Economic Statements

I’ve briefly talked about the Budget and economic statements in the tutorial on the legislative branch, but given that the federal finance minister, Joe Oliver, gave an update this afternoon, and other Canadian jurisdictions have or will be giving their own, I thought it would be a good idea to have a post to distinguish between the budget and economic statements. Continue reading


Samara Canada’s Guide to Speech from the Throne

Though we are just over a week past the reading of the Speech from the Throne, I wanted to give a shout out to a wonderful resource from Samara Canada which is a pop-up video guide to the Throne Speech at the federal level.


How A Bill Becomes A Law

I could have “re-invented the wheel” by developing a tutorial or a post on how a bill becomes a law, but there are many good resources available to the public about this legislative process. I will, therefore, be posting some links to these resources here:

As I find new resources, I will update this page.

Like a Family Reunion: The Council of the Federation and Its Significance

This week, you may have heard about a meeting taking place in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a meeting of the Council of the Federation. It’s a pretty big deal as political meetings go. It is an inter-provincial council made up of provincial and territorial first ministers: the premiers.

Why is it significant? Well, it’s a time for all of the provincial executives to get together to discuss the significant issues facing the country and particularly those issues which have implications for the provinces, to debate policy, to form contacts and make deals with each other, and it is also an opportunity for the premiers to get together and talk strategy. Continue reading

Budget Process

Steve Paikin of TV Ontario posted an entry to his blog in which he described a procedure known as pre-budget lock up . You can find that post here.

This is a process that goes on before every budget, in every province and at the federal level on the day the respective minister of finance tables (or introduces) the budget in the legislature.

Given how important a budget is in the life of a government, particularly one in minority (it is a motion on which the government loses confidence automatically if it fails to pass), it is no wonder there is tight security.

Some trivia items about the budget:
• The minister of finance always buys a new pair of shoes.
• Typically, the minister will wear a flower on their lapel.
• As mentioned above, the accepted precedent in Westminster parliamentary systems is
that if the budget (or supply) bill(s) do not pass a vote of the legislature, a government is
said to have lost confidence. Either an election is triggered (the more likely scenario) or
the Lt Governor/ Governor General could inquire to the Leader of the Opposition if s/he is
able to form a government.

Cabinet Shuffle

As we shall see in an up-coming tutorial, Cabinet or the Executive Council, is a decision-making body of the Executive Branch composed of appointed ministers of the Crown each responsible for a file (such as defence, finance, health) known as a portfolio. The Cabinet also includes the Prime Minister (or premier at the provincial level) as head of government. These ministers are appointed out of the caucus of MPs (or MLAs, MPPs, MNAs at the provincial level) from the party with the most seats in the Legislature by the Governor General (or Lieutenant Governor at the provincial level) on the advice of the Prime Minister.


So, essentially, they are appointed by the head of government and are therefore loyal to him or her. The number of Cabinet Ministers changes from government to government: it grows in membership or shrinks in membership on the will of the head of government.

Given this, it is the prerogative of the head of government to change the composition of the Cabinet and change who is in cabinet and in what position. Continue reading