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How Canadians Govern Themselves

by Eugene A. ForseyGet the PDF
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Provinces and Municipalities

Go to the Touchpoints Game
Every province has a legislative assembly (there are no upper houses) that is very similar to the House of Commons and transacts its business in much the same way. All bills must go through three readings and receive Royal Assent by the lieutenant-governor. In the provinces, assent has been refused 28 times, the last in 1945, in Prince Edward Island. Members of the legislature are elected from constituencies established by the legislature roughly in proportion to population, and whichever candidate gets the largest number of votes is elected, even if his or her vote is less than half the total.

Municipal governments — cities, towns, villages, counties, districts, metropolitan regions — are set up by the provincial legislatures, and have such powers as the legislatures see fit to give them. Mayors, reeves and councillors are elected on a basis that the provincial legislature prescribes.

Municipal governments take care of city parks.
There are now roughly 4,000 municipal governments in the country. They provide us with such services as water supply, sewage and garbage disposal, roads, sidewalks, street lighting, building codes, parks, playgrounds, libraries and so forth. Schools are generally looked after by school boards or commissions elected under provincial education acts.

Through self-government and land claims agreements, indigenous peoples are increasingly assuming powers and responsibilities similar to those enjoyed by provinces and municipalities.

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