Social Studies

Canadian Parliament

Canadian Parliament Building

Canada has a parliamentary system of government. That means that control of the national government is in the hands of a prime minister and a parliament (lawmaking body). The job of the Canadian Parliament is to make laws and control the country’s budget.

The Canadian Parliament meets on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario. Ottawa is the capital of Canada.


The Canadian Parliament has three branches: the governor-general, the Senate, and the House of Commons. The governor-general is head of state.

Prime Minister of Canada

Paul Martin

The prime minister is the head of the government in Canada. But the prime minister is not Canada’s head of state. Who is? It's the queen of Canada, Queen Elizabeth II. She's also Britain's monarch.

In the United States, the president serves as both head of the government and head of state. In Canada, there’s a clear difference between the two. When it comes to making most decisions, the prime minister is in charge as head of the government.

Cold War

Berlin Wall

would blow up the world. Now the Cold War has faded to a distant memory.

The Cold War was a conflict primarily between the United States and the Soviet Union. Each power brought other countries into the conflict on its side. The Cold War lasted more than 40 years, from the mid-1940s to the end of the 1980s.

Why was the war “cold”? Because the United States and the Soviet Union never got into armed combat—a shooting or “hot” war—with each other.


The Cold War began soon after World War II ended in 1945. The United States and the Soviet Union had been allies (friends) in defeating Nazi Germany in that war. The Soviet army had invaded Germany from the east.

Supreme Court of Canada

Canadian Supreme Court Building

The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court in Canada. Courts administer justice. They decide who is right and who is wrong in cases or disputes brought to them. The Supreme Court makes the final decision over disputes in Canada. Nine justices (judges) are on the Supreme Court of Canada.

Canada’s Supreme Court does its work in the Supreme Court Building. It is located in Canada’s capital, Ottawa, in the province of Ontario.


Karl Marx

What if nobody was rich and nobody was poor? Suppose valuable things like land and factories belonged to everyone. Imagine a world in which everyone worked, but no one got paid. Why? Because everything would be free. These are among the basic ideas of a movement called communism.


The ideas of communism became popular in the early 1800s. At that time, the first big factories were forming. Most workers in these factories earned low wages. Meanwhile, the factory owners were getting rich. This made many workers angry.