Patron:
The Hon Sir Gerard Brennan AC KBE
former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia
Conference Committee:
Suri Ratnapala, Professor of Public Law, UQ
Thomas John, Chair, European Focus Group, LCA
Nicholas Aroney, Reader in Law, UQ
Hendryk Flaegel, International Law Section, LCA


Canada

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In Canada, the system of federalism is described by the division of powers between the federal parliament and the country's provincial governments. Under the Constitution Act (previously known as the British North America Act) of 1867, specific powers of legislation are allotted. Section 91 of the constitution gives rise to federal authority for legislation, whereas section 92 gives rise to provincial powers. For matters not directly dealt with in the constitution, the federal government retains residual powers; however, conflict between the two levels of government, relating to which level has legislative jurisdiction over various matters, has been a longstanding and evolving issue. Areas of contest include legislation with respect to regulation of the economy, taxation, and natural resources. The Parliament of Canada (French: Parlement du Canada) is the federal legislative branch of Canada, seated at Parliament Hill in the national capital, Ottawa. Formally, the body consists of the Canadian mo arch—represented by a viceroy, the governor general—the Senate, and the House of Commons, each element having its own officers and organization. The governor general summons and appoints each of the 105 members of the upper house on the advice of the Prime Minister of Canada, while the 308 members of the lower house are directly elected by eligible voters in the Canadian populace, with each Member of Parliament representing a single electoral district, commonly referred to as a riding. By constitutional convention, the House of Commons is the dominant branch of parliament, the Senate and Crown rarely opposing its will. The Senate thus reviews legislation from a less partisan standpoint, and the monarch and viceroy provide the necessary Royal Assent to make bills into law and summon, prorogue, and dissolve parliament in order to call an election, as well as reading the Throne Speech. The current parliament, summoned by Governor General David Johnston on 2 June 2011, is the 41st since Confederation.

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