Social Studies 9
• What do you know about Canada’s political process? You
probably know that Canada is a democracy and elections
are held to elect members of parliament.
• You probably also realize that Canada’s federal government,
comprised of Members of Parliament, make Canadian laws.
These laws impact your identity, citizenship, and quality of
• Canada’s federal government works to make a Canada for
all Canadians.
• What does economics mean to you?
• You may know that economics has to do with money. Who
makes the economic decisions that influence your quality
of life, citizenship, and identity?
Governance and Me
• You may not realize it, but
government has a role in many
of the things you do each day.
For example, how do you
know that the food you buy is
safe and healthy for you?
• Government is involved. Or,
how do you get to and from
school safely? Again,
government is involved. The
government supports our lives
in many ways.
• governance: the way a group
or a nation is governed; the
process of governing
• Examine the news video
“Deadly Bacteria Strikes
• This news item looks at the
outbreak of listeriosis—an
infection caused by eating
food with a harmful bacteria—
and the public response to the
• As you watch the video,
determine what role the
government has in solving this
• individual identity: how a person sees himself or herself based on a
set of characteristics and values.
• collective identity: a common or shared identity within a group of
people; e.g., common language, culture, and history.
• As Canadians, individuals share similarities such as language, culture,
and history with other Canadians.
• These similarities define the groups that Canadian citizens belong to.
• Within these groups, individuals share collective identities.
• Individual and collective identities will influence the choices and
decisions each Canadian makes as a citizen.
• Identity Activity
• Consider how your individual identity can be defined and what makes
you unique. Complete the Identifying My Individual Identity handout.
• Read the point of views or perspectives about quality of life as
presented by three Canadians on pages 6 and 7 of your textbook.
• Summarize the main idea of the three speakers featured in your
textbook. Which statements reflect an individual point of view, and
which statements reflect a group perspective on factors affecting
quality of life?
Economics and Me
• How does money affect your daily life? Think
about this past month. What have you spent your
money on? What did your family spend money
• Make a list of items that your personal money
went towards. Make a list of what the family
money went towards.
• goods: things that someone wants or needs
• service: something that someone does, or a
performance of any duty or work for another,
helpful or professional
Economics and Me
• Economics impacts jobs, income, and taxes paid to the
government. Canada’s economic system reflects the values
we have as a society. It affects your quality of life and the
quality of life of all Canadian citizens.
• As an individual, you get to make many economic decisions,
such as what part-time job you have, what clothes you will
buy, or what form of transportation you will use. Your
decisions will be based on the values you hold.
• The Canadian government also makes economic decisions
that affect you. For example, the price of gasoline is
regulated by the federal government as is the Goods and
Services Tax (GST) you pay at the stores. The decisions the
government makes are based on the values of Canadians as
a collective and enacted as law through legislation.
Chapter 1
How effectively does Canada’s federal political
system govern Canada for all Canadians?
• Canada’s Federal Political System
• Canada’s capital city is
• In this section you will
Ottawa. The decision
examine the three
making for Canada takes
branches of Canada’s
place in the Parliament
federal political system, the
buildings. This is where the
role of political parties,
federal government meets.
Members of Parliament
and senators, lobby
groups, and media. You will
also investigate the
legislative process of how a
bill becomes a law.
• On July 1, 1867, Canada as a nation was born, so
every July 1 we celebrate Canada’s birthday.
Canada Day is a time when people from across
Canada celebrate our nation, who we are as
Canadians, and why Canada is such a great place
to live. The Canada you know today has taken
time to build.
• The Fathers of Confederation created the British
North America Act; this act was a set of rules for
how government would attend to the needs of
Canadians. We now refer to the BNA Act as the
constitution. The constitution describes the
rights, freedoms, and responsibilities that
government and citizens have. With the signing
of the BNA Act, a prime minister was chosen to
lead the government.
• Understanding Canadian Government.
• Answer the questions in the Understanding Canadian
Government Questions handout.
• The textbook introduces the role of the prime minister
in a comic tour called “PM for a Day.” together we will
read the comic tour on pages 21, 23, and 26.
• In your notebook begin to identify the roles and
responsibilities of the prime minister, the executive
branch, and the legislative branch.
• To further investigate the executive branch and
legislative branch, we will read pages 22, 24, 25, and 27
of your textbook.
Canada’s Federal Political System
• In government, people who have a similar
perspective or ideas and agree on major issues
often belong to the same political party.
• political party: a group of people who hold a
similar political perspective
• A political party is an organization of people who
hold a similar political perspective. The role of a
political party is to promote a perspective within
government and Canada. Any Canadian citizen
can be a member of a political party.
• Political parties play a central role in Canadian federal politics.
In the October 14, 2008, federal election, the Conservative
Party of Canada was re-elected as the party in power by
winning the most seats in the House of Commons. As leader
of the Conservatives, Stephen Harper continued his role as
the 22nd prime minister of Canada.
• Examine the chart below to see how many seats each political
party won in the 2008 federal election. To win a majority, the
government must win 155 seats.
