The Canadian Federal Government
On a federal level, the 4 main political parties are Conservative, Liberal, NDP and Bloc Quebecois.
The head of government is the Prime Minister (PM) of Canada; he is the leader of the political party who holds the most seats in the House of Commons.
The Prime Minister of Canada can only serve for a period of 4 years, after which an election must be called. The Prime Minister appoints ministers from his government party to form a cabinet.
These ministers manage such important departments as Foreign Affairs, Health and the Environment. Political meetings and debates between the 308 elected members of parliament occur in the Canadian House of Commons Chamber of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.
Canada is a constitutional monarchy, and as a result, a governor general is chosen to represent the Queen of England in Canada. With advice from the PM of Canada, the governor general selects 105 senators to form the Senate. Canada has a history of selecting governor generals of different cultural backgrounds, to best represent the multicultural nature of Canada. In 2005, Michaëlle Jean, who came to Canada as a refugee from Haiti, was selected by former PM Paul Martin. Governor General Jean replaces Adrianne Clarkson, an immigrant from Hong Kong and renowned Canadian journalist and stateswoman.