Politics of Montreal



The Government of Canada (Gouvernement du Canada) has a parliamentary system within the context of a constitutional monarchy, as per the Constitution Act, 1867. The monarchy is a foundation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II, head of state for 15 other Commonwealth countries. The Queen's representative, the Governor General of Canada is currently David Lloyd Johnston. The government is defined by the constitution as the Queen acting on the advice of her privy council. However, in practice the role of the monarchy in Canada is limited. Their executive powers are directed by the Cabinet, a committee of ministers of the Crown responsible to the elected House of Commons and chosen and headed by the Prime Minister of Canada. The Canadian constitution includes written statutes, court rulings, and unwritten conventions developed over centuries that outline governance.


One of the main duties of the Crown is to "ensure that a democratically elected government is always in place," which means appointing a Prime Minister, the most powerful institution in government. Per convention, the governor general must appoint as prime minister the person who holds the confidence of the House of Commons. In practice, this is typically the leader of the political party that holds more seats than any other party in that chamber. Once sworn in by the viceroy, the prime minister holds office until he or she resigns or is removed by the governor general, after either a motion of non confidence or his party's defeat in a general election. It is responsible for initiating most legislation for parliamentary approval and selecting for appointment by the Crown, governor general, lieutenant governors, senators, federal court judges, and heads of Crown corporations and government agencies.
The office is currently headed by Stephen Harper (Conservative Party). The leader of the party with the second-most seats usually becomes the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, presently Thomas Mulcair. This position plays an important part as an adversarial to keep the government in check.


The Parliament of Canada is a bicameral national legislature. The Centre Block of the Canadian parliament buildings are located on Parliament Hill in the national capital of Ottawa. The legislature consists of the Queen (represented by the governor general), the appointed Senate (upper house), and the elected House of Commons (lower house).

The governor general summons and appoints the members of senators on the advice of the prime minister. The Crown provides the necessary Royal Assent to make bills into law. The Crown, acting on the advice of the prime minister, also summons, prorogues, and dissolves parliament in order to call an election, as well as reads the Throne Speech.

The Senate consists of 105 members, appointed by the governor general. The Senate reviews legislation from a less partisan standpoint.

The House of Commons is the dominant branch of parliament with the Senate and Crown rarely opposing its will. It consists of 308 members (Members of Parliament). They are directly elected by eligible voters in the Canadian populace. Each member represents a single electoral district for a period mandated by law of not more than four years (the constitution mandates a maximum of five years).


The sovereign is responsible for rendering justice for all her subjects, but does not personally rule in judicial cases. The judicial functions of the Royal Prerogative are performed in trust and in the Queen's name by officers of Her Majesty's courts. The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law of the country. The Constitution Act, 1867 (known as the British North America Act prior to 1982), affirmed governance based on parliamentary precedent and divided powers between the federal and provincial governments.

Canada's judiciary interprets laws and has the power to strike down Acts of Parliament that violate the constitution.
The Supreme Court is composed of nine members and is the highest court and final arbiter. It is led by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin (the first female Chief Justice). Its members are appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister and minister of justice.


Note that Canadian parties at the federal level are often only loosely connected with parties at the provincial level, despite having similar names.


Politics of Québec

Politics of Québec are centered on a provincial government, resembling that of the other Canadian provinces, namely a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. The capital of the province is Québec City, where the Lieutenant Governor, Premier, the legislature, and cabinet reside. The unicameral legislature - the National Assembly of Québec - has 125 members. Government is conducted based on the Westminster model. Common law is the basis everywhere in Canada except Québec. Here, civil law predominates.

Montréal City Council

The Municipal government of Montréal is composed of a borough council, a city council and an agglomeration council. Councillors are members of municipal political parties and are elected by the citizens. The Executive committee is appointed by the mayor.

The Montréal City Council is the governing body of Montréal. It is the city's primary decision-making body and is composed of 65 elected officials:

Mayor of Montréal - head of the executive branch of Montréal City Council. Also the mayor of Ville-Marie borough. The Mayor is directly elected by citizens, by a plurality of votes, for a four-year term.
18 borough (arrondissements) mayors - lead the 19 boroughs in urban planning, solid waste collection, culture, social and community development, parks, cleaning, housing, human resources, fire prevention and financial management.
46 city councillors - elected by direct universal suffrage in a majority system and have a mandate of four years.

The Mayor's office is located in Montréal City Hall (Hôtel de Ville de Montréal).
Address: 275 Rue Notre-Dame Est, Montréal
Tel: 1 514-844-5400

Executive Committee

The executive committee depends on the Montréal City Council, but has its own decision-making powers. Is responsible for preparing different documents, such as budgets, contracts, subsidies, financial resources management, regulations, etc., subject to the approval of the City Council. This Council may delegate other powers to the Executive Committee. The Executive Council has twelve members, all appointed by the Mayor of Montréal.


Update 21/05/2013

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