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Lecture 2a executive II.doc

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Political Science
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Todd Alway

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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” - the Queen is the head of the State, Elizabeth II - relationship has nothing to do with the united kingdom 1982, broke ties with the state but the Monarchy - 1867 government of and over Canada is with the Queen - Monarch doesn’t live in Canada, she has a rep. Gov. General serves for 5years - PM lut. Gov. reps the crown at the priv. level - They all rep. ground power 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 1 - Two cases in the 1890s - This is not a real power in the present as Parties are better organized – and leadership succession is much clearer - “the queen reigns but she doesn’t rule” - GG cannot refuse to do what the government tells them to do - GG official of PM is always filled - Determined by the results to the election - PMs die in office? GG makes the choice - 1896, Tucker, results were not clear, (being thrown out) defeated by none- confidence - 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 - 2008, Conservatives won, minority government - they would going to stop all funding of all parties, all other parties aligned together Dion, “take ex. Power for ourselves” - ndp and liberals, to vote down the con. And out of office - request a reset, going to the GG to stop them to being beated con. - thye have won the most seats by far - other parties were trying to undo this - 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.” - The queen is not a citizen of Canada - Has no ‘real’ place of modern Canada, 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
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