The Westminster system is a parliamentary system of government developed in the United Kingdom. This term comes from the Palace of the seat of the British Parliament; the system is a series of procedures for operating a legislature. It is used, or was once used, in the national and subnational legislatures of most former British Empire colonies upon gaining responsible government, beginning with the first of the Canadian provinces in 1848 and the six Australian colonies between 1855 and 1890. However, some former colonies have since adopted either the presidential system or a hybrid system as their form of government; the Westminster system of government is contrasted with the presidential system that originated in the United States, or with the semi-presidential system, based on the government of France. A Westminster system of government may include some of the following features: A sovereign or head of state who functions as the nominal or legal and constitutional holder of executive power, holds numerous reserve powers, but whose daily duties consist of performing ceremonial functions.
Examples include Queen Elizabeth II, the Governors-General in Commonwealth realms, or the presidents of many countries, state or provincial governors in federal systems. Exceptions to this are Ireland and Israel, whose presidents are de jure and de facto ceremonial, the latter possesses no reserve powers whatsoever. A head of government, known as the Prime Minister, Chief minister, First Minister or Chancellor. While the head of state appoints the head of government, constitutional convention suggests that a majority of elected Members of Parliament must support the person appointed. If more than half of elected parliamentarians belong to the same political party the parliamentary leader of that party is appointed. An exception to this was Israel, in which direct prime-ministerial elections were made in 1996, 1999 and 2001. An executive branch led by the head of government made up of members of the legislature with the senior members of the executive in a cabinet adhering to the principle of cabinet collective responsibility.
An independent, non-partisan civil service which advises on, implements, decisions of those ministers. Civil servants hold permanent appointments and can expect merit-based selection processes and continuity of employment when governments change. A parliamentary opposition with an official Leader of the Opposition. A legislature bicameral, with at least one elected house – although unicameral systems exist. Exceptions to this include New Zealand, which changed in 1993 to use mixed-member proportional representation. A lower house of parliament with an ability to dismiss a government by "withholding supply", passing a motion of no confidence, or defeating a confidence motion. A parliament which can be dissolved and snap elections called at any time. Parliamentary privilege, which allows the legislature to discuss any issue it deems relevant, without fear of consequences stemming from defamatory statements or records thereof. Minutes of meetings known as Hansard, including an ability for the legislature to strike discussion from these minutes.
The ability of courts to address silence or ambiguity in the parliament's statutory law through the development of common law. Another parallel system of legal principles exists known as equity. Exceptions to this include India, Quebec in Canada, Scotland in the UK amongst others which mix common law with other legal systems. Most of the procedures of the Westminster system originated with the conventions and precedents of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which form a part of what is known as the Constitution of the United Kingdom. Unlike the uncodified British constitution, most countries that use the Westminster system have codified the system, at least in part, in a written constitution. However, uncodified conventions and precedents continue to play a significant role in most countries, as many constitutions do not specify important elements of procedure: for example, some older constitutions using the Westminster system do not mention the existence of the cabinet or the prime minister, because these offices were taken for granted by the authors of these constitutions.
Sometimes these conventions, reserve powers, other influences collide in times of crisis and in such times the weaknesses of the unwritten aspects of the Westminster system, as well as the strengths of the Westminster system's flexibility, are put to the test. As an illustrative example, in the Australian constitutional crises of 1975 the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, dismissed Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and replaced him with opposition leader Malcolm Fraser. Summary of the Typical Structure of The Westminster Model: Type: Bicameral Upper House Lower House Leadership of Parliament: Head of State: Monarch or Ceremonial President Head of Government: Prime Minister Premier/Chief Minister Other titles include, First Minister, Chief Exec
Judicial Committee of the Privy Council
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is the highest court of appeal for certain British territories and Commonwealth countries. Established on 13 August 1833 to hear appeals heard by the King-in-Council, the Privy Council acted as the court of last resort for the entire British Empire, continues to act as the highest court of appeal for several independent Commonwealth nations, the Crown Dependencies, the British Overseas Territories. Formally a statutory committee of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, the Judicial Committee consists of senior judges who are Privy Councillors: they are predominantly Justices of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom and senior judges from the Commonwealth, it is referred to as the Privy Council. In Commonwealth realms, appeals are nominally made to "Her Majesty in Council", who refers the case to the Judicial Committee for "advice", while in Commonwealth republics retaining the JCPC as their final court of appeal, appeals are made directly to the Judicial Committee itself.
