A Federal election is normally held every 4 years in Canada. Unlike the United States Canadians do not vote for the Prime Minister. The person who gets the top job in Ottawa is elected by his or her political Party as the leader. Today Stephen Harper the leader of the Conservative Party, much akin to the Republican Party in many ways is the Prime Minister of Canada.
In each Riding one person needs to be elected by a majority of the people. In Canada we officially have a Liberal, Conservative, New Democrat, Bloc Québécois and Green Party. There are over a dozen smaller political parties, plus a person can run in a Federal Election, as an Independent.
We call these elected officials our MP for Member of Parliament known as the House of Commons. These Members of Parliament are considered the Lower House, and in comparison, are similar to the U.S. Congress. The next group is the Upper Chamber, called The Senate, and are appointed by the Prime Minister without any support of vote by Canadians.
Our country Canada is classified as a Parliamentary Democracy, a Federation, and a Constitutional Monarchy. (Thank you to the CIA who do a terrific job of keeping their website up to date.) Canada is based on a 14th Century style of government, with a touch of the Feudal system, for good measure. Canadians are saddled with an unelected bureaucracy at the Federal level to the Provincial, down to the City, County and Towns, along with thousands of Commissions. (the commissions link is simply to show search results)
The number of people employed full and part time is near 1.5 million for a population of 34 million citizens. When added together the cost to Canadians takes up 30% of the annual budget for salaries and lucrative pensions.
To show you how 14th Century Canada truly is, you need to look no further than the Oath of Allegiance, made by our political and judicial members. An Oath is sacred to most, and in the majority of nations, political leaders promise to uphold the Constitution of their country. In doing so they also promise under Oath to represent the people. Canadian Member of Parliament and the unelected Senate do not swear any Oath to Canada, it's Charter, it's Constitution or the people of Canada. They give their Oath of Allegiance as follows: Take another look at the CIA website for an unbiased description of the various levels of government.
Canada is often criticized for the cost of our Universal Health Care system by the uninformed right wingers in the United States. The cost is 3% of the Annual Budget to cover every person living in Canada to have Health Care coverage. Yes the system does have some problems, although no Canadian ever had to declare bankruptcy or die, while waiting to see a Doctor. Costs such as prescriptions are often paid for or partially recovered depending on various circumstances.
Everything written is meant as a backgrounder to upcoming blogs and videos. The Occupy movement is strong in most of Canada, along with protests, on environmental and electoral issues.