• Did the Conservative Party win the majority of seats? Winning
a majority is the ideal situation for a political party.
• In Canada, we have many different political parties because Canadians hold
many different points of view and perspectives.
• The news article “Opposition parties plan to oust Conservatives” is an
example of the influence that political parties have on Canadian politics.
Examine the article for names of the parties involved.
• In the House of Commons, in 2009, there are a total of 308 seats. To receive
a majority, a political party must win 155 seats in an election. If a party does
not win 155 seats, but receives the most seats, then the party forms a
minority government.
• Once a government is formed, the parties have varying roles and
responsibilities. The governing party (party with the most seats) forms the
executive branch of government. The party with the next largest number of
seats becomes the official opposition party.
• official opposition party: the political party with the second-most seats in
the House of Commons.
• In the news article, the opposition parties want to create a coalition. If this
were to happen, the Liberals and New Democrats, with support of the Bloc
Québécois, would have a majority government as a coalition. Read page 28
of your textbook to further explore majority and minority governments.
• Party Standings in the 40th Parliament.
• In the News Assignment assignment
The Legislative Branch
• You have learned that the prime minister and cabinet
make important decisions within the executive branch.
However, the executive branch is just one branch of the
House of Commons.
• The legislative branch also has an important role in the
House of Commons. Members of Parliament, along
with senators and the governor general, make up the
legislative branch.
• Each member of the legislative branch has a role.
Being accountable to Canadians is perhaps the most
important role members of the legislative branch have.
• Read Members of Parliament.
• Read pages 27 and 29 of your textbook Issues for
Members of Parliament and senators are chosen differently. MPs are elected by citizens of
Canada in federal elections, and senators are selected by the prime minister
Candidates for parliament generally run in an election under a political party name in their
federal riding. If elected, the candidate becomes one of 308 Members of Parliament
representing ridings from across Canada. The role of an MP is to be accountable, first to
their constituents and then to the Parliament.
riding: a voting area that is represented by a Member of Parliament
constituent: a citizen of a riding
Sir John A. Macdonald, as first prime minister, believed that the Senate was the
opportunity for “sober, second thought.”
This means the Senate is used to ensure that the House of Commons is effective and
The Senate is made up of 105 members from various regions across Canada.
Historically, a senator is selected by the prime minister for many reasons. The reasons may
be cultural, gender, profession, or political party affiliation. The main goal of the Senate is to
represent the rights of regions, provinces, and minorities of the country.
The Senate of Canada video.
Read page 30 ,31 and 32 of your textbook Issues for Canadians .
Rep by Pop: Making Votes Really Count.”
Read “Reforming the Senate.”
Position Assignment: resources you can use is the Rep by Pop Video, the handout titled
Senators, text book, internet, and Notes
Judicial Branch
• The government is involved in your life and that of all Canadians
through the services it provides and the rules it establishes to live by.
The laws of Canada provide order for our society and protection for
each member of society.
• Laws may be like the rules you find in some homes. In some homes,
not following the rules or breaking a rule may lead to consequences
such as being grounded, having to do extra chores, or losing family
privileges. Rules, like laws, may establish order in a home.
• In your local community or city, there are also local or municipal laws.
These laws are called bylaws. Bylaws are established to create health,
safety, and wellness in the community. These bylaws might include
traffic safety, animal control, and police services. For example, a city of
Edmonton bylaw requires all residents to remove snow and ice from
city sidewalks near their residences within 48 hours of a snowfall. All
violations are dealt with by local or municipal courts.
• At the national level, the federal court system upholds the laws of
Canada. When the courts cannot make a decision, or a decision is
challenged, it may reach the highest court of Canada known as the
Supreme Court of Canada.
The third branch of government includes the court system:
Supreme Court of Canada
federal courts
provincial courts
These three courts comprise the judicial branch. The
judicial branch also ensures peace, order, and good
government for all Canadians. It is the responsibility of the
judicial branch to ensure the rights of Canadians are
respected. The judges interpret the laws and apply them to
specific situations.
• judicial branch: the part of government that interprets and
applies the law by making final legal judgments
• Read the comic tour on page 34,and 35 of your textbook as
you begin your introduction to the role of the Supreme
Court of Canada.
The Supreme Court
• The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court in Canada. It is
considered the court of last resort as the Supreme Court hears appeals
of civil, criminal, and constitutional cases that have been tried in lower
courts. For example, a civil case may deal with matters of the Charter
of Rights and Freedoms. Other times, the Supreme Court of Canada
may be asked by the government to respond to constitutional
• The judges who sit on the Supreme Court are highly respected and
experienced. When a Supreme Court judge retires, a list of
nominations for this special role is developed. A committee of
Members of Parliament from all political parties creates a final short
list of three judges to nominate. The prime minister then makes the
final selection.
• There are nine judges in total: Three judges come from Ontario, three
judges are from Québec, two come from the Western provinces, and
one is from Atlantic Canada. Did you notice that there are an odd
number of judges sitting in the Supreme Court? This ensures that
there will never be a tie in judgment.
