The Hill And Its Inhabitants (10/10)

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When I’ll take the oath of citizenship, I’ll have to swear that “I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second“. Yes… even though Canada is a sovereign country, it is a constitutional monarchy with Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, as head of state, and a parliamentary democracy with a federal system. Sounds complicated, doesn’t it?

Parliament Hill in Ottawa

Elizabeth II is the sovereign and head of state of Canada, and holds the executive, judicial and legislative powers. In practice, the monarch appoints a Governor General to represent her. Michaëlle Jean is the current Governor General.

The Prime Minister of Canada is the head of government. He is usually the leader of the political party that has the most seats in the House of Common. We currently have a minority government, which is when no party has a majority in the House of Common. Stephen Harper, leader of the Conservative Party has been Prime Minister since February 6, 2006; and Stéphane Dion, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, has been Leader of the Opposition since December 2, 2006

Canada is a very decentralized federation: each province has a lieutenant-governor, a premier and a legislature.

Canada’s two main political parties are the Liberal Party, and the Conservative Party. Other major parties include the Bloc Québécois and the New Democratic Party (NDP).

We also have a few smallest (and funniest) parties, such as:

  • The Marijuana Party (former Bloc Pot) which aims at… well, legalizing marijuana
  • The Western Block Party, which promotes the independence of Western Canada
  • The Work Less Party, which aims to defend worker’s right

Business and private sector thrive in Toronto, but Ottawa is all about politics. The federal capital is indeed home the the nation’s Parliament and most of the federal ministries. It sometimes seems that everyone here is working for the government, directly or indirectly. Nowhere else in the country you will find people arguing at Starbucks about the latest cabinet reshuffle at Fisheries and Ocean or the appointment of a new policy analyst at Canadian Border Services Agency. Also known as CBSA. Because we all talk in acronyms here. Goes with the job!

And the last post close my Canadian-ism(s) series. Next week, I’ll start a 10 posts series on blogging. You’ll learn about WordPress and Blogger, plugins, how to set up a self-hosted blog, making money online and much more! I’ll publish it every Saturday — enjoy!


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. Well, being a strong believer in political parties coming together to solve issues, I have a proposal:

    Combine the Marijuana Party with the Western Bloc Party.

    Now you have a Marijuana Block Party.

    Once everyone on the block goes to the marijuana party it stands to reason that they’re going to want to work less (for the next day at least)

    Hence, the “Work less, Marijuana Block Party”.

    Bring your own munchies.

  2. Chewy- That’s brilliant! Maybe some nice chewy brownies….

    Zhu- I have LOVED this series. I’m hoping that down the road you will come back to things that didn’t get included. I’m looking forward to the next series.

  3. Hey Zhu,
    How’s life ?
    Thanks for the overview about Canda’s political system.
    When do you think that you will be sworn in as a citizen?
    Was this a difficult thing for you to give up your French nationality?
    Everyone’s different… I just have been holding on to mine, since that arrival at CDG.
    I know another French citizen that is also awaiting her Canadian nationality. She always dreamed of living in Canada and she made it real .
    You guys only see Canada before you, and I still see the US, besides a great life in France.

    You have a nice Sunday.

  4. Ah it’s the end? 😥 I love this series! And yes, the political system in Canada is a bit… complicated. But I’m more confused with the Russian one, where in one big republic, there are smaller independent republics; and the Russian president oversees the territories led by territorial presidents. So confusing man!

    And oh, I look forward to your next series!

  5. Hei Zhu!
    Can you believe you’ve a new fan?
    May I ask you which program did you use to do the photo scrapbook?
    Merci bcp!

  6. Is it possible for me to swear loyalty to the Queen after I join the marijuana bloc party? As that might make it a lot easier.

  7. Goodness! I clearly have a lot of catching up to do. I am gonna pour myself a glass of wine one evening this week and have a good read through your recent posts!!! I hope you are well and that it is warming up a bit for you, after the freezing temperatures of the Canadian winter.

    Have a wonderful week. Graham xx

  8. Hey Zhu,

    Canadian series is over already!? 😯 It has been that long, huh?
    The parliament hill is beautiful, it reminded me of the parliament in London (it is like a mini copy, isn’t it?)…

    So, you will be starting a new series, huh? That should be interesting: I am always interested in learning new stuff 😀 !
    Let’s toast to your new endeavour *prost*! 😉


  9. @Chewy – I’ll most definitely vote for it. I mean… who wouldn’t?? 😆

    @Spyder – “Special” brownies. of course… I’ll go back to Canadian series soon… right after the one on blogging.

    @barbara – I still have a long wait before I become a citizen… about a year, probably, given the waiting list. Good thing is, I won’t have to give up my French citizenship, France allows dual citizenship and so does Canada. 😉

    @kyh – Don’t worry, I’ll be back to Canadian series after the one on blogging! Russia is complicated… but even here, I was confused with the provincial thing. France is very centralized… decisions are made in Paris.

    @Alila – Hey you, thanks for visiting! For photos… I used Photoshop. I have a bunch of tutorial if you’re interested!

    @Linguist-in-Waiting – I think they’d be too high to think…

    @Ghosty – I might have to do that myself…

    @Graham – A good drink and — hopefully — a good read: I love that too! I have some catching up to do as well…

    @Art – I’ll prob. be Canadian next year even though I will apply soon. The waiting list is quite long…

    @Max Coutinho – It is very similar to the English Parliament, just more snow! 😆 I hope you will like my new series… I just needed some change and figure I could share my experience on blogging!

  10. Hello Zhu! It’s been a long time since I last visited you and stumbled upon your blog accidentally today. I was glad to re-discover an old friend. You may not remember me, (I used to go by the nickname Tee, but don’t anymore.)

    Anyway – I’m glad to see you’re still blogging. I learned a lot of new things about Canada in this post. The United States has a Marijuana Party, too. LOL.

    • Hi Tracy!

      Yes, I remember you although it’s been a long long time and I think your blog layout changed a lot. Glad to see you’re still blogging too! This is a good chance to reconnect. I was reading your bio again yesterday on your blog and I love the way you mix Spanish and English 🙂

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