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.
Crown-Indigenous Relations Canada (part of the former Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada or INAC) was created by the federal government in 2017 to oversee matters pertaining to Indigenous-government affairs, such as treaties and Indigenous rights. The department is tasked with accelerating progress towards self-government and working in cooperation with Indigenous peoples to achieve desired ends. Until July 2018, this new department also managed the Northern affairs portfolio, which concerns the needs of communities living in Northern Canada. Northern affairs is now part of another new department: Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade Canada.
Indigenous Services Canada (part of the former Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada or INAC) was created by the federal government in 2017 to provide and support the delivery of services such as health care, child care, education and infrastructure to First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. The overarching vision of the department is to support self-determination as a means of providing Indigenous peoples with the power to deliver their own services.
Although the Reform (that is to say liberal) Party swept the constituencies like a broom, the principle that the majority party controls parliament was not yet established. Colonial government was still firmly in the grip of the governor, who was appointed by London.
The War Measures Act was a federal law adopted by Parliament on 22 August 1914, after the outbreak of the First World War. It gave broad powers to the Canadian government to maintain security and order during war or insurrection. It was used, controversially, to suspend the civil liberties of people in Canada who were considered “enemy aliens” during both world wars, leading to mass arrest and detention without charge or trial. The Act was also invoked during the 1970 October Crisis in Quebec. It has since been replaced by the more limited Emergencies Act.
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment or “call up” (sometimes known as “the draft”) of citizens for military service. The federal government enacted conscription in both the First World War and the Second World War, creating sharp divisions between English-speaking Canadians, who tended to support the practice, and French-speaking Canadians, who generally did not.
Founded in 1961, the New Democratic Party (NDP) is a social democratic political party that has formed the government in several provinces but never nationally. In 2011, it enjoyed an historic electoral breakthrough, becoming the official opposition in Parliament for the first time. Four years later, despite hopes of winning a federal election, the NDP was returned to a third place position in the House of Commons.
The Saskatchewan Party is a provincial political party formed in 1997 by a coalition of Liberals and Progressive Conservatives seeking to offer a viable governing alternative to the New Democratic Party (NDP). Since 2007, the Saskatchewan Party has won three straight elections, holding power in the province under leader and Premier Brad Wall. In 2018, Wall stepped down and was replaced as premier and party leader by Scott Moe, who served in Wall’s executive council from 2014 to 2017.
The United Conservative Party (UCP) is a socially and fiscally conservative political party in Alberta. Upon its establishment in July 2017 — with the merger of the Wildrose Party and Alberta Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta (PC) — the UCP became the official opposition in Alberta’s Legislative Assembly. In October 2017, the party elected Jason Kenney, a former cabinet member in the Stephen Harper government, as its leader.
Sovereignty is an abstract legal concept that also has political, social and economic implications. In strictly legal terms, it describes the power or authority of a state to govern itself and its subjects. In this sense, sovereignty is the highest source of the law. With Confederation and the passage of the British North America Act, 1867, Canada’s Parliament was still legally under the authority of the British Parliament. By 1949, Canada had become fully sovereign in relation to Great Britain through landmark legislation passed overseas, including the Statute of Westminster (1931). The Constitution Act, 1982 swept away any leftover authority that remained with Britain. Questions of sovereignty have also been raised by Indigenous peoples in Canada and by separatists in Quebec, who for a time championed the concept of sovereignty-association.
The Canada‒United States Safe Third Country Agreement (hereafter the STCA) sets out the rules of refugee/asylum claims between Canada and the United States. This agreement stipulates that a refugee must claim asylum in the first country in which they arrive, either Canada or the US, and precludes their entry into the neighbouring country unless they qualify for an exemption. A number of challenges have been raised to the agreement, particularly since July 2017 — as a result of concerns about human rights protections in the US after the election of President Donald Trump, and particularly his executive orders on immigration.
Between 1725 and 1779, Britain signed a series of treaties with various Mi’kmaq, Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet), Abenaki, Penobscot and Passamaquoddy peoples living in parts of what are now the Maritimes and Gaspé region in Canada and the northeastern United States. Commonly known as the Peace and Friendship Treaties, these agreements were chiefly designed to prevent war between enemies and to facilitate trade. While these treaties contained no monetary or land transfer provisions, they guaranteed hunting, fishing and land-use rights for the descendants of the Indigenous signatories. The Peace and Friendship Treaties remain in effect today.
The Wildrose Party was a political party in Alberta that promoted fiscal conservatism and rural values. In the 2015 provincial election the party, once known as the Wildrose Alliance, was elected as the official opposition. It also replaced the former governing Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta as the main conservative voice in the legislature. In 2017, the party merged with the Progressive Conservatives to form the United Conservative Party under the leadership of Jason Kenney, a former federal cabinet minister.
Electoral systems, or voting systems, are methods of choosing political representatives. Provincial election systems, governed by provincial election acts, are similar to the federal system, but differ slightly from each other in important details. Federal election practices are therefore not an accurate guide to provincial elections. The Canadian federal election system is governed by the Canada Elections Act, as amended from time to time.
It took 128 years to make Canada into the country that it is today - and 10 hours of voting and a margin of only 53,498 votes to almost break with that past and reshape both the map and the country's future. No, 50.6 per cent, total votes: 2,361,526. Yes, 49.4 per cent, 2,308,028 votes.
Maybe Manitoba was always immune to the trend. Or perhaps the wave of anti-status quo, throw-the-bums-out sentiment that has swept North America - obliterating the federal Conservatives in the 1993 election and congressional Democrats in the United States last fall - is finally beginning to ebb.
Canadian 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.