Canada has repeatedly been named the best, or among the best places to live on earth by the United Nations. Renowned for its peacekeepers, advocacy of freedoms and liberties, and multicultural society, Canada has become an admired and respected democracy the world over. Despite this image of democracy and responsible government, however, Canada operates on an elitist system that unfortunately focuses its power within one single, quasi-imperial position: the Prime Minister. The position of Prime Minister in Canada grants the leader the near-dictatorial powers that were once required to maintain peace and cohesiveness in a country that was plagued by regionalism and separatists during its inception. Canada, however, has evolved into a more cosmopolitan society, becoming increasingly homogeneous through its urban migration, and thus no longer requires this overbearing leadership, which has actually become an impediment to its growth as a truly liberal and democratic country. The over-empowerment of this position can be seen in several examples, which I will describe in the following essay, along with examinations of the institutions that are responsible for this concentration of authority within the federal government.
There are those that still believe that Canada needs a strong and efficient government to deal with the divisive nature of relations between Quebec and the rest of Canada. However, in a 1995 poll only fifteen percent of francophone Quebecois felt that the province was master of its own destiny, and four out of five said that they believed Canada to be the best country in the world to live in. However, things were much different during the years of Canada's early confederation. In 2001 eighty percent of Canadians lived in urban centers, this was definitely not the case in the early years of the county's development. Leaders also had to contend with the turbulent relations between upper and lower Canada, the Catholic French-speaking Quebecois, and the Protestant English-speaking settlers of the west.