In the case of Brunei, appeals are made to the Sultan of Brunei, who refers the case to the Judicial Committee for advice. The panel of judges hearing a particular case is known as "the Board"; the "report" of the Board is always accepted by the Queen in Council as judgment. The origins of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council can be traced back to the curia regis, or royal council. In theory, the King was the fount of justice, petitions for redress of wrongs arising from his courts were addressed to him; that power was taken over by Parliament within England, but the King-in-Council retained jurisdiction to hear petitions from the King's non-English possessions, such as the Channel Islands and on, from England's colonies. The task of hearing appeals was given to a series of short-lived committees of the Privy Council. In 1679, appellate jurisdiction was given to the Board of Trade, before being transferred to a standing Appeals Committee in 1696. By the nineteenth century, the growth of the British Empire, which had expanded the appellate jurisdiction of the Privy Council, had put great strains on the existing arrangements.
In particular, the Appeals Committee had to hear cases in a variety of legal systems, such as Hindu law, with which its members were unfamiliar. In 1833, at the instigation of Lord Brougham, the Lord Chancellor, Parliament passed the Judicial Committee Act 1833; the Act established a statutory committee of the Privy Council, known as The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, to hear appeals to the King-in-Council. In addition to colonial appeals legislation gave the Judicial Committee appellate jurisdiction over a range of miscellaneous matters, such as patents, ecclesiastical matters, prize suits. At its height, the Judicial Committee was said to be the court of final appeal for over a quarter of the world. In the twentieth century, the jurisdiction of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council shrank as British Dominions established their own courts of final appeal and as British colonies became independent, although many retained appeals to the Privy Council post-independence. Canada abolished Privy Council appeals in 1949, India and South Africa in 1950, New Zealand in 2003.
Twelve Commonwealth countries outside of the United Kingdom retain Privy Council appeals, in addition to various British and New Zealand territories. The Judicial Committee retains jurisdiction over a small number of domestic matters in the United Kingdom; the United Kingdom does not have a single highest national court. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council has jurisdiction in the following domestic matters: Appeals against schemes of the Church Commissioners. Appeals from the ecclesiastical courts in non-doctrinal faculty cases. Appeals from the High Court of Chivalry. Appeals from the Court of Admiralty of the Cinque Ports. Appeals from prize courts. Appeals from the Disciplinary Committee of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Disputes under the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975. Additionally, the government may refer any issue to the committee for "consideration and report" under section 4 of the Judicial Committee Act 1833; the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is the Court of Final Appeal for the Church of England.
It hears appeals from the Arches Court of Canterbury and the Chancery Court of York, except on matters of doctrine, ritual or ceremony, which go to the Court for Ecclesiastical Causes Reserved. By the Church Discipline Act 1840 and the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 all archbishops and bishops of the Church of England became eligible to be members of the Judicial Committee. Prior to the coming into force of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, the Privy Council was the court of last resort for devolution issues. On 1 October 2009 this jurisdiction was transferred to the new Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. Judgments of the Judicial Committee are not binding on courts wit
Parliament of Upper Canada
The Parliament of Upper Canada was the legislature for Upper Canada. It was created when the old Province of Quebec was split into Upper Canada and Lower Canada by the Constitutional Act of 1791; as in other Westminster-style legislatures, it consisted of three components: The Crown of the United Kingdom, represented by the Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, assisted by the Executive Council of Upper Canada The Legislative Council of Upper Canada The Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada Following the Rebellions of 1837 and Lord Durham's 1839 Report to the British Government, Upper Canada and Lower Canada were rejoined in 1841 to create the Province of Canada. The Parliament of Upper Canada was therewith replaced by the newly created Parliament of the United Province of Canada; the Parliament was convened thirteen times in its history: 1st Parliament of Upper Canada 1792-1796 2nd Parliament of Upper Canada 1797-1800 3rd Parliament of Upper Canada 1801-1804 4th Parliament of Upper Canada 1805-1808 5th Parliament of Upper Canada 1808-1812 6th Parliament of Upper Canada 1812-1816 7th Parliament of Upper Canada 1817-1820 8th Parliament of Upper Canada 1821-1824 9th Parliament of Upper Canada 1825-1828 10th Parliament of Upper Canada 1829-1830 11th Parliament of Upper Canada 1831-1834 12th Parliament of Upper Canada 1835-1836 13th Parliament of Upper Canada 1837-1840
The Province of Lower Canada was a British colony on the lower Saint Lawrence River and the shores of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. It covered the southern portion of the current-day Province of Quebec and the Labrador region of the modern-day Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Lower Canada consisted of part of the former colony of Canada of New France, conquered by Great Britain in the Seven Years' War ending in 1763 Other parts of New France conquered by Britain became the Colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island; the Province of Lower Canada was created by the "Constitutional Act of 1791" from the partition of the British colony of the Province of Quebec into the Province of Lower Canada and the Province of Upper Canada. The prefix "lower" in its name refers to its geographic position farther downriver from the headwaters of the St. Lawrence River than its contemporary Upper Canada, present-day southern Ontario; the colony/province was abolished in 1841 when it and adjacent Upper Canada were united into the Province of Canada.
