Compare and Contrast Canada and USA

The political system of the USA is usually defined as an indirect democracy which means that people express their will and rule the country through the representatives they elect. Created by Britain, Canada is a constitutional monarchy. Canada as a one of 16 countries which constitute a Commonwealth Realm and recognize Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom as their Queen. A constitutional monarchy is defined as a form of government headed by a hereditary or elected monarch as head of state established under a constitutional system. The USA has chosen another type of development and proclaimed a presidential republic.

Though there are some concepts copied by Canada from the USA, such as a written constitution for example. Both countries stand on the constituently way of development. Both Canada and the USA have a federal system of government. Federalism is a form of government where by the constitutional right the power is divided between the national and local governments. In Canada sub-units are called provinces or territories and in the United States they are called states.

In the USA there are 50 state governments and the government the District of Columbia which is defined as an administrative district of the USA. The power is shared between state governments and the United States Federal Government according to the principle of dual sovereignty. According to the 10 Amendment to the Constitution all powers not granted to the federal government by the constitution belong to the state governments.

Canada is a decentralized federation of 10 provinces and 3 territories, governed as a constitutional monarchy and formed in 1867 through an act of Confederation. It’s generally considered that Canadian government is more decentralized as it’s one of the only countries of the world where the combined budgets of the provinces exceed the budget of federal government. Local governments are also responsible for the health care, welfare and education.

Both the USA and Canada have the state power divided among three brunches – the legislative branch, the executive branch and the judicial brunch. But here the differences follow. In the US the executive branch is headed by the President who is also the head of the country. The main function of the executive branch is administrating the lows in all levels. The president forms the cabinet of ministers and appoints the head of agencies and departments. In Canada Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Canada is the repository of executive power. But the Queen doesn’t stay in Canada herself and the governor general acts by her name. The governor general is usually appointed according to the advice of the Prime Minster and is agreed by the Queen.

The leader of the political party which wins the most seats in the House of Commons and forms the majority of government becomes the Prime Minster. So, in the USA the President is the head of the executive branch and in Canada the Prime Minister is the head of the country and shares his function with the parliament.

The legislative branch in the USA is represented by the Congress which consists of two parts – the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate consists of 100 senators. Two senators from the each state are elected for 6 years through the states elections. The House of Representatives consists of 435 representatives elected for two years through the state election. The number of the representative from each state is decided proportionally depending on the population of the state. The Canadian legislative branch consists of the monarch, the House of Commons and the Senate. The House of Commons is elected from current 308 electoral districts for a five-year period. The members of the Senate are nominated by the Prime Minister. The seats are divided among the provinces. As we can see the model of the legislative branch of Canada was copied almost completely from the British legislative system. The main difference between the Parliaments of the USA and Canada lies in the manner the Senate is formed. It the USA the members of the Senate are elected and in Canada they are appointed by the Prime Minister. This way in Canada we can trace the influence of the executive branch on the legislative one. One more difference lies in the forming the cabinet of ministers and choosing the Prime Minister. In Canada by the convention of responsible government, the Prime Minister and his cabinet are the members of Parliament so they can answer to Parliament for their actions and in the US they form a separate institution and comply with the President of the country and are appointed by him.

The judicial branch in the USA is represented by several levels of federal courts. The main judicial body of the country is the Supreme Court. Nine judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the president and they are appointed for life. The judges of the Lower Federal Courts are also appointed by the President. In Canada the Criminal law if uniform for all the country and is under federal jurisdiction. The Governor General appoints the judges of the Supreme Court on the advice of the Cabinet. The candidates can not be reviewed or argued by the Parliament. As we can see in both countries the balance of the judiciary power is displaced to the side of the executive power. In both countries the judges are appointed by the representatives of the executive power (President in the USA and the Governor General in Canada) and can not be influenced by the legislative branch.

Elections in Canada are organized on a constituency basis. Each of the 308 members of the Canadian House of Commons including the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers, the Speaker and the Leader of opposition are elected to according to the norms of constitution.

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