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Elections and Ridings Section
About Elections and Ridings

An election is the process of choosing a representative by vote. In a federal general election, the voters in each riding or constituency elect a representative to the House of Commons. Canada uses a plurality or first past the post voting system. The person who gets the most votes is elected, even if this is not a majority. Generally, the party which has the most members elected forms the Government. The Constitution sets the maximum duration of a Parliament at five years. Governments, however, may at any time call an election, and often do so after three or four years. Governments can also be defeated on a question of confidence, thereby precipitating an earlier election.  Federal elections in Canada are administrated by Election Canada, an arm's-length agency established by Parliament.

Find out about the Canadian electoral system, election campaigns, and the evolution of the franchise.


Updated on: 2012.01.27

Revised on: 2012.01.27

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