Class Notes (834,037)
Canada (508,290)
POLSCI 1G06 (280)
Todd Alway (280)
Lecture

Political Science Lecture 2a Jan 9 2013.doc

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Department
Political Science
Course
POLSCI 1G06
Professor
Todd Alway
Semester
Winter

Description
Political Science 1G06 2013 II Lecture 2a: The Canadian Executive: - Where does executive power lie in the Canadian political system? - Canada is a constitutional monarchy - At least in a Constitutional sense, it is the Queen that is at the Apex of Canadian power Crown - “Defined as the collectivity of executive powers exercised by or in the name of the Monarch” Governor General: - The Governor General exercises Crown power within Canada, in the name of the Queen Power in Theory - The Governor General (at least on paper) o Appoints Senators and Judges o Gives royal assent to law o Summons and dissolves Parliament Power in Practice: - All of this is done on the “advice” of the government of the day - The Governor General’s assent is usually a “rubber stamp” - Very little real power in practice - However, in the past there have been rare cases where the Governor General has had a tangible political role to play - Appointment of the Prime Minister - Usually no real discretion - If a Party has won a majority of the seats in a general election o The Governor General automatically invites the individual leading that Party to form a government - However there were occasions in in the past where there was no clear successor for the office of Prime Minister - The PM died in office and the Governor General played a role in appointing one until elections could be held - Two cases in the 1890s 1 - This is not a real power in the present as Parties are better organized – and leadership succession is much clearer - Discretion in when to call an election - Usually will dissolve Parliament on the basis of a request from the Prime Minister - However, 1926 – King-Byng Affair Should Canada eliminate its ties to the Monarchy? Disadvantages: - According to critics, “the monarchical system brings with it a set of undemocratic values – elitism, privilege, etc.” Advantages: - The Crown has a role to play when unexpected crisis develop. It is a source of legitimate power that can be used “only when normal controls cannot operate and a crisis gets out of hand” So, if the Crown possesses no real power in most instances, where does executive power lie in the Canadian political system? Prime Minister and Cabinet: De facto power: - In a de facto sense it is the Prime Minister and his or her Cabinet that are the most powerful executive agents in the Canadian government Cabinet: - It is in the Cabinet that policy is decided upon - The Prime Minister alone decides the Membership of the Cabinet, but there are some constraints provided by convention (long-standing practices rather than legal requirements): - 1. “All Cabinet ministers must have a seat in Parliament:” - Elected Members of Parliament from the House of Commons - Or Senators - Those without a seat may be in Cabinet temporarily. However, by convention they must gain a seat in Parliament expeditiously - 2. “Each Province should be represented in Cabinet” 2 - 3. There should be some representation of minority groups o Linguistic, ethnic, gender
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