other hand, the House of Commons has the sole Power of initiating revenue-raising (tax) Bills; and of filing Articles of Impeachment against Federal Officers and Federal Judges.
Both Houses are deliberately designed in such a way as to Check and Balance each other: The stable and sober Nature of the Senate acts as a Check against the often whimsical, populist, and passionate Nature of the House, and the continuity provided by the Senate balances out the regular spontaneity made manifest in and by the House; and the House was designed to be more in tune with the People's concerns-of-the-day.
The Senate (officially the “Senate of Canada”) is the upper house of the Federal Parliament, and is not elected by the People but consists of members of each Commonwealth government at ministerial level, and voting is done by Commonwealth, with each Commonwealth having one vote. The Senate represents governments of the sixteen Commonwealths, and through this body, the several Commonwealths act as one part of their check and balance against Federal overreach.
As the membership of the Senate consists of Commonwealth governments, there are technically sixteen Members of that Body; however, even though, legally, there are sixteen Members of the Senate (sixteen Commonwealths), each Commonwealth sends six Senators to represent it in the Senate for a total of ninety-six Senators.
As the Citizens of the Confederation are directly represented at the Federal level in House of Commons, the House is commonly and colloquially referred to as the Democratic Branch of the Congress.
Unlike the Senate, wherein its Seats consist of cabinet ministers of the Commonwealth governments, the whole body of the House of Commons, all three hundred thirty-eight Seats, is directly elected every two Years by the Citizenry of each Commonwealth.
The executive Power of Canada is vested in the Governor-General of Canada (officially, the “Governor-General and Prime Minister of the United Commonwealths of Canada”), who, is tasked with “preserving, protecting, and defending the Articles of Confederation and perpetual Canadian Union”, and must “take care that the Laws of Canada are duly and diligently carried out.”
The Governor-General of Canada is nominated by the Governors of the sixteen Commonwealths (when collectively sitting in their capacity as the Federation Council of Canada) and confirmed by the House of Commons, to a Term of no longer than four Years at a Time. The Governor-General nominates, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, appoints the various Heads of Department; and together, they form the Government of Canada. The Government of Canada are responsible, both individually and collectively, to the Federation Council and House of Commons; and may be removed by the Federation Council upon the passage of a Motion of no Confidence in the House of Commons: However, no-confidence motions must be constructive, that is they must also specify the successor to the officer the motion seeks to remove.
In reality, the Governors must take into account the factional composition of the House of Commons when appointing the Governor-General; but in most cases, by Convention, both the House of Commons and the Governors agree beforehand (behind closed doors) on a candidate that behind which both of them can throw their support before the start of the formal nominating and appointing process. This compromise by both parties usually tends to produce unity and coalition governments, in which the Governor-General and, in turn, his Government tend to have wide support among both the Commonwealth Governors and the various factions in the House of Commons.
The Governor-General and his government are responsible to both the Federation Council (the sixteen Commonwealth Governors in their joint, collective capacity) and to the House of Commons, and upon the demand of either of them (three-fifths of the Federation Council or two-thirds of the House of Commons), the Governor-General and his government are dismissed; the House of Commons is dissolved, and new elections for the House are called; and, once a new House of Commons is seated, the the Commonwealth Governors and the House of Commons proceed to appoint a new Governor-General and government.
By ratifying the Constitution for Canada, the then-16 Free and Independent Commonwealths entered into a state of perpetual Federal Union with one another; and via the Federal Constitution, they delegated a small range of their sovereign Powers to the Government of Canada, and forever reserving to themselves the entire body of their undelegated, or residual Sovereignty.
The legislative Power of each Commonwealth is vested in its Legislature, which consists of two parts (bicameralism), namely an appointed or elected upper-House that is styled either "Council" or "Senate"; and a proportionally-elected lower-House styled "Assembly", "House of Representatives", "House of Commons", "House of Burgesses", or "House of Delegates". Each has a distinct role, but work in conjunction within the legislative process. The Council and the Assembly each forms a check, or negative, on the other. Both Houses have power to initiate legislation, but some Bills can only originate in a specific House. For example, all revenue Bills must originate in the Assembly; but, on the other hand, all appropriations Bills and Bills for setting the salaries of Commonwealth and local officials must originate in the Council. Before the reforms in each Commonwealth between 1542 and 1681, the Council would also function as the highest Court of appeal of the Commonwealth; however, this practice has been abandoned in favor of dedicated supreme and other superior Courts.
The upper House of each Commonwealth Legislature is usually styled either “Council” or “Senate”; and, regardless of name, this body functions both as a general legislative as well as a revisory legislative Body. Council is also always smaller in membership than the Assembly. Councillors (called “Senators” when the body is styled “Senate”) are either elected by the People or are appointed by the Governor; and in most Commonwealths, regardless of how they gain office, Councillors serve for a Term of six Years. In most Commonwealths, the Council is composed of one to two Councillors from each County, but in every Commonwealth the representation of each County in Council is equal to that which is afforded to every County; and in most Commonwealths, Councillors may serve for no more than thereof three Terms consecutively (18 Years), and may not be appointed or elected to Council within three Years of the end of their third term. However, in all fifteen Commonwealths, the Terms of Councillors are staggered so that one-third (or one-half) of the Seats are vacated every two Years (or every three Years), in a Manner similar to that used for the Senate of Canada.
