justin trudeau

How Do Canada and the United States Differ Politically? (Part 1)

donald trump

This is only my opinion, and not the representation of Saintel Daily, LLC.

The world has changed dramatically over the last few years.  I’m not really sure what is causing these changes, but it’s no secret that politics play a role.  Whether it’s the types of bills that are being passed, or how active people are in terms of their political affiliations, more people are participating.  Political participation isn’t a bad thing at all, so what I want to explore over these next few posts is how the United States fares on the political world stage.  No, this isn’t an attempt to bash Donald Trump for the next four or five posts, but rather, to compare our political system to that of one of our allies.  Rather, I should say – a former ally.  What are the differences between the U.S. political system and our neighbors to the north?

The main difference is that Canada has a fine looking Prime Minister, and we are stuck with a man who looks like a dehydrated Cheeto.  Ok, I said I wasn’t going to make it about Trump, so let’s get down to business.  To start, both Canada and the U.S. are federations. Meaning, they are both made up of self-governing “entities”. Here, we call them states, but in Canada, they’re known as provinces.  I could get into this a bit more, but I don’t think it’s necessary for the purpose of this post.   The intent of this post is to introduce you to a few differences, and then I plan on diving into those differences in more detail in subsequent posts. 

justin trudeau

The actual main difference is that the United States is a republic, which means that we are governed by a President and Congress.  Whereas, Canada is a constitutional monarchy and is governed by a Prime Minister.  Canada has 10 provinces and three territories.  The United States, as you’re aware has 50 states and one district.  Geographically, Canada is larger but has a smaller population.  While the United States declared independence from Britain in 1776, Canada has never really left.  They’re still technically part of the British Commonwealth.  Canada became a nation, under Britain in 1867, and didn’t officially get a constitution until 1982.  Prior to that, Canada operated under the British North America Act, which, for all purposes, acted like a constitution.   The Canadian constitution is also made up of many unwritten components and is based upon “convention”, rather than explicitly stating certain aspects.   

Both legal systems are based upon Common Law, but what makes this so interesting is how the system actually works.  I look forward to exploring this in more detail in an upcoming post as I think it’s important to understand that while they’re the “same” system, the rate of detention is far less in Canada. 

donald trump and justin trudeau

While you already know who the head of the United States is, you might be surprised to hear that Queen Elizabeth is actually the head of the Canadian state.  She is technically represented by a Governor-General, but that is where the real power is held.  Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, however, is the head of the government.  This is also an interesting distinction that I’m looking forward to getting into.

As you’re aware, the United States is divided into three branches – the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch and the Judicial Branch.  While Canada has similar branches, their political system doesn’t rely on them quite the same way that ours does.  Not only is the political system itself different, but the way they elect their representatives is different as well.  In addition, Canada has several more political parties than the United States, and in a separate post, I am going to explore whether or not that is actually better, or worse.

I think it’s important to understand these fundamental differences, especially at a time when Donald Trump is being less than friendly with our neighbors to the north.  I mean, he’s not being friendly with anyone so maybe that says more about him than our political system.  All that aside, are there really that many differences between a bald eagle and a beaver?  The answer may surprise you.