Canadian vs. American Constitution

Topics: United States Constitution, United States, Supreme Court of the United States Pages: 6 (2035 words) Published: April 4, 2013
A governmental system is required in each aspect of our lives to maintain justice and regulate order through a reasonable and unbiased approach. Rules and regulations need to be implemented within society to ensure that the fundamental freedoms of individuals are guaranteed, both equally and justifiably. This paper will discuss the importance and relevance of constitutions to our everyday lives, with a particular focus on the Canadian Constitution and how it essentially allows us to live in a democratic and free society. According to Christopher E. Taucer, constitutions “empower the government by setting out bodies with authority and their powers and limits on that authority,” (2001, 1) and hence, lay out the collective values within a geographical region in a state. In this way, a constitution protects the rights of citizens, irrespective of their sex, religion, case, or physical appearance. It can be said that a constitution is a social contract between the government and the people it governs. This paper will analyze the similarities and differences between the Canadian Constitution and the American Constitution, highlighting both their strengths and weaknesses. By providing key examples of how these constitutions differ in their rights, electoral processes, and systems of government, I will demonstrate the significance that this information contains about the politics of both countries. Within the many sections of the analysis, I will elaborate on the divisions of power, the separation of these powers, the American Bill of Rights versus the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as the civil liberties we as Canadians are grateful to have and how the American Constitution requires certain amendments to accommodate to a more liberal, modern group of citizens. Constitutions are important in setting up rules and guidelines for nations to run by and they have great purpose in countries that are run seamlessly and effortlessly. A constitution sets up the basic structures of government including the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. This allows the country to be governed in a certain way without being corrupt and mislead. It defines the powers of the various branches of government, so nations know what they are allowed and capable of doing. They place limitations on the powers of government so the power isn’t being abused and used for the wrong things and lastly it sets out a process by which changes can be made to the constitution. The U.S and the Canadian constitution set out the basic procedures by which the country needs to be run. Canada inherited a system of responsible government from the British in which the executive sits in the legislative branch and depends on votes of confidence by the House of Commons or legislature. When the legislative branch loses confidence in the executive, the cabinet must resign, call an election or form a new cabinet and then gain confidence The U.S government is vastly different where a system of checks and balances is in place in which the executive, legislative, and judicial branches are held in check by each other. The President may provide leadership and initiate important legislation but does not vote on bills in the legislative branch. The president may use the veto power to block parts or all of a bill. The veto can be overcome by a 2/3 majority vote in Congress.

The division of powers between the two countries is quite different. The US constitution was mainly based on the idea of having powerful state governments, with a small central government. The 10th Amendment reserves all powers to the states. Each state has its own constitution, which does not conflict with the US constitution. The US constitution states the powers of the central government, while giving unlimited power to each of its states. The Canadian Constitution is the opposite, it has listed the powers of both provincial and central governments, with the central government having the...
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