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Federal Government

At the federal level, the government consists of the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers.  The Prime Minister and cabinet are always members of the same political party, usually the one that has the most members in the House of Commons, unless a Minority Government is currently in power.  No one else, not even the other Members of Parliament belonging to the Prime Minister's party, are part of the government in the parliamentary sense of the term.

In the parliamentary system at the federal level, the government is part of the institution called Parliament.  Parliament consists of the Governor General, representing the Queen, and two Houses, the House of Commons (the "lower House") and the Senate (the "upper House").  In turn, the House of Commons consists of all Members of Parliament - MPs - while the Senate is made up of Senators appointed by the Prime Minister.  Parliament's areas of responsibility under our Constitution include citizenship, foreign policy, national defence, currency, banking, and the postal service.

   

   

   

   

   

    

    

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Voices of Politics
Former Progressive Conservative MP David Crombie talks with elementary students about the division of responsibilities between the federal and provincial governments and within the federal system.
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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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