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Great Britain is an affiliate of the United Kingdom and an island located to the northwest of Europe. It is ranked the ninth largest island of the world and the largest British Isle. In mid-2009, Great Britain had a population of approximately 60 million people, which positions it as the third most populated island internationally. Politically, Britain might refer to the entire territory of United Kingdom that includes England, Scotland and wales (Hauss, 103). On the other hand, Canada is situated in North America occupying vast area of approximately 9,984, 670 million square kilometers of the northern continent. The total figure of the population of Canada stands at approximately 34 million people. With regard to this, the paper compares and contrasts the government of Great Britain and Canada by reviewing the profiles and corresponding society, governmental structure, political structure and public policies of each country (Johnson and Talbot, 118).
Profile of Great Britain and Canada
Great Britain is well known for being the first nation to be industrialized, and its economy is among the vast economies in the world. The economy relies on the service industry instead of manufacturing as expected by many nations. Great Britain is not a member of the Eurozone despite being affiliated to European Union. The UK had deterred proposed reforms to the EU’s Lisbon Treaty that were to deal with the crisis in the Eurozone. The reforms had reached an acute stage by autumn 2011 forcing it to withdraw (Wiseman, 57). Great Britain is ethnically diverse, partially as an inheritance from the empire. The white British contribute to 85.67% of the ethnic population. They are followed by other whites, which are 5.27%. Africans are the minorities forming a 0.2% of the British community. The country has faced issues concerning immigration, multiculturalism and nation identity to prevent terrorism and Islamist intolerance. The bombing of London’s Transport network fueled the above issues.
Canada is also a multicultural nation comprising of people from the whole world. Canada's ethnic groups include North Americans, which form 40% of the population. The British and French form 33% and 16% respectively. Other Europeans are 29% of the total population. The minorities are the Aboriginal people, which are 4% of the population. Canada has two official languages, which are English and French spoken by approximately 59% and 23% of the total population respectively (Hauss, 80).
Government Structures of Great Britain and Canada
Great Britain’s regime is governed by a constitutional monarchy. The monarch and the Prime Minister head the state and government respectively. Her Majesty’s government has the executive authorities, which are exercised on behalf of the monarch. The monarch also consents and controls the executive authorities (Johnson and Talbot, 120). The parliament of Great Britain is divided in two chambers namely the House of Commons and House of lords. The two chambers have the authority to exercise legislative powers. The judiciary is sovereign from the legislative arm of the government. The Supreme Court is the highest court of Britain. The political system in Great Britain is multiparty as indicated by Conservative party and Labour party, which are also the longest political parties. Liberal party existed with the conservative party at some point in British politics. Minority and coalition regimes have substantially occupied the parliamentary politics of Britain. The 1970s witnessed some emphasis for devolution, which only happened in 1990. Currently, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have their own government and legislature, which are responsible for devolution matters, alongside the UK (Wiseman, 67).
Canadian government was formerly Her Majesty’s Government. Presently, Canada uses constitutional monarchy and the federal system. In this system, common authority controls Canada’s federation. According to Canadian constitutional monarchy system, ruling is practical and legal, and not political. The queen’s crown is perceived concern with the monarch. This implies that the queen is granted all the powers of the state, which are to be distributed to various government institutions serving under the sovereign authority. In order to enact laws, it is necessary to have Royal Assent and royal sign-manual (Hauss, 78). Canadian constitution defines the government as the queen serving on the advice of the Privy Council, which comprises of ex-members of parliament, the Supreme Court Chief Justice and statesmen. The major duties of the crown are to keep the elected government in place, by nominating a prime minister as the head of the cabinet. Canadian constitution limits the powers of the parliament as a way of isolating legislative capabilities from provincial and federal governments. The provincial legislators enact laws that relate to them such as municipal governments, education and charitable organizations as stipulated by the constitution. The parliament solely can enact laws concerning postal service, census military and currency, which are state issues (Johnson and Talbot, 117).
The government of Great Britain and Canada show more similarities than differences. They both have the monarch system of governance and practice multiparty. However, Canada integrates federal system with democracy provisions, making it different from Great Britain (Smith, 399).
Public policies of Great Britain and Canada
The government of welfare in Great Britain introduced a social policy to improve the social welfare of British citizens, in which the central governments significantly controls the majority of the government activity (Smith, 78). The main government departments dealing with social policy in the Great Britain include parliament, cabinet office, department of work and pensions. These departments have different roles in maintaining the social welfare of the citizens. The parliament is responsible for legislation; cabinet office is responsible for implementing public service reforms. The administration of the social welfare in Great Britain experienced two significant reforms since its launch. The central government reformed in the first phase to enable planning and management of public expenditure by the treasury. The reforms were meant to enhance economic planning and managerial efficiency (Wiseman, 67). The second reform was restructuring of the civil in 1990s resulting in the breaking up of the administration to form agencies. Prior to these reforms, the Beveridge report had suggested a system of National insurance, based on family allowances, full employment and National Health Service. In order to improve the welfare of the citizens, the government resorted to providing free, universal secondary education and introduction of family allowances.
Canada also introduced a social policy to avert poverty and improve health standards. The health-associated problems were also related to the large population living in poverty and low incomes (Smith, 89). Canada faces some challenges in improving the welfare of its citizens such as political issues in associated to government actions, differing health and health determinants and issues of competence and knowledge in policy analysis. Political issues arise because the government, which funds health institutions, has stipulated policies that threaten health. The Canadian social welfare sector is on lead highlighting the rising incidences of poverty and low income. The welfare sector has succeeded in acquiring media coverage regarding the growing gap in income.
Great Britain has launched an economic policy to compel decreases in volumes of manufactured goods, which is worrying (Hauss, 130). The present economic crisis demand appropriate economic policy to facilitate economic recovery. Some British economists assert that Britain’s economic policy incorporates flexible and compromising corrective measures to handle the global financial downturn (Johnson and Talbot, 116). Various banks of Britain have lowered their rates to conform to the economic policy. This results in reduced lending expenses and avails finances to common consumers and business. As part of the economic policy to recuperate its economic state, the national government reduced taxes from 17.5% to 15%. This was to increase consumer spending, which helps the retail sector of the economy.
Canada developed various policies such as tax exemptions, tax reductions and credits to deal with economic issues. The objectives of economic policies were to increase production since depending on the markets had not produced satisfying results (Hauss, 76). Additionally, economic policies were to deal with the widening gap between the rich and the poor. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives pointed out that income disparities had increased when friendly market policies had failed to increase production. This forced the government to adopt tough economic policies and to reduce income disparities.
The social policies of the two nations aim at improving the social welfare of the citizens. However, Canada faces some challenges in implementing its policies (Johnson and Talbot, 114). Another difference is that British government provided free, universal secondary education and introduction of family allowances whereas Canadian government waits until the welfare sector reacts by seeking media coverage. Concerning economic policies, the two nations aim at increasing productivity in their policies, showing a similarity.
In conclusion, Britain and Canada show some similarities and differences. The similarity in their structure of government is depicted from the monarchy system, multiparty and political systems. There public policies seem to be inclined in achieving similar objectives. The two nations have social policy that aims to improve the social welfare of its citizens and economic policies that aim to recover economies and increase productivity. Great Britain is most likely to become more successful since it faces few challenges in the implementation of its policies.