POLS2300 Lecture 8: Chapter 9- The Machinery of Government

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POLS 2300
Chapter 9—The Machinery of Government
Machinery of Government include:
The monarch and Governor General
The Prime Minister and cabinet
Central agencies
The legislature
The in$uence and activities of MPs
A democratic de&cit
The courts
How a lass is passed
The legislative branch shall:
Represent the people and be accountable to them through
periodic elections
Debate public issues and provide a forum for competition
between political parties
Make laws
The executive branch shall:
Implement the laws
Ensure that the publics business is carried out e.ciently,
accountably, and in accordance with the law
Be non-partisan at the bureaucratic level, such that non-elected
o.cials faithfully carry out the policies of whatever party forms
the government of the day
The judicial branch shall:
By non-partisan and free from interference by the government
Interpret the laws meaning
Not substitute its preference for those of elected public o.cials
in matters of public policy, as distinct from legal and
constitutional interpretation
The Executive Branch
The Monarch and Governor General
The monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II, embodies the
authority of the Canadian state
The monarch is responsible for appointing the Prime Minister and
for deciding and for deciding when Parliament will be dissolved
and a new election held
Her duties are carried out by the Governor General
The Queen and GG perform mainly symbolic functions
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In matters such as the selection of the PM and the dissolution of
Parliament, constitutional convention is more important than the
discretion of the monarch
The monarch’s discretion if limited by constitutional conventions
that have developed over time
In circumstances of a minority government, the monarch’s
representatives could refuse a request to dissolve government,
and instead ask the leader of another party to try to form a
government
oHappened in 1926 when GG Lord Bying refused PM
Mackenzie King’s request for a new election
oSimilar things happened in 2008 when the motion of non-
con&dence in the House of Commons happened because of
the conservative minorities governments failure to pay
proper attention to the economy
The monarch and GG play no signi&cant role in setting the
government’s policy or agenda
Royal assent to legislation is automatic
The monarchy has been an irritating reminder of Canada’s
colonial ties to Britain and the historical dominance of Anglo-
Canadians
When the Meech Lake Accord failed in 1990, many francophone
politicians called for the cancelation of the Queen’s visit to
Montreal
The Prime Minister and Cabinet
At the centre of the policy-making process
One of the &rst duties is to select the people who will be cabinet
ministers
In the British parliamentary system, cabinet ministers always are
drawn from the same political party as the PM
The federal cabinet has ranged from 20-40
Powers are written in Section 11 of the Constitution Act, 1867:
“There shall by a Council to aid and advise in the Government of
Canada, to be styles the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada”
The Privy Council is the cabinet, under the leadership of the PM
Powers of the Cabinet (Privy Council) include control over the
budget
MP’s who are not apart of the Cabinet do not have the right to
introduce private members’ bills
Although the PM is not mentioned in the written constitution, it is
understood that the person who leads the dominant party in the
House of Commons has the following powers:
oWho will be appointed to or removed from the Cabinet
oWhen a new election will be held
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