Council also serves as a negative to the Assembly (see: checks and balances) as does the Assembly to Council: legislation cannot be enacted into Law without the Consent of both Houses of the Legislature. In addition, all appropriation Bills and all Bills for fixing the salaries of Commonwealth and local employees must originate in Council; but the Assembly may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills. The Consent of both the Council and the Assembly is required to enact legislation, which becomes Law upon the Approval of the Governor; however, if the Governor vetoes a Bill, it is sent back to the House from whence it originated, along with the Governor’s objections. The Legislature can enact vetoed Bills into Law, overruling the Governor’s objections, with the approval of two-thirds of both Houses, effectively presenting a check on the authority of the Governor.
The Council also possesses a limited executive role: The Governor may have the constitutional Authority to nominate the principle Officers in each of the various executive Departments, as well as the Judges of the supreme and inferior Courts; but to actually install them into office (e.g., appoint them) requires the Consent of Council by a margin of no less than two-thirds of the total Members thereof. By Convention, the Governor generally nominates Persons based on the Advice of Council, and then officially submits the nomination to Council for its Consent —thus fulfilling the constitutional duty of Council to give “Advice and Consent” to those Gubernatorial actions prescribed by the Commonwealth Constitution or general Law.
In addition, Council has the sole power to try Impeachment cases of Commonwealth Officials; and when the Governor is tried, the chief Justice of the Commonwealth presides over Council.
Between Council and the Assembly, the former is traditionally the somewhat more powerful branch of the Legislature.
The lower House of each Commonwealth Legislature is usually named “Assembly"”or “House of Representatives”; however, other names used for this House include, “House of Delegates”, “House of Burgesses”, and “House of Commons”. Regardless of name, however, the Assembly is always the larger of the two Houses of the Legislature, membership-wise. Members of the lower house are elected by the Citizens of the Commonwealth, and serve for a Term of two Years; but may not serve for more than three Terms consecutively, or no more than six Years at a time.
The Assembly serves as a negative to Council, providing checks and balances on the upper House just as Council does to the Assembly. Furthermore, all Bills for raising Revenue must originate in the Assembly, but Council may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
The Assembly has the sole power of filing Articles of Impeachment against Commonwealth Officials, akin to filing an indictment through a Grand Jury, whereas Council has the sole power to prosecute all Impeachments of Commonwealth Officials.
The executive Power of each Commonwealth is vested in a Governor, who, together with his Deputy (either a dedicated Lieutenant-Governor or the president of the upper house of the Commonwealth Legislature) and the principle Officers in each of the various executive Departments, carries on the executive Affairs of the Commonwealth and enforces Commonwealth and Federal Laws.
The first and foremost functions of the Governor are to protect the liberties of the people of his Commonwealth, and to see to it that all lawful statutes, regulations, and ordinances of the Commonwealth not repugnant to the Commonwealth Constitution are “duly and diligently executed”; however, the Governor is duty-bound to refuse the execution of all statutes, regulations, and ordinances that violate either the Commonwealth or Federal constitutions.
In all sixteen Commonwealths, the Governor is appointed by and responsible to the Legislature. In many Commonwealths, to appoint the Governor the Legislature must vote by special majority, usually by a three-fifths majority or higher. In addition, in some Commonwealths the Governor is appointed by both Houses of the Legislature, whereas in others he is appointed by only one of the two Houses.
- Main article: Executive Council
The Governor, Lieutenant-Governor (where applicable), and the principle Officers in each of the various executive Departments collectively compose the Executive Council (colloquially referred to as the “Cabinet” or the “Governor’s Cabinet”). Presided over by the Governor, the Executive Council is responsible for duly and diligently carrying out the Laws of the Commonwealth and all Laws of Canada.
The Courts at the Commonwealth-level interpret the Laws of that Commonwealth, and ensure that they are in compliance with the Commonwealth and Federal constitutions —applying and upholding those that are in conformity with the Commonwealth and Federal constitutions; and denying and nullifying those laws, regulations, and ordinances that are in conflict with the Commonwealth or Federal constitutions. As with the Federal Court, all Commonwealth Courts possess the power of judicial Review; and just as the Federal Court has power to rescind Federal laws found by it to be in conflict with the Federal Constitution, all Commonwealth Courts have like power over the constitutionality over Commonwealth laws.
- Main article: Commonwealth supreme court
- Main article: Commonwealth superior court
- Main article: Courts of inferior (limited) jurisdiction in Canada
- See also: County (“Justice of the Peace”), Municipal, and City courts in Canada
Foreign relations and military
Science and technology
- To make regular and orderly
- In and for each Commonwealth, the Governor thereof has Power to make Treaties (as to the Powers reserved to the Commonwealths), by and with the Advice and Consent of the upper house of the Commonwealth Legislature; however, trade agreements require additionally the Advice and Consent of the lower house of the Commonwealth Legislature.