That vast majority of Canadians live within 100 miles or so of the United States-Canada border. But the invisible line that divides these populations also speaks to places with very different systems of government. On one side, a democratic republic prevails. On the other? A type of system with its roots far across the Atlantic Ocean. Cast your vote in our Canadian government quiz! Do you really know anything about the way Canadian government works?
The United States is a young country, but as it turns out, Canada is even younger. Do you know when Canada was officially formed? And do you know how the country was organized its earliest days?
Like all large countries, Canada relies on multiple layers of government to make sure that its roadways, power systems and justice system work smoothly together. Do you know how many levels of government there are in this northern country?
At the federal level, Canada is a unique blend of Old World dynamics and New World politics. Canadians, of course, are free to cast their ballots for politicians. But their process is much different than the presidential elections in America. Do you know how these elections work?
In the land of maple leaves and hockey, the government is as diverse wild as the lands it rules. Take our Canadian government quiz now!
Ottawa is Canada’s capital. Located in southern Ontario, it is the fourth-largest city in the entire country.
For many years, Canada was simply a part of Britain’s empire. Finally, in 1867, the British North America Act established the Dominion of Canada, which gave the nation its independence.
In 1867, Canada and Britain began hammering out the framework for the new nation’s government. It is officially called a constitutional monarchy.
In a nod toward Canada’s close ties to Britain, the British monarcy is the country’s head of state. That’s currently Queen Elizabeth II.
Justin Trudeau is the current prime minister of Canada. He is the 23rd person to serve as the country’s prime minister, and the second-youngest ever ... and definitely the hottest, yow!
As in the U.S., political power often moves within families. Pierre served as top dog in the ‘80s — now his son Justin is following in his footsteps.
The Canadians essentially have a three-tiered system of government. Those levels are the national, provincial and city governments.
As in the U.S., the top federal court is the Supreme Court. It is the highest court in the land, and it sees dozens of cases each year.
The Governor General of Canada is the queen’s top representative in Canada. The queen appoints the Governor to handle many of her constitutional and ceremonial tasks in Canada.
The Parliament of Canada is made of of two houses. The upper house is called the Senate; the lower is called the House of Commons.
Members of Parliament are elected by the Canadian people. "MPs" serve their constituents in the House of Commons.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a lot like America’s Bill of Rights. It helps reinforce basic civil rights of its citizens.
It’s true, Britain still calls the ultimate shots in Canada’s affairs, with the Queen legally able to make big decisions.
Senators aren’t elected. Instead, the prime minister appoints senators by his or her preferences.
The U.S. is dominated by two political parties. Canada has three: the New Democrats, Liberals and the Conservatives.
King was a renowned leader during the interwar era and during the Great Depression and WWII. He served for more than 21 years, longer than any other prime minister.
The House of Commons is the focal point of Canadian federal government. It’s here that the most important decisions of the land are made.
The British North America Act, 1867 is also known as the Constitution Act, 1867. No matter what you call it, it established the federal dominion that is now Canada.
The 1867 Constitution Act brought together Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Province of Canada into one federal dominion.
The prime minister’s name doesn’t appear on most ballots. Instead, Canadians vote for their MP. Then, the leading MP of the party that has the most seats in Parliament becomes prime minister.
In Ottawa, Rideau Hall — Government House — is the official residence of the Canadian monarch and the Governor General. Its construction was started in 1838, long before Canada was a dominion.
Trudeau is a figurehead of the Liberals party in Canada. Also, he's hot. Did we mention that already?
Canadians elected about 338 MPs to the House of Commons. These MPs carry forth the biggest concerns of their constituents in their region.
The prime minister is the true leader of the Senate. He or she is the one who chooses outstanding leaders to be senators.
A minority government can rule Canada. But if the House of Commons casts a vote of non-confidence, the government is dissolved and a new election is held.
It’s a drastic move, but the prime minister can "drop the writ" and request that Parliament be dissolved. If the Queen grants the request, new elections are held.
The multi-party system means that one party may not achieve a majority in Parliament. That means the parties have to cooperate in order to pass legislation, lets it become bogged down for months or years.
By law, elections must be held at least ever 5 years. They are frequently held more often.
At minimum, Canadians have 36 days to run for office during an election cycle. Sometimes this cycle may last twice as long.
Even with all of its complicated political arrangements, the political system is still at the mercy of the Queen. She decides whether a bit of legislation truly becomes law.