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POL 151 (9)


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Political Science
POL 151
Scott Mc Leod

CH5 – EXECUTIVE BRANCH The Crown: ―The composite symbol of the institutions of the state...‖  Administrator of the ―commons‖—i.e. publically owned lands and corporations  Environment  The foundation of Canada‘s legal system  R. vs ABC (Crown represent state‘s interest in trial)  State regulator  Crown represent institutions that makes the rules, regulate country, represent public policy  Represents the collectivity of executive powers that are exercised in the interests either by or in the name of the Queen Formal Executive (The Queen):  Canada is a constitutional monarchy = Monarch acts as ―head of state‖ within the guidelines of a constitution o Many references to the Queen in Constitution – eg need Royal Assent for bills to be passed o Queen is often regarded the public face of the Crown (i.e. the state in the symbolic sense).  Formal power vested in Crown/Queen/her representative – but rarely used o By virtue of this role, the Queen possesses the powers of the Crown, but only in a symbolic sense. In other words, while the Queen may by definition ―hold‖ the powers of the Crown, it is the ―political arm‖ of the executive branch (i.e. the Prime Minister and the Cabinet) that actually exercises them. o US = Constitutional Republic, not queen or king, president = also act as head of state Governor General (Queen’s representative):  The ―Letters Patent‖ indicates that the GG can channels the formal power of the Crown on behalf of the queen  ―all powers of the monarchy‖ with respect to Canada 1. Perform social/ceremonial duties as Head of State  ex. Speech from the Throne, receives foreign dignitaries, serves as Commander in Chief of CanadianForces, etc. 2. ‗Non-partisan‘ advisor – GG can offer advice of a less partisan nature to prime minister (non-partisan = political neutral)  Has the right to be consulted, warn, or encourage the Prime Minister in confidential exchanges 3. Power to intervene in normal routine of government if required – rarely exercise this power 4. ―Selects‖ Prime Minister when office is vacant  reality is ‗majority‘ parties ‗select‘ their leaders, who then ‗advice‘ the ‗selection‘ made by GG Case of the Monarchy (Why it still exist)  Intelligible government – constitutional monarchy makes for constitutional continuity as whoever occupies the throne in incidental relative the gravitas of the throne/institution of the Crown itself  it is the institution that matters, not the individual royal itself  Divine rule – absolute authority of the institution is derived from God  Moral Authority – premised on a traditional organic view of society that moral guidance flows from the monarchy to the general populace  Head of society – sovereign serves as an expression of societal stability, peace and prosperity  Political neutrality – the monarchy serves as a beacon of certainty both in instances of peaceful transfers of power and in times of crisis Political Executive I (The Prime Minister)  Prime Minister = chief orchestrator of the political arm of the executive branch.  PM sets the policy agenda of the day via the legislative process in conjunction with the Cabinet. o However, the PM does not always require the consultation of cabinet to make a ―cabinet-level‖ decision.  PM is assisted by the Prime Minister‘s Office (PMO)—a bureaucratic staff of mostly party loyalists, confidants and advisors that organizes the prime minister‘s schedule, drafts correspondence, media relations, caucus meetings, speeches etc.  Prime minister is referred to as ―primus interpares‖ – first among equals because: o Power of appointment: can call upon colleagues to serve in the Cabinet  Also have power to appoint with regard to patronage – from senate, crown corporations, judiciary, ambassadors, foreign afairs, wharf managers ,etc o Power of dismiss any colleague from Cabinet – used more frequently. Collective cabinet also have capacity to ‗dismiss‘ a Prime Minister o Power to determine the timing of Parliament and of elections – when the house sits, when a new session begins, when an election is called o Power of office to command attention – can influence events, push particular agenda ideas, govern media coverage  Roles/Powers of the PM o Cabinet-maker (choose who sits/dismiss, size, what departments) o Advisor to governor general o Chair of Cabinet meetings (direct itillinery, schedule, create cabinet committee and who sits in it) o Chief policymaker (first and last word in direction of government agenda) o Leading player in House of Commons o Chief Personnel manager (choose who to be senator, choose who in PMO) o Controller of government organization (create government departments, reorganizing them) o Chief diplomat (talk with other countries, negotiate treaties) o Party leader (leader of government party, eg liberal etc, thus have majority of ‗public opinion‘ and in HOC) o Public persuader (people