is a constitutional monarchy with Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, as
head of state. The country is a parliamentary democracy with a federal
system of parliamentary government. The monarch is represented by the
Governor General, who exercises almost all of the duties of the Queen.
The body directing the use of executive powers in the Cabinet, a
committee of the appointed Privy Council made up by the Prime
Minister, who acts as head of government. The Governor General
appoints the leader of the political party that gains majority in the
House of Commons. The leader of the party with the second most number
of seats in the House of Commons becomes the Leader of the Opposition
and helps maintain a system of checks and balances in the government.
parliament is made up of the Queen and two houses: the House of
Commons and the Senate. Members of the House of Commons are elected by
simple plurality in an electoral district. Members of the Senate are
appointed by the Prime Minister and formally approved by the Governor
General. Senators serve until age 75.
Updated: 19 March 2008