10 Reasons for an American Governmental System over a Canadian Governmental System


February 23, 2004


1) A History filled with pride and patriotism. The founders of America had to fight for their freedom to govern themselves. Although it may have been violent, the American Revolutionary War was fought under principles that were noble, and this instills a nationalistic pride and gives the foundations of America a global respect.


2) A strict constitution that spells out how power is to be divided, and the roles of the government defined. The American constitution directly spells out the power of the president, the congress and the judicial system, while the Canadian system relies on many unwritten rules, such as the Role of the Prime minister and party


3) Complete separation of branches of government. The American system has three branches of government, executive, legislative and judicial. The President is the head of the government, but they have no power over the legislative branch, the Congress. In Canada, the Prime minister is the head of the legislative and executive branches, giving them a large amount of power every aspect of the government. The congress is free to vote against the presidents wishes, but in Canada the Parliament is expected to follow the prime ministers wishes. As long as the primeminister has a majority government, it is very unlikely for a bill put forth to be stopped from passing.


4) Checks and Balances on Power. Each of the three breaches has checks on the other two. For example, the Judicial branch interprets the constitution and is able to decide whether legislation is constitutional, but the congress is able to amend the constitution to override the Judicial branch. The president can veto any bill put forth by the congress, but the congress is able to impeach a president if it can receive 2/3 of a vote in both houses, which is very hard to get. This ensures that each branch has equal power, and if any of the branches make a decision, the other two must accept it as well.


5) Americas head of state is also the head of government. America is free from any commitment to a monarchy, unlike in Canada. Canada has a Governor General, who acts on behalf of the queen of England. They have the power to veto government legislation. In America, there is no foreign influence on the government. In Canada in the 1980’s, the Canadian government had to ask the British government to amend the Canadian constitution.


6) Both houses of the Legislative branch have equal power. The Senate and House of representatives have equal power in congress, which the representatives are elected to, while the senate in Canada is controlled by the House of Commons, because senators are appointed. Canada’s senate has become largely ceremonial, and has little power.


7) Set election dates for the President. The second Tuesday in November, every 4 years, is the set date for presidential election. This means the public is aware of when the election is called. In Canada, the Prime minister sets the date of their own election. This allows them to call the election when their party is strong in the publics opinion, while the President’s election goes through, no mater of the opinion of the public is of them.


8) Variation in election. In America, elections are held at varying times, the House of Representatives every 2 years, the Senate 1/3 every two years, and the president every 4 years. This ensures that the government changes at least every two years, in varying amounts. In Canada, elections must be called in 5 years, and until the government is elected on again within 5 years, the government remains the same.


9) Limitation of power to the Government. Because of the staggering of elections, the 2 political parties are limited to the power they receive while in office. Hence a Republican president way have to face the wishes of a Democrat congress. In Canada, the government can switch from a Conservative government to a liberal government, which allows drastic changes to be made in favor of the parties. Since in America, the population is almost divided “fifty fifty” conservative and liberal, this means the government is often more in the center of the political spectrum, than one way left