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The American Presidential System vs. The Canadian Parliamentary System Essay Sample

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The American Presidential System vs. The Canadian Parliamentary System Essay Sample

Governments play a large part in our lives. We are so used to their role, that much of their influence goes unnoticed. Governments differ from country to country, but their influence remains. Canada is a democracy with a parliamentary system of government. The United States of America is also a democracy but with a presidential system of government. Canada’s parliament consists of the Queen, the Senate and the House of Commons. In the Canadian parliamentary system the Prime Minister is the Head of Government and is also a member of the House of Commons. The Prime Minister is the leader of the winning party in the federal election. This person is appointed by the Governor General as the Prime Minister. Even though they are appointed, they are elected first. The American system of government is established by the United States Constitution, which provides for three separate but equal branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial. Together, these branches govern the country.

In the American presidential system the President is the head of government and chief executive officer. Both Canada and the United States are representative democracies with a federal structure. I prefer The Canadian parliamentary system of government over the American Presidential system of government. The leader of a political party in the American presidential system of government may only be reelected once. The leader of the political party in the American presidential system of government is not a member of Congress (legislative branch). As well, Voters must wait for regular elections to unseat an unsatisfactory president or member of Congress. In this essay the three branches of government, elections in the United States and Canada, the Head of State, similarities and differences to both systems of governments and the strengths and weaknesses to both systems of government will be examined and explained in depth for a better understanding of both the Canadian Parliamentary system and the American Presidential system.

The term separation of powers refers to the separation of powers between executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. The American system of government has three separate but equal branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial. Together, these branches govern the country. The legislative branch of the federal government consists of the Congress. The Congress is divided into two chambers: the Senate and the House of Representatives. Each member of Congress is elected by the people of his or her state. Membership in the Senate is based on regional representation. That is two members from each state have 100 seats. Membership in the House of Representatives is based on representation by population.

That is membership is based on state population and has 435 seats. The president is head of the executive branch. The president is also the Commander in Chief of the Armed forces. The president serves a four year term and may only be reelected once. The president lives and works in the White House. The president appoints the Cabinet and oversees the various agencies and departments of the federal government. The judicial branch interprets the law and consists of the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts. Appointees to the federal bench serve for life or until they voluntarily resign or retire.

In the Canadian Parliamentary system the Prime Minister and the Cabinet represent the executive branch and are responsible to the House of Commons. Almost all the members of the Cabinet must be Members of the House of Commons. By custom, if possible, every province must have at least one Cabinet Minister. The speaker of the House of Commons is appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister and must be a member of the House of Commons. Senators are appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, to represent the provinces. Parliament is the legislative branch of the federal government in Canada. Parliament is made up of the Senate which is appointed on the Prime Minister’s recommendation and the House of Commons which is elected by voters and consists of government members and opposition members. The judicial branch consists of The Supreme Court of Canada. The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court in the land; they interpret the laws but they do not make them.

Elections in the United States are held every four years. The President may only be reelected once. A candidate for president must run in four elections, and campaigning for the presidency starts about two years before the actual election year. Primaries are considered the first step to an election or first election. Primaries choose delegates to attend the national convention of either the Democratic or Republican Party. Not all fifty states have primaries and in that case some states hold caucuses or state party meetings to choose delegates. Delegates are committed to support a specific candidate for the party’s nomination. The general election or third election is held on the first Tuesday in November. This popular vote indirectly chooses a President. The voters elect electors.

Electors are appointed by the two parties’ to vote for their party’s candidate in the fourth and final election. A state has many electors or electoral votes as it has members of Congress. On the third Monday of December, the electors which are members of the Electoral College meet in their states to choose the president. If the majority of people in a state voted Democratic, then all the states electoral votes go to the Democratic candidate and the same goes if the majority of people in a state voted Republican, then all the states electoral votes go to the Republican candidate. In early January the electoral votes are counted, and the successful presidential candidate will take office.

