Context!

In case you're asking yourself what is going on and why you are still trying to find out... 

If you don't want to wade into this, here's a quick, fun answer. It was filmed in 2009 so some things have been update, some of which can be found at the bottom of this page*



This blog and its contents are mostly comments on Canadian politics.

Here's a crash course just because:

We have 10 provinces and 3 territories (which can be likened to the states in the U.S. in a sense...).

Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal are all ridiculously cool party cities.

But Ottawa is our capital. It's about as cool as Stephen Harper. And this is about as cool as he gets. He is our current Prime Minister. Our head hauncho. Our front man...

But! We did not vote for him as one would vote for the President of the United States. We voted (technically) for the MPs in his party, which voted for him as their leader. Having won the election (which occurs every 4 years--tomfoolery and dissolutions of government aside), he and his party are in power.
However! Had we voted by a first-past-the-post-system (which works similar to the election of a high school prez) instead of by proportional representation, he would have not gained his majority :o...Whether or not we should change our electoral system is a big fat controversy :)


 Our official opposition is currently the New Democratic Party  (NDP). They are basically the ones who came in second place. They are currently in the process of selecting a new leader as their former one, Jack Layton (lovely man, lovely mustache) passed away in August of this year (2011, in case I never update this again).
 They technically carry the most weight as far as opposition to government policies go but Harper's party won enough seats last election to gain a majority and can now bypass the opposition.

 Political parties are generally described in terms of where they fall on a spectrum from left to right 
(it has also been likened to a circle but for this well stick with the spectrum).
Stephen Harper's party is the Conservative party of Canada (CPC) which is described as being center, right. The NDP are left.  


You may be thinking, "Don't you have a Queen?" We do. The reigning monarch of Britain is our Head of State and has about as much power over us as the parents of a 35 year old son still living in their basement would have. So I'm not going to get into it. 

 In Canada we have a
 constitutional democracy which is broken up into a three tiered system; federal (national), provincial, and municipal. Each level of government has its own select responsibilities (which sometimes intermingle, like health care); basically the feds worry about national concerns, the provincial government worry about concerns relevant to their respective provinces (or territories), and the municipal government is concerned with bus strikes--hee hee. Inside joke.
The federal government can be found working in our
Parliament which is located in our nation's capital. If you would like to know more about the levels of government within Parliament you can check out this or get a brief summary with this.


And that's all I can think of right now...:) If you stumble on this blog and take the time to read that VERY condensed lesson and have suggestions for its improvement, lemme know. Please!


SUMMARY

Capital: Ottawa
Provinces: 10

Territories: 3
Prime Minister: Stephan Harper
Party in power: Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) (center,right)
Official Opposition Party: New Democratic Party (NDP) (left)


Other federal parties:
Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) (center,left): leader...to be decided. Bob Rae is filling in.
Green Party of Canada (GPC) (left): leader, Elizabeth May


* This was filmed in 2009
   The Governor General is now the Honourable David Johnston
   Stephen Harper now has a majority government as of the last election  


Fair warning, I got most of my links from wiki so they may contain some biases...but everything contains biases, especially the party websites. To really get a sense of each party or how you feel about the parties you can try using this.