Like Upper Canada, there was significant political unrest. Twenty-two years after the invasion by the Americans in the War of 1812, a rebellion now challenged the British rule of the predominantly French population. After the Patriote Rebellion in the Rebellions of 1837–38 were crushed by the British Army and Loyal volunteers, the "1791 Constitution" was suspended on 27 March 1838 and a special council was appointed to administer the colony. An abortive attempt by revolutionary Robert Nelson to declare a Republic of Lower Canada was thwarted; the provinces of Lower Canada and Upper Canada were combined as the United Province of Canada in 1841, when The Union Act of 1840 came into force. Their separate legislatures were combined into a single parliament with equal representation for both constituent parts though Lower Canada had a greater population; the Province of Lower Canada inherited the mixed set of French and English institutions that existed in the Province of Quebec during the 1763–91 period and which continued to exist in Canada-East and in the current Province of Quebec.
Lower Canada was populated by Canadiens, an ethnic group who trace their ancestry to French colonists who settled in Canada from the 17th century onward. Traveling around Lower Canada was made by water along the St. Lawrence River. On land the only main route was the Chemin du Roy or King's Highway, built in the 1730s by New France; the King's Highway remained as an alternate means of travel until the challenge of steamboats and trains on land began to challenge the royal road. Challenged by boats and trains, the royal road's importance waned after the 1850s and would not re-emerge as a key means of transportation until the modern highway system of Quebec was created in the 20th century; the Canadas Upper Canada French colonial empire French and Indian War Province of Quebec Former colonies and territories in Canada Canada East, period after the Act of Union List of lieutenant governors of Quebec Ottawa River timber trade Timeline of Quebec history National Patriots' Day Republic of Lower Canada Robert Christie.
A History of the Late Province of Lower Canada, Quebec City: T. Cary/R. Montreal: Worthington, 1848–1855 François-Xavier Garneau. History of Canada: from the time of its discovery till the union year, Montreal: J. Lovell, 1860 Media related to Lower Canada at Wikimedia Commons The dictionary definition of Lower Canada at Wiktionary Lower Canada from The Canadian Encyclopedia Lower Canada - Encyclopædia Britannica Gouvernors of Lower Canada - Histoire du Québec Lower Canada - Library and Archives Canada Lower Canada - Quebec Parliament library
Legislative Council of the Province of Canada
The Legislative Council of the Province of Canada was the upper house for the Province of Canada, which consisted of the former provinces of Lower Canada known as Canada East and the province of Quebec, Upper Canada known as Canada West and the province of Ontario. It was created by The Union Act of 1840; the first session of parliament began in Kingston in Canada West in 1841. It succeeded Legislative Council of Upper Canada; the 24 legislative councillors were appointed for life. In 1854, the British Parliament authorized their election, implementing legislation was passed by the Province of Canada in 1856, it was provided that: The present appointed councillors would continue to hold their positions until they had vacated them. Members were to be elected for eight-year terms from each of 48 divisions; the order in which divisions were to be selected for elections was to be determined by lot. 12 members were elected every two years from 1856 to 1862. The British North America Act of 1867 divided the Province of Canada into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, each with representation in the unelected Senate of Canada.
As a province, Ontario never created a Legislative Council. Both the provincial and federal upper houses used the same 24 divisions for Quebec as had been used for Canada East by the Legislative Council of the Province of Canada prior to Confederation. = died in office = elected in byelection = resigned from office = elected by acclamation = unseated The Speaker was the presiding officer of the Legislative Council, was appointed by the Queen-in-Council. He was styled "The Honourable, the Vice-Chancellor, Speaker."The office was preceded by the Speaker of Legislative Council of Upper Canada and Speaker of the Legislative Council of Lower Canada. The following table displays the names and political parties of the Speakers between 1841 and 1866; the Legislative Council and Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada sat a various buildings in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa: 1841-1843 three sessions were held at the 3 storey Kingston General Hospital 1843 Parliament moves to Montreal and sites at renovated St. Anne's Market.
