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South of the 49th: An Introduction to the US Constitutional System


Though Canada and the United States of America (US) are federal systems, they operate differently, politically. Unlike Canada, the US is NOT a parliamentary system, but rather a constitutional republic. Since 1789, the US Constitution has succeeded in preventing tyranny, but the power distribution between the presidential, congressional and judicial branches of government—and disagreement between the 3—can result in legislative gridlock. Also, the 50 American states are more autonomous than the Canadian provinces, with some state powers and responsibilities held at the national level in Canada. This event was designed to provide public servants with a better understanding of American government and politics through 3 main areas of focus:

  • the (US's) constitutional system
  • separation of powers and the role of states/the federal government
  • significant differences between American and Canadian system

Join us as special guest Susan Sullivan Lagon, PhD, Government Affairs Institute Senior Fellow at Georgetown University, discusses the significant differences between the American and Canadian governing systems, along with the separation of powers and the role of states. A chat function will be made available in order for the audience to ask questions during an assigned time.


Susan Sullivan Lagon, Ph.D. Nonresident, Senior Fellow GAI at Georgetown University


Taki Sarantakis, President, Canada School of Public Service

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