know him, thus don‘t have to do much to create influence in public) Political Executive II (The Cabinet):  Cabinet membership comes from members of parliament - primarily the HOC  Possesses and exercises primary control over the legislative process, sets and implements the schedule and protocol of the House of Commons, crafts the tone for the government‘s national agenda  Assists Prime Minister in advising Governor General to summon, dissolve or prorogue Parliament as well as GG of all major public appointments—i.e. the judiciary, regulatory agencies, Crown corporations, the Senate etc. (*Note, the PM consistently plays the determining role here)  Relationship between Cabinet and Legislature – o Cabinet authority exist so long as Executive can maintain the confidence of the House of Commons o A vote of Non Confidence if successful will force Cabinet/Government to resign  Ministerial responsibility: Each cabinet minister is individually responsible to the HOC with regard to everything that happens in his/her department or portfolio  Collective responsibility: Cabinet members are collectively responsible for success or failure of the government‘s agenda  Cabinet solidarity: expectation on the part of the government that all cabinet ministers publically support the governing party‘s agenda regardless of the personal views individual members—premised on the notion of party discipline  Cabinet secrecy: commitment on the part of the governing party to keep all Cabinet related meetings, documents, conversations, discussions confidential and out the public eye  Departmental cabinet: pre-1960 Cabinet era in which ministers were afforded a significant degree of independence (from prime minister) with respect to policy direction and the day to day administration of their departments  Institutionalized cabinet: post-1960 Cabinet era marked by increased policy and legislative coordination among departmental ministries with central agencies (PMO, PCO, Treasury Board & Department of Finance)—essentially nullified by systemic inefficiencies, as well as the simultaneous growth of prime ministerial power – (a lot more external influences)  Memorandum to Cabinet: formal written submission to Cabinet by a minister that is intended to introduce, influence, or modify a government policy o Statement of problem (what)  Background of problem (why) o Courses of action (range of alternatives available)  Recommendation o Implementation (putting into action) Executive summary (front of memo) Public Bureaucracy  Non-departmental side of government – crown corporations, agencies, commissions, regulatory bodies, bureaux (not discussed)  Line – department of justice, health, etc  Horizontal line departments- human resource, oversight – ―serving public servant, not public‖  Coordinator departments – central agencies Central Agencies – Executive Support = provide staff support for political executive  Privy Council Office (PCO)—the non-partisan entity that coordinates the machinery of government, organizes senior bureaucratic appointments and supports the PM & Cabinet with expert counsel and logistical research o All policy ideas/proposals were sent to PCO in memorandum form o PCO‘s role expanded to briefing Prime Minister and Cabinet, became ―policy advisors‖  Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS)—perhaps wields the most significant day-to-day influence of the four central agencies in that the TBS oversees the overall financial management of the government‘s human and material resources o Monitor delegated authority, operate as government‘s ―chief accountant‖ o Provide advice on resource implications, management aspects of policy proposals, effectiveness of existing programs  Department of Finance—while the TBS is a substantial restraint on departmental spending, the DF ultimately retains the final authority over how the government collects its revenue, manages its expenditures and administers its debt o Support Minister of Finance in meeting statutory requirements and policy terms o Provides advance on government action, with regard to economic impacts  Public Service Commission (PSC)—the entity that ensures that the employment principles of merit, competence and representation are reflected, applied and enforced in the basic hiring guidelines and standards of the public service  Prime Minister‘s Office o Deal with prime ministerial correspondence o Provide detail political analysis of proposed policies and programs - a featured distinct from most advice from the PCO Government Departments: Of the three types of bureaucratic organizations within Canada‘s institutional framework, government departments wield the most decision-making and policy-executing influence as every one of the 21 departments in the government‘s stable represents a specific responsibility that is of great importance to the country  Cabinet Ministers—appointed to the executive branch by the prime minister, these MPs are entrusted wi
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