1849 temporary sites for Parliament at Bonsecours Market and the Freemason's Hall, Montreal for single session. 1849-1850 Parliament returns to Toronto to the site of the Third Parliament Buildings at Front and Simcoe Street. 1851 Parliament relocates to Quebec City in 1851 to the Quebec Parliament Building until fire in destroys the building in 1854. 1854-1859 Parliament remains in Quebec and relocates to Quebec Music Hall and Quebec City Courthouse. 1859 Parliament return to Toronto to the site of the last parliament held there in 1849-1851 sessions. 1860-1865 Parliament returns to new Parliament Buildings, Quebec at Parc Montmercy.
The Province of Upper Canada was a part of British Canada established in 1791 by the Kingdom of Great Britain, to govern the central third of the lands in British North America part of the Province of Quebec since 1763. Upper Canada included all of modern-day Southern Ontario and all those areas of Northern Ontario in the Pays d'en Haut which had formed part of New France the watersheds of the Ottawa River or Lakes Huron and Superior, excluding any lands within the watershed of Hudson Bay; the "upper" prefix in the name reflects its geographic position along the Great Lakes above the headwaters of the Saint Lawrence River, contrasted with Lower Canada to the northeast. It was the primary destination of Loyalist refugees and settlers from the United States after the American Revolution, who were granted land to settle in Upper Canada; the province was characterized by its British way of life, including bicameral parliament and civil and criminal law not mixed like in Lower Canada or elsewhere in the British Empire.
The division was created to ensure the exercise of the same rights and privileges enjoyed by loyal subjects elsewhere in the North American colonies. In 1812, war broke out between Great Britain and the United States, leading to several battles in Upper Canada; the US had hoped to capture Upper Canada. The government of the colony came to be dominated by a small group of persons, known as the "Family Compact", who held most of the top positions in the Legislative Council and appointed officials. In 1837, an unsuccessful rebellion attempted to overthrow the undemocratic system. Representative government would be established in the 1840s. Upper Canada existed from its establishment on 26 December 1791 to 10 February 1841 when it was united with adjacent Lower Canada to form the Province of Canada; as part of the 1763 Treaty of Paris which ended the Seven Years' War global conflict and the French and Indian War in North America, Great Britain retained control over the former New France, defeated in the French and Indian War.
The British had won control after Fort Niagara had surrendered in 1759 and Montreal capitulated in 1760, the British under Robert Rogers took formal control of the Great Lakes region in 1760. Fort Michilimackinac was occupied by Roger's forces in 1761; the territories of contemporary southern Ontario and southern Quebec were maintained as the single Province of Quebec, as it had been under the French. From 1763 to 1791, the Province of Quebec maintained its French language, cultural behavioural expectations and laws; the British passed the Quebec Act in 1774, which expanded the Quebec colony's authority to include part of the Indian Reserve to the west, other western territories south of the Great Lakes including much of what would become the United States' Northwest Territory, including the modern states of Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and parts of Minnesota. After the American War of Independence ended in 1783, Britain retained control of the area north of the Ohio River; the official boundaries remained undefined until the Jay Treaty.
The British authorities encouraged the movement of people to this area from the United States, offering free land to encourage population growth. For settlers, the head of the family received 100 acres and 50 acres per family member, soldiers received larger grants; these settlers are known as United Empire Loyalists and were English-speaking Protestants. The first townships along the St. Lawrence and eastern Lake Ontario were laid out in 1784, populated with decommissioned soldiers and their families."Upper Canada" became a political entity on 26 December 1791 with the Parliament of Great Britain's passage of the Constitutional Act of 1791. The act divided the Province of Quebec into Upper and Lower Canada, but did not yet specify official borders for Upper Canada; the division was effected so that Loyalist American settlers and British immigrants in Upper Canada could have English laws and institutions, the French-speaking population of Lower Canada could maintain French civil law and the Catholic religion.
The first lieutenant-governor was John Graves Simcoe. The 1795 Jay Treaty set the borders between British North America and the United States north to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. On 1 February 1796, the capital of Upper Canada was moved from Newark to York, judged to be less vulnerable to attack by the Americans; the Act of Union 1840, passed 23 July 1840 by the British Parliament and proclaimed by the Crown on 10 February 1841, merged Upper Canada with Lower Canada to form the short-lived United Province of Canada. Upper Canada's constitution was said to be "the image and transcript" of the British constitution, based on the principle of "mixed monarchy" – a balance of monarchy and democracy; the Executive arm of government in the colony consisted of a lieutenant-governor, his executive council, the Officers of the Crown: the Adjutant General of the Militia, the Attorney General, the Auditor General of Land Patents for Upper Canada, the Auditor General, Crown Lands Office, Indian Office, Inspector General, Kings' Printer, Provincial Secretary & Registrar's Office, Receiver General of Upper Canada, Solicitor General, & Surveyor General.
