French terms in Canadian politics

French Terms In Canadian Politics

French terms in Canadian politics

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In Canada, the political system is based on Westminster parliamentarism and has evolved with local traditions. One of the particularities of the Canadian experience of the British constitutional monarchy is the presence of the French language in the terms.

  • Premier ministre (Prime Minister). In French this refers both to the federal first minister, Premier ministre du Canada (Prime Minister of Canada), and to the provincial premiers for example the Premier of Quebec (Premier ministre du Québec). Canada has had prime ministers since 1867 although they are not mentioned in the written constitution and exist by convention. In France, the office of prime minister existed as in formal advisor to the Crown since 1624. Under the republic the office of prime minister did not exist until 1946.


  • comté - which usually means county in Canada can also be an informal term for an electoral district, like the English riding. The appropriate and recommended term in French for this, however, is circonscription (électorale).


  • Chambre des communes (House of Commons) the word "communes" here reveals the etymology of the English version of "commons" which was adopted from the British (and before that English) House of Commons, and which means "communities". The lower house is the house of communities, and not the house......
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