Mar 11, 2019 in Research
Government Models in the United States and Canada

Governments of different countries differ on the basis of the structure, ruling policy and the governing elements. The three differing basis are clearly outlined in the respective country`s constitution. A country has to look into different internal affairs before coming up with the constitution. This is because the constitution must take into consideration of the citizen’s culture and background. For instance, American constitution was made on the basis that there is only one national language compared to Canada whereby their constitution was made taking into account of different languages in the country. Therefore, this leads to a difference in their ruling policies. This paper compares and contrasts the Responsible Government Model in Canada and Separations Powers Model across the United States (USA) revealing that USA is the most democratic nation between the two due to availability of a clear platform where citizens can openly express their views. 

United States has a presidential-congressional government that is based on separation of powers. Generally, separation of powers means that powers do not wholly rely on one individual. For example, in America the members of the presidential body cannot be members of either houses of congress. Members of the presidential body include the president and his or her cabinet meaning that the president and the cabinet members cannot appear in the two houses of congress. Most importantly, they cannot introduce a bill, defend it, answer questions or rebut attacks on policies. Moreover, a member of the congress cannot be the president or a member of the cabinet. Contrary to that, Canada`s parliamentary-cabinet government is based on concentration of powers. This means that most of the powers in Canada`s case centrally depend on one person. In Canada, the prime minister and the cabinet members must be members of either of the houses. Government bills should be introduced by a minister or the minister`s representative. Additionally, ministers are supposed to appear before the cabinet to answer questions and defend the government bills. He or she must also rebut attacks on the policies that are obligated to him or her. Therefore, that shows the responsible model of the Canadian government.

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Separation of powers in the United States has affected the governance since it has denied the president and his or cabinet the direct role to manage the whole government. In addition, the congress and the senate put the president under pressure. In that case, the president may be from a minor party whereas the members of the congress and senate are from the majority party. This situation keeps the president on the limelight and he lacks freedom and feels pinned down because every idea that he comes up with is at a risk of being rejected. Therefore, the president may lack to fulfill his promises to the Americans solely because there is lack of support from the houses of senate and congress. In Canada, the governance only ensures that it has majority support in the House of Common. This is an achievable task because the governance is elected from the same party as the majority in the House of Commons. Therefore, the governance shows full responsibility to control government affairs and this as a result helps in ensuring effectiveness of government practices across Canada. 

Furthermore, separation of powers in the United States is evident in the government’s term of service. The United States’ presidents are elected after every four years. This gives them only four years to deliver to the Americans. Moreover, congress members are elected at the end of four years ensuring that they only deliver within the four years. However, only a third of the senate seats are vied for at the end of the four years. That means that the members of the senate have a great role in service delivery in their attempt to enhance government continuity in its activities. On the other hand Canada depicts no limit in terms of service meaning that the people are not rigidly fixed. Therefore, the governance takes full responsibility. In that case, the governance can introduce a bill into parliament and proceed without any rejection because it has majority members in the House of Commons.

In the USA, the president is kept at close check by the senate and the congress. This is because of the separation of powers that the senate can terminate the president`s term by voting a vote of no confidence while the president cannot terminate the house’s term. This forces the president to do everything in order to ensure that he or she does not lose his or her seat. However, the Canadian government, headed by the prime minister, is at a close control of the Prime Minister. Once the prime minister has been blocked by the House of Commons, he can make a way for a new prime minister or allow the people to elect a new house of commons. This should be done within two to three months of such an occurrence. This means that both the prime minister can be gotten out of office before completion of their term. Therefore, the Canadian governance ought to be responsible in each of its dealings in order to avoid termination of their term of service.

Furthermore, the American`s constitution has encouraged separation of powers since it gives details on custom, usage, practice and convention in every government`s setup. For instance, the president’s duties, qualification for election, method of election and removal are stipulated clearly by the constitution. This shows the distinct boundaries that are present in every position in the USA. This is applied separation of powers government model as no person in the governance seat can cross the boundaries of what he or she has been asked to do. That is different from the Canadian system since the prime minister`s details have never been stipulated in the constitution whatsoever.  This is also true for other government posts and it enables people who have been granted those positions to develop a sense of responsibility because they have to perform effectively in the areas they come across.

The USA government portrays a sense of decentralization because different sections have different roles and areas of governance. For instance, USA is formed of states. These states are under a governor. A state demands rights from the country`s government. It demands sovereignty whereby the government cannot interfere with the state`s affairs in any way whatsoever. The states also demand respect to their resources as stipulated by the constitution. Failure to this, the states tend to wrangle with the country`s governance. Therefore, this shows that the there is a sense of separation of powers that are divided among various organs. On the contrary, Canada has a centralized system of governance. The Canadians view the prime minister as the supreme organ of the country meaning that they are subjects to his or her rulings. Any rule that the prime minister comes up with should be adhered with by the nation. Moreover, the cabinet has to report to the prime minister on their progress and that enables the countries development programs to run effectively and efficiently because there is uniformity in governance. Additionally, any project that the government comes up with takes a short time to be accomplished because the wrangles that tend to waste time are eliminated. Therefore, a sense of responsibility is created in the government administration policy.

