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Government, Provincial Government

Northern Development, provincial assembly, federal Cabinet, national affairs, legislative assembly

Canada comprises ten provinces, each with a separate legislature and administration. The government of each province is similar in structure and function to that of the national government. The monarch is represented in each province by a lieutenant governor, who is appointed by the governor-general on the recommendation of the prime minister. The functions of the lieutenant governor, like those of the governor-general, are primarily ceremonial. Each province has a unicameral, or single-chamber, legislature, called the legislative or provincial assembly. It is elected at least once every five years but may be dissolved at any time. The provincial legislature functions in much the same way as the House of Commons.

The head of the provincial government is the premier, who is appointed by the lieutenant governor after his or her party wins a general election. The premierís role is similar to that of the prime minister in Ottawa. He or she must be able to control a majority in the legislature. The premier appoints an executive council, or Cabinet, whose members must be members of the legislative assembly and serve as heads of provincial departments. They function in provincial affairs as cabinet members do in national affairs.

The Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories are administered by Ottawa through the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. The chief executives are commissioners, appointed by the federal government and assisted by local councils. The commissioner for the Northwest Territories resides at Yellowknife, and the commissioner for the Yukon at Whitehorse. The Yukon Territory has an elected legislative council. The council for the Northwest Territories is composed of both elected and appointed members; the majority are elected. In both territories the commissioner and council have legislative powers similar to those of provincial governments. A few areas of government, such as natural resources, are still controlled by Ottawa. The commissioner of each territory acts according to instructions from the federal Cabinet or the minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.

A third territory was created in 1999 out of the Northwest Territories, encompassing about 2 million sq km (about 772,000 sq mi) of the eastern Arctic. Called Nunavut, it has its own government, similar to the other territories. This is the only large jurisdiction in North America with a majority of indigenous people, and in effect it constitutes indigenous self-government.

Article key phrases:

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