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The Federal Government and the House of Commons

The legislative branch consists of two houses or chambers of Parliament: the elected House of Commons and the appointed Senate.

The legislative branch consists of two houses or chambers of Parliament: the elected House of Commons and the appointed Senate.

The Government is usually formed by the political party that won the most seats in the House of Commons, during federal elections. Canadians don’t vote directly for the Prime Minister; we vote for a Member of Parliament (MP) in one of Canada's 338 federal ridings. The Prime Minister is usually the leader of the governing party that won the most seats  during federal elections.

MPs elected to the House of Commons are entitled to take their seat in the House Chamber on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa.

As the head of the executive branch of the Canadian government, the Prime Minister puts together and oversees a Cabinet composed of ministers, which he or she selects from among the elected MPs. Each minister is responsible for a government department or ministry. The PM, who chairs all meetings of the Cabinet and controls the agenda, is also an elected MP who represents a riding.

Member of Parliament (MP) – MPs are elected officials, each representing one of Canada’s 338 ridings. A lot of their time is spent there,  addressing the concerns of their constituents. MPs then bring those concerns forward to the leader of their party and to their other colleagues in the House of Commons.

There, they participate in debates and vote on the bills that eventually form our laws. They also take part in committees, questioning other MPs and experts on proposed legislation.