The USA federal system is based on the division of powers in the fact that the president only ascends the bills that the senate and congress comes up with. If the president finds out that the bill is not to the point, he or she should give reasonable reasons as to why he or she has not ascended the bill. Failure to give reasons enforces the bill to become a law. The main weakness is that the president may be forced to sign in a bill that is not friendly to the citizens as he or she was not responsible for taking the bill to the senate or congress for debate. The senate and the congress may also lead to collapsing of the America`s economy. They may do so in attempts to satisfy their selfish needs. For instance, the congress may reduce tax on import claiming that they aim at improving trade with other nations yet in real sense they are targeting at improving their private businesses. The president finds him or herself at a point of doing nothing to ascend such a bill yet he or she could see the negativity in the bill. Consequently, this shows how separation of powers can be used to manipulate the citizen. The president is blamed for such instances yet he or she is not responsible. Although the Canadian government is federal as USA, Canada has no division of powers. Their parliamentary systems remain to be a subject of the prime minister or the cabinet. Therefore, the prime minister and his or her cabinet determine how the government would be run. The cabinet minister is responsible of tabling a bill in the House of Commons. He or she is asked questions by members of the House of Commons regarding the bill and that helps in passing of a sound bill into a law as there are checks of the bill in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister therefore, is assured of ascending a nice bill. This shows that the parties involved in making of a bill are responsible in their task and their end product is a good bill that is advantageous to the Canadians.

In Canada, there is a relationship between the legislature arm of the government and the executive arm of the government. The prime minister is the head of the executive and at the same time he or she is the head of the legislature arm of the government. This enhances smooth coordination of the executive and the legislature. This in return minimizes the chances of wrangles between the two arms of the government. Therefore, responsibility is cultivated in any stakeholder in the two arms. In America, there is no relationship between the executive and legislature. The president heads the executive in America while the senate and the congress form the legislature arm of the USA government. The president elected ought not to be a member of the senate and the congress. This means that there is no one to coordinate activities between the executive and the legislature. The separation of powers is clearly seen through this aspect. The executive is left alone to exercise its powers while the legislature exercises its power individually. Practically, this is seen nowadays whereby the secretary of state in America who is an executive member makes a statement in public and thereafter the speaker of either the senate or the congress arises and rejects the statement.


Separation of powers model in the USA is viewed even in the state laws. Since the government has divided the country into small states under governors, the states are required to come up with laws that govern their states. Since this states are many, they come up with different laws that are favorable to their interior conditions. Therefore, the laws of one state are different from the laws of another state. This contributes to the separation of the powers of these states. In Canada, there are no states, but there is only one law which is the country`s constitution. The existence of only one constitution brings a spirit of togetherness in the country. Consequently, the Canadians develop a sense of responsibility towards the nation`s rules. 

In Canada, the government is a monarchial. This means that there is a queen and a prime minister at the same time. The queen is the head of state while the prime minister is the head of the government. This develops a sense of responsibility within the country because each administrative organ is granted a specific role to play. However, in the USA there is only the president who is the head of state and the head of government at the same time. This forces the president to appoint more people to assist him or her. As a result, power is divided among the people appointed by the president. Therefore, separation of power chips in.

Both countries have some similar approach towards governance. Both countries have constitution that enables their smooth running. In times of crisis, the courts are used to settle it. The courts in both countries help in defining the precise meaning of the constitution. In USA courts have interpreted the US constitution for people to have a broad understanding of the federal and state powers. In Canada, the court has helped in interpreting the Constitution Act of 1867 to bring a clear understanding of the federal powers and provincial power. However, due to the clear laws that the constitution of USA has on the federal and state laws, USA is termed as the most centralized federation than Canada. Canada has the most decentralized federation because its constitution gives a wide difference between the federal laws and the provincial laws.

In my view, USA is the most democratic federal between the two nations. This is because there is a wide platform in USA that an ordinary citizen can express his or her views. The states in USA are more open for public participation compared to the provinces in Canada. Furthermore, they are small in size compared to the provinces in Canada. This reduces the time that a citizen can pass information to the government. Most evidently, USA is more organized in terms of delivering information collected from the citizens. The USA executive has various bodies. There is a body that its aim is collection of information from the public. These bodies take the information collected to the federal government for actions to be taken. This enables quick response to the public complains and this makes the citizens to feel their democratic right is being granted to them. However, Canada has more complicated procedures to assist in responding to the public complains. Lack of quick response to the public changes the public attitude and makes them feel ignored.

The federal government of USA is also more democratic than the Canada`s federal government in terms of platforms for the public to express themselves. In each state, there is a small legislative body that has representatives from the public. This enables quick response to a public complain as the legislative body will deliberate on the complaint and find quick solutions.

In conclusion, the federal states of these countries contrast and comply in various aspects. They are similar in terms of law implementation and formulation of the constitution. However, they greatly contrast in basis of their ruling models. USA is based on a separation of powers model while Canada is based on the basis of responsible government model. This paper has developed both similarities and differences between the two countries in terms of ruling approaches because the United States applies the Separation of Powers Model while Canada uses the Responsible Government Model.


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