Canada is a constitutional monarchy. The Crown in Canada was first established by the kings of France in the sixteenth century. Organized as a royal province of France, both French and British kings and queens have reigned over Canada since 1534. Under Canada's sovereigns, the country has evolved from a French colony to an independent nation.
Canada’s Head of State
In Canada’s system of government, the power to govern is vested in the Crown but is entrusted to the government to exercise on behalf and in the interest of the people. The Crown reminds the government of the day that the source of the power to govern rests elsewhere and that it is only given to them for a limited duration.
The Governor General and Lieutenant Governors
The Governor General and the ten Lieutenant Governors represent the Crown in Canada and act on The Queen's behalf.
The Governor General’s role and responsibilities consist mainly in carrying out many of the duties on behalf of The Queen. For example, he or she presides over the swearing-in of the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of Canada and cabinet ministers. However, there are powers that can only be exercised by the Queen. The Lieutenant Governors of the provinces perform similar duties at the provincial level.
The Parliament of Canada
Her Majesty's representatives act on the advice of the Prime Minister or ministers responsible to the House of Commons or the provincial legislative assemblies.
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