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POLS 2300 (152)
Lecture 4

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Political Science
POLS 2300
Tamara Small

POLS 2300: Canadian Government and Politics Lecture 4: The Executive – Crown, Prime Minister and Cabinet Parliamentary Government - Crown (Queen, GG & 10 LG) - Cabinet (PM and ministry) - Parliament (House of Commons and Senate) - These come to us because of the “similar to that in the principle of the British government” - In Canada 2 people do the job what Obama does in the States Parliamentary Government/Westminster - Constitutional Monarchy o Queen is the head of state and her role is acted out by the Governor General o Symbolic, Queen doesn’t have any real power or absolute power o Most of the power is exercised elsewhere o The Queen governs according to the constitution, she is not above the constitution o Always have a formal executive and a political executive, dual executive o Doesn’t play a role in politics but plays an important role in the life of the country - Fusion of Powers o The executive is part of the legislature, PM and cabinet are also part of the legislature - Responsible Government o Fundamental principles of Canadian politics o The idea that the government is responsible to the legislature o The idea that the executive must have the support of the legislature to govern o The power to govern in Canada does not come from the people, the power to govern in Canada comes from the legislature o Vote of Confidence – speech from the throne, finance o Votes on non confidence – if the majority of the house votes against the government there is a problem, the government could go to the GG and say I have lost the confidence of the house can we have an election, the GG could say yes or no, they could go to the House and say is there anyone else that can govern, likely that there will be an election but doesn’t necessarily mean there will be an election Dual Executive - Formal: Queen, GG - Political: PM, Steven Harper, Cabinet Formal Executive: Sources of Power - Constitution Act, 1867 (Section 9) – executive power resides in the Crown and the Queen who is the head of state, queen is Far away so we have the other actors such as GG and LG, LG are appointed by the Queen on the advice of the PM - Royal Prerogative (prerogative power) – powers that the Crown has that are not passed by the Constitution or State law - Letters Patent, 1947 - document that outlines the role of the GG - The power of the Crown is quite limited, they should be neutral and unbiased Formal Executive: Governor-General - (De Facto) Head of State – represents the State but does not have any power of authority (Queen) - Appointed – for a term of 5-7 years, 5 normally, 7 if they need to extend the term, since 1972 it is a Canadian, prior to 1972 it was a British person, the GG alternates between the French and English language, come to symbolize Canadian identity and multiculturalism, duties are ceremonial, they swear on the cabinet, they read the speech from the throne, gives royal assent (the signing off of bills), the receive guests, significant - Role to be the guardian of responsible government – the person with obligation to do whatever is necessary to make sure that Canada has a government in place - Convention – Must follow advice of federal cabinet (convention) - Discretionary prerogative powers (reserve powers) o Powers that may exercise upon his or her own personal discretion o Appoint and dismiss PM, proroguing and dissolve Parliament - Royal Assent - Ceremonial Duties King-Byng Affair, 1926 (Box 1 in Text) - Liberal minority government lead by PM Mackenzie King - King asked GG Lord Byng to dissolve parliament – because he doesn’t want to face a vote of non confidence, he wanted the people to decide and have another election - Byng refused and appointed Arthur Meighan as PM – he says yes - Meighan defeated 3 days later on a vote of non confidence, Parliament was dissolved - King re-elected with majority government - Belief that Byng had acted improperly and overstepped his boundaries, the discretionary power still exists Constitutional Crisis, 2008 - Economic Statement, November 2008 – political parties are funded by the state, for ever 1 vote to the party the government gives the $1.75, The conservative party is the party least dependent on party subsidies, law saying they were going to scrap the money, sounded like they were trying to attack all of the other parties - Liberal-NDP Coalition supported by the BQ – thought they would win, all they had to do was to get one week and have a vote of non confidence, but Steven Harper could ask GG to shut down session before the vote (prorogues) - Confidence vote scheduled - Governor-General prorogues House of Commons – She would support Harpers decision to prorogue government - Responsible government requires that the H of C support the government - Did the GG make the right decision? o Franks – regardless of the merit of Mr. Harper’s request, to refuse prorogation risked splitting the country in multiple ways. The GG weighed her options, and ultimately made the right decision o Heard – “The GG was not bound by her normal duty to act on the PM’s advice” which was “unconstitutional”(55) and says the granting of prorogation sets a dangerous precedent in which “future prime ministers can claim they are entitled to suspend Parliament at any time, for any reason” (60) Should We Abolish the Monarchy? - Problem: with hereditary, expensive, not demo
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