Ottawa residents have more political rights than Washingtonians. The Canadian capital has no special place within the federal structure. It’s not a federal capital territory. The situation is much like that of cities in the US. Municipal, province, and federal governments coexist and exercise different functions.
Ottawa in the House of Commons
Residents of Ottawa have representatives in the House of Commons, the legislative body that selects the federal government. The House of Commons currently has 338 electoral districts, called ridings. Each Member of Parliament (MP) represents roughly 100,000 voters. (Ottawa has four ridings.) Canada uses the “first past the post” system. Whichever candidate receives the most votes, even short of an absolute majority, wins the seat. (Canada has a largely two-party system – Liberals and Conservatives. But three smaller parties are also in the House of Commons, plus some independents.)
Ottawa in the Senate
Canada’s 105 senators are accomplished people from all walks of life. The governor general of Canada, the British monarch’s representative in Canada, appoints them, upon the advice of the Canadian prime minister. This is also a way of promoting diversity in the upper political echelons. Each province has a certain number of senators. In a sense the senators for the Ontario province represent Ottawa.
Residents of Ottawa have parliamentary representation on a par with all other Canadians. They are not penalized like residents of Washington, DC.