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.
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.
Political patronage in Canada is a broad term covering the granting of favours, money, jobs, government contracts or appointments to individuals or corporations in exchange for political or monetary support. Patronage can range from the relatively benign — political campaign members are frequently hired as staff members for elected officials — to outright corruption and fraud. Patronage is linked to lobbying, conflict of interest and corruption and is therefore a politically volatile subject. Though some efforts have been made to discourage patronage, the practice remains a fixture of Canadian political life.
Electoral reform is the process of reviewing and reconfiguring the structure of electoral politics, i.e., the way in which voters elect their representatives. In Canada, electoral reform has historically occurred through reconfigurations of electoral ridings, or the extension of the right to vote to previously disenfranchised groups of people. Attempts have been made to change electoral systems on a number of occasions, at both the provincial and federal level. The matter was of specific interest throughout 2016 due to the Liberal Party’s pledge during the 2015 federal election campaign to enact reform by 2019. However, the Trudeau government abandoned this in February 2017, citing a lack of consensus on the issue.
Lobbying is the process through which individuals and groups articulate their interests to federal, provincial or municipal governments in order to influence public policy or government decision-making. Lobbyists may be paid third parties who communicate on behalf of their clients, or may be employees of a corporation or organization seeking to influence the government. Because of the possibility for conflict of interest, lobbying is the subject of much public scrutiny. Nevertheless, it serves the important purpose of providing individual and collective interests with access to government. At the federal level, lobbying activities are governed by the Lobbying Act, while provinces and municipalities have their own laws and by-laws.
In December 1837 and January 1838, in the wake of heavy defeats at the hands of British and Loyalist forces, Upper and Lower Canadian rebels fled to the United States where they sought financial and military assistance. Though the American public was aware that there had been an armed conflict in the Canadas, and many were even initially very supportive, the presence of Canadian rebels on American soil along with growing tensions with Great Britain amid the Caroline Affair forced many to question American involvement. The rebels appeared at a very divisive moment in American history, forcing many to consider the social, political, diplomatic or economic ramifications of the rebellions on the Early American Republic. Though the rebels received support in the borderland, most believed that the United States should remain neutral.
Political parties are organizations that seek to control government and participate in public affairs by nominating candidates for elections. Since there are typically multiple groups that wish to do this, political parties are best thought of as part of a party system, which is the way political parties conduct themselves in order to structure political competition.