Elections in Canada are held once every five years. Prime Ministers have the power to call an election sooner and they usually do so when they sense electoral victory. Canada is divided into 301 electoral districts commonly called constituencies and this reflects the democratic principle of representation by population. In each constituency, members of the various political parties meet to choose a candidate to represent them in the election. Canadians tend to vote for a political party rather than for an individual. The Candidate with the greatest number of votes is elected to represent the constituency in the legislature. The party with the greatest number of candidates elected to the legislature forms the government and its leader becomes the Prime Minister. A majority government occurs when the number of seats elected is greater than fifty percent. If the number elected is less than fifty percent, a minority government results. A minority government requires support from elected members of another political party in order to remain in power.

The Queen is the formal head of Sate in Canada. She is represented federally by the governor general, and provincially by the Lieutenant-Governors. Federal or provincial bills cannot become laws without the Royal consent. The Governor General and the Lieutenant-Governors must sign bills that become law and they have the right to question the government. The Prime Minister is the head of government and is also the member of the House of Commons. The Prime Minister is the leader of the political party with the most seats in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister serves a maximum term of five years but may be reelected indefinitely. The Prime Minister proposes policies for the country, selects cabinet members and is responsible to Parliament and must resign upon the loss of the support of the House of Commons.

In the United States, the President is the head of government and chief executive officer. The President is elected to a four-year term of office and may only be reelected once. The President is not a member of Congress. The president proposes policies for the country and selects Cabinet members. Even if proposals are defeated the office of the President is retained. The President signs or vetoes bills passed by Congress and is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

There are many differences, similarities, strengths and weakness between the United States and Canada. Both Canada and the United States are democracies and share a commitment to democratic principles. However, both Canada and the United States have chosen to organize their governments differently. The United States has just one basic language for its federal government and for every state; it is a country of one basic language and culture. On the other hand, Canada is a bilingual country with two official languages (French and English) and has very strong regional differences. Another difference between the United States and Canada lies in the constitution. Canada is a constitutional monarchy and The United States is a republic. Canada has a parliamentary government, while the Americans have a presidential-congressional government. The presidential-congressional government is neither responsible nor responsive while, the Parliamentary-cabinet government is both responsible and responsive.

Strengths to a Parliamentary system of government include: with a majority, the government has power to govern, the non-confidence vote provides a check on the government and a voter can make decisions on the basis of party platform. Strengths to a Presidential system of government include: checks and balances limit the power of the branches of government and without party discipline members may be constituency oriented. Weaknesses to both systems of governments include: in a parliamentary system, the government is unstable if a majority is not obtained and the majority government has a lot of power and may be insensitive to the people’s desires. In a presidential system, the separation of power may fragment the system making it unproductive and voters must wait for regular elections to unseat an unsatisfactory president or member of Congress.

In conclusion, governments play a large part in our lives. Canada is a democracy with a parliamentary system of government. The United States of America is also a democracy but with a presidential system of government. The American system of government has three separate but equal branches of government: legislative, executive, and judicial. Together, these branches govern the country. The legislative branch of the federal government consists of the Congress. The president is head of the executive branch. The judicial branch interprets the law and consists of the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts. Elections in the United States are held every four years. The president may only be reelected once. Elections in Canada are held once every five years. Prime Ministers have the power to call an election sooner and they usually do so when they sense electoral victory.

The Queen is the formal head of State in Canada. She is represented federally by the governor general, and provincially by the Lieutenant-Governors. The Prime Minister is the leader of the political party with the most seats in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister serves a maximum term of five years but may be reelected indefinitely. In the United States, the President is the head of government and chief executive officer. The President is elected to a four-year term of office and may only be reelected once. There are many differences, similarities, strengths and weakness between the United States and Canada. The United States has just one basic language for its federal government and for every state it is a country of one basic language and culture.

On the other hand, Canada is a bilingual country with two official languages (French and English) and very strong regional differences. One strength to a Parliamentary system is with a majority, the government has power to govern and one weakness is in a parliamentary system, the government is unstable if a majority is not obtained. One strength to a Presidential system of government is that checks and balances limit the power of the branches of government and one weakness is voters must wait for regular elections to unseat an unsatisfactory president or member of Congress.

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