Armstrong, pp. 8–12 The Executive Council of Upper Canada had a similar function to the Cabinet in England but was not responsible to the Legislative Assembly. They held a consultative position, ho
Ontario is one of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada and is located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province accounting for 38.3 percent of the country's population, is the second-largest province in total area. Ontario is fourth-largest jurisdiction in total area when the territories of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are included, it is home to the nation's capital city and the nation's most populous city, Ontario's provincial capital. Ontario is bordered by the province of Manitoba to the west, Hudson Bay and James Bay to the north, Quebec to the east and northeast, to the south by the U. S. states of Minnesota, Ohio and New York. All of Ontario's 2,700 km border with the United States follows inland waterways: from the west at Lake of the Woods, eastward along the major rivers and lakes of the Great Lakes/Saint Lawrence River drainage system; these are the Rainy River, the Pigeon River, Lake Superior, the St. Marys River, Lake Huron, the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River, Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Ontario and along the St. Lawrence River from Kingston, Ontario, to the Quebec boundary just east of Cornwall, Ontario.
There is only about 1 km of land border made up of portages including Height of Land Portage on the Minnesota border. Ontario is sometimes conceptually divided into Northern Ontario and Southern Ontario; the great majority of Ontario's population and arable land is in the south. In contrast, the larger, northern part of Ontario is sparsely populated with cold winters and heavy forestation; the province is named after Lake Ontario, a term thought to be derived from Ontarí:io, a Huron word meaning "great lake", or skanadario, which means "beautiful water" in the Iroquoian languages. Ontario has about 250,000 freshwater lakes; the province consists of three main geographical regions: The thinly populated Canadian Shield in the northwestern and central portions, which comprises over half the land area of Ontario. Although this area does not support agriculture, it is rich in minerals and in part covered by the Central and Midwestern Canadian Shield forests, studded with lakes and rivers. Northern Ontario is subdivided into two sub-regions: Northeastern Ontario.
The unpopulated Hudson Bay Lowlands in the extreme north and northeast swampy and sparsely forested. Southern Ontario, further sub-divided into four regions. Despite the absence of any mountainous terrain in the province, there are large areas of uplands within the Canadian Shield which traverses the province from northwest to southeast and above the Niagara Escarpment which crosses the south; the highest point is Ishpatina Ridge at 693 metres above sea level in Temagami, Northeastern Ontario. In the south, elevations of over 500 m are surpassed near Collingwood, above the Blue Mountains in the Dundalk Highlands and in hilltops near the Madawaska River in Renfrew County; the Carolinian forest zone covers most of the southwestern region of the province. The temperate and fertile Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Valley in the south is part of the Eastern Great Lakes lowland forests ecoregion where the forest has now been replaced by agriculture and urban development. A well-known geographic feature is part of the Niagara Escarpment.
The Saint Lawrence Seaway allows navigation to and from the Atlantic Ocean as far inland as Thunder Bay in Northwestern Ontario. Northern Ontario occupies 87 percent of the surface area of the province. Point Pelee is a peninsula of Lake Erie in southwestern Ontario, the southernmost extent of Canada's mainland. Pelee Island and Middle Island in Lake Erie extend farther. All are south of 42°N – farther south than the northern border of California; the climate of Ontario varies by location. It is affected by three air sources: cold, arctic air from the north; the effects of these major air masses on temperature and precipitation depend on latitude, proximity to major bodies of water and to a small extent, terrain relief. In general, most of Ontario's climate is classified as humid continental. Ontario has three main climatic regions; the surrounding Great Lakes influence the climatic region of southern Ontario. During the fall and winter months, heat stored from the lakes is released, moderating the climate near the shores of the lakes.
This gives some parts of southern Ontario milder winters than mid-continental areas at lower latitudes. Parts of Southwestern Ontario have a moderate humid continental climate, similar to that of the inland Mid-Atlantic states and the Great Lakes portion of the Midwestern United States; the region has warm to cold winters. Annual precipitation is well distributed throughout the year. Most of this region lies in the lee of the Great Lakes. In December 2010, the snowbelt set a new record when it was h