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Government Defined

We often use the term "government" to mean everything connected with running a country, including the people or parties in power and their laws, customs, and institutions.  In fact, that is what we mean when we talk about "levels of government" or a "system of government."  

We also use "government" to mean one institution, such as the House of Commons, or perhaps just the party in office, such as "the Conservative government" or "the Liberal government" or "the New Democrat government."  But in our parliamentary system, "government" has a very limited and specific meaning: it's the team of elected representatives (the Cabinet) who, with the support of a majority in the Assembly, takes care of public business, including making laws and spending tax dollars.

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Reprinted from Teacher's Guide to the Alberta Legislature, 1993 with permission from the Legislative Assembly Office.


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