• Next, read each step of the
Federal Accountability Act (FAA)
• How a Law Is Made
on pages 40 and 41 of your
• Go to pages 39, 40, and 41 of
your textbook, and read
• You will notice that after the bill
went through the second
“Case Study: The Federal
house, it returned to the House
Accountability Act.” On page
of Commons and back to the
39 of your textbook, read
to have more
about the issues raised by the Senate
amendments reviewed and
“sponsorship scandal.”
accepted. This was particular to
the FAA—the usual path of a
• Investigate the role of the
bill is through the first and
auditor general of Canada,
second houses and then royal
also known as a “watchdog”
who identified the need for
responsible and accountable • Respond to the “Critical
Thinking Challenge” question
government spending.
on page 39 of your textbook.
How do the media connect Canadians
to their Government?
• You are presented with current events and news every
day. It may be a friend or neighbour saying, “Did you
• It may be something that you saw on the front page of
your newspaper, read in a magazine, heard on
television or the radio, or read on a news service on
the Internet.
• Media is everywhere, and it is a very important part of
keeping all Canadians informed about government
actions and decisions.
• Together read pages 46-47
• Slogan: a phrase repeatedly used by politicians or
marketers to present ideas.
• How does the source of your news affect the
information you get?
• Do some formats communicate more
effectively than others?
• How do you know if you have access to
reliable, balanced information?
• According to Mr. Martin on page 47, what is
the main role of Government? Do you Agree
or Disagree? Why?
What's the Parliamentary Press Gallery
• A group of journalists who are assigned to cover the federal
• Includes 350 reporters from media outlets across Canada
• Includes the following networks
Aboriginal Peoples Television Network
Association de la Press Francophone
Ming Pao News
• Read page 48
• Why do you think groups in Canada want media outlets
that serve their communities?
HOMEWORK: How to DETECT BIAS, page 49.
• Media includes: newspaper, magazine, film, television,
Internet, billboards
• Politicians use media to:
– Control how the media presents them
– Communicate what they want Canadians to know
• All media messages are created
– Journalists chose which story to cover, interpret the facts
and make choices about how to tell the story
– Need to be aware of who is giving the information, what
perspective (side) is being told, and what the bias might
– People need to dig around and find credible sources with
credible information
Lobby Groups and the Media
• The ability to voice your opinion is an essential right that all Canadians enjoy. The
ability to share your views on issues of governance is part of being an active citizen.
This being said, many voices together have more power than one lone voice. Often,
Canadians with a specific interest will join together to create a larger voice to
influence and effect change on government decisions. These groups are known as
lobby groups.
• Media works to present the many points of view or perspectives within an issue to
the general public. This may include points of view of individuals and government
officials and the perspectives of lobby groups and government parties.
• Lobby groups often represent Canadians and work to influence government
decisions. A few examples of lobby groups are Mothers Against Drunk Drivers
(MADD), Greenpeace, and Friends of Medicare.
• Each of these lobby groups has been actively pressuring governments to make
changes to present laws or create new laws. For example, MADD has been lobbying
for more serious penalties for drinking and driving. The group is working closely
with government officials to pass bill C-32, which would increase conviction rates of
impaired drivers.
• Both lobby groups and media are part of an effective democracy. Both are used to
influence and present the decisions that government makes to protect elements of
democracy—justice, equity, freedoms, and representation for all Canadians.
• lobby group: an interest or pressure group that
tries to influence government decisions
• justice: the fair treatment of individuals and
• equity: the ability for individuals and groups to
have the same opportunities
• freedom: the right for people to think and speak
as they wish
• representation: the process where citizens have
someone (e.g, elected officials) to speak on their
• What issue is represented in
the political cartoon?
• Identify the individuals,
groups, and institutes involved
in the issue.
• Examine how each is
represented and what this
might mean.
• You should see that the
Internet pirate is big and well
protected while the Canadian
court is the leg of the pirate.
You might assume that
Internet piracy is a big issue
and the courts are unable to
do very much about it.
• Read the article “Canadian musicians form own lobby
• Determine how lobby groups and media are involved in an
effective democracy. Find out what lobby group is involved
and what they are working to achieve in the democratic
• Now read“New Copyright Act targets online piracy.”
• Examine how the Canadian Music Creators Coalition has
become a lobby group to take on the role of influencing
government decisions on music related issues.
• In both articles you have seen how media and lobby groups
are voices in an effective democracy.
• Media and lobby groups work to ensure that the interests
of Canadians are considered in government decisions. Both
articles reflect how the pressures of media and lobby
groups make government more accountable to Canadians.
• Now Complete the assignment Identify Components of
Effective Democracy
• Now read page 51-53
Examples of Lobby groups
• Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Founded in
Manchester in 1889 to campaign against the
'barbarous trade in plumes for women's hats'.[6]
• Sierra Club Formed in 1892 to help protect the Sierra
• Stop the War Coalition against the War on Terrorism
which included a march of between 750,000 and
2,000,000 people in London in 2003.[7]
• National Rifle Association Formed in New York is 1871
to protect the rights of gun-owners

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