7 Heads of State.doc

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15 Apr 2012
All governments require a Head of State, whether he or she be a monarch (king
or queen), president, or some other title; whether he or she gains that office by
hereditary means, appointment or election; the Head of State is the constitutional
and legal head of the “machinery of government”.
The Modern Canadian State
- democratic model of Canadian government
- federal government constitutional and legal arrangements
- provincial governments’ constitutional and legal arrangements
In Canada, the Queen (or King) is the Head of State
- she (or he) embodies the authority of the Canadian state
- most of the time, the Queen’s powers are exercised by the Governor
General nationally and by Lieutenant Governors in each province
- current incumbents are Queen Elizabeth II, Governor General Michaelle
Jean, Lieutenant Governor David Onley
The Head of State, or rather his or her representative in Canada, the
Governor-General, is responsible for appointing the Prime Minister and for
deciding when Parliament will be dissolved and a new election called
- the Governor-General (or the Lieutenant-Governor in provinces) must
approve all legislation, regulations and orders-in-council before they can
have any basis in law
- disallowance and reservation in the provinces
The Governor-General is pivotal during times of constitutional crisis
- King-Byng dispute of 1926
- Conservative minority government of 2008
Constitutional change?
- republicanism vs. monarchy?
- continued appointment of Governor General and Lieutenant Governors or
alternative means of selection?
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