POLI 321 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Royal Assent, Government Failure, Arthur Meighen
SchoolUniversity of Calgary
Course CodePOLI 321
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Dr. Melanee Thomas
Topic 3: The Formal Executive: The Crown and Governor General:
Canada is a constitutional monarchy, and the monarchy
embodies the authority of the Canadian Government.
Any action of the government of Canada is taken in the Queens
The monarch: Responsible for appointing the PM and deciding
when the Parliament will be dissolved and when a new election
When she is not in Canada, her duty is carried out by the
Most Canadians recognize that the Queen is mainly symbolic.
Normally, the Prime Minster request that Parliament may be
dissolved and a new election held will granted automatically. It is
remotely possible though highly improbable that in
circumstances of minority government the monarch’s
representative could refuse that request and last the leader of
another party to try form government. This happened last in
1926 when GG refused PM Mackenzie King request for a new
election. The refusal caused a minor constitutional crisis.
The Byng precedent suddenly became relevant in 2008 when
there was conservative minority government: Some claim that
opposition parties were outraged at what they saw the
government failure to pay proper attention to the economy.
While the others say the reason was the conservative proposal to
eliminate public funding for the political parties was the real
trigger for the unexpected unity among opposition parties. The
opposition agreed to bring down the government on a question
of non-con4dence in the House of Commons. The opposition also
agreed on a coalition pact whereby the Liberals and the NDP
would form a coalition government for a period of at least two
years, which would be supported by the Block Q. Before they
could replace the Conservatives as the government the GG will
have to refuse Prime Minister request for new election, instead
calling on Stephan Dion to form a government.
In the end, the question became moot when PM Harper decided
to request a prorogation of Parliament until late 2009, when the
government planned to introduce a budget.
Same story but in Lecture: The Conservative Party in 2008 was
asked to show a 4scal report. 6 weeks after the election the
report was shown. It showed purview bursaries, which was
cutting back on party 4nance. The issue was that it had nothing
to do with 4nancial crisis that was engul4ng the nation. The
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