The form of the government of Canada is a constitutional monarchy.
Canada is ruled by a parliamentary system with the head of state officially remaining the monarch of Britain. Within Canada the appointed governor general is the monarch's representative. The upper house, or Senate, is made up of appointees. Mostly it acts as a rubber stamp for the wishes of the elected lower house, or House of Commons. Senate reform, or its abolition, is an ongoing debate within the country.
The head of the political party with the most elected representatives in the House of Commons becomes the prime minister, the leader of the country. From the members of parliament within the governing party, the prime minister selects a cabinet which, in effect, runs the country and initiates legislation. Unlike in the USA, leaders can run for as long as they maintain popular support within their party. Governments are elected for five years, but elections can be called earlier.
The 10 provinces are largely self-governing and are presided over by premiers, elected provincially. Each province has a lieutenant governor appointed by the federal government. The two northern territories are for the most part the domain of the federal government, although more independence is being sought and some has been granted to the eastern part of the Northwest Territories.
The constitution consists of both written proclamations under the Constitution Acts (1867 and 1932) and unwritten conventions. Updating, changing and clarifying constitutional matters and the balance of powers between the provinces and between them and the federal government are on-going contentious issues.
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