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Political Science
Political Science 2230E
Frank Cameron

1 What are the reserve powers and limits of the governorgeneral Was the governorgeneral right to grant PM Harpers request for prorogation in December 2008 1 What are the reserve powers and limits of the governorgeneral Was the governorgeneral right to grant PM Harpers request for prorogation in December 2008BackgroundThe Crown is represented by the governor general except when the monarch is in Canada5 year termDiminished from broad discretionary powers to largely ceremonialCan still be used in case of constitutional emergency RolesHead of StateRepresentative of British GovernmentRemaining Functions of the GG 1 Consultation right to be consultedto encourage andto warn Walter Bagehot 2 Reserve Powers 1 Appoint the Prime Minister fairly automatic when the party wins a majority or minority If the PM dies while holding office the GG appoints a new one on hisher discretion 2 Dismiss the Prime MinisterIf the PM committed a crime or refuses to deal with a matter the GG may dismiss the PM in order to protect national interest of the country 3 Grant Dissolution of Parliament and Call Electionin theory limited by conventions that have developed over time1878 stopped having a reservationregarding decisions that had not been passed through the British ParliamentLast time they refused legislation 1896Conservative gov was defeated and before Tupper left office he tried to make a few appointments but the GG refused suggesting that the old PM didnt have legitimacylast time GG didnt honor the wishes of an outgoing PM 4 Refuse Dissolution of Parliament1926 King PM asked Byng GG to dissolve parliament so he could avoid a vote that would have him removed from parliamentByng refused the request and called on the opposition leader to form a government but was unable to win the majority of the House failed and in the next election King won the majoritylast time GG went against PMs wishes constitution convention 2008 CrisisConservatives won a minority government in October and therefore needed the help of another party to pass legislation in the HOCIn November Harper did 3 things that other parties didnt likeConservatives did not provide a government stimulus package to kickstart the economyNo immediate forms of assistance for Canadians who lost their jobsThey wanted to prevent public servants from striking until 2011 which upset many unionsThe Conservatives proposed to eliminate subsidization of all political parties in Canada which would have bankrupted themPM vs 3 opposition leaders agreed to bring down the government on a motion of nonconfidence in the House of CommonsTried to form a coalition government with the Liberals and NDP for at least two years supported by the BQConservatives faced nearcertain defeat in the HouseAs a means of avoiding this defeat the Conservatives prorogued parliament for a period of time Harper had to ask the GG Michelle Jean for her permission to do soParliament resumed 6 weeks laterin an attempt to get one of the coalition partners to support themWhen they returned in January with a new budget the Liberals support themImplications of this Decision 1 Rarity but not unique The only prior case was in 1873 Sir John A MacDonald 2 The ongoing role of the GGDisplays the underlying role of the GG and a sense among the PM that he needed her help to avoid failure 3 Conventions and precedentsExercises unwritten conventionslike what the GG should do in a situation like this 4 Importance to the country Everyone is affected by this decisionhe could have faced a confidence vote inthe House and lostDid the GG do the right thing 1 Should not have rejected the PMs requestbecause no other one has therefore precedent states she did the right thing 2 Should reject the PMs request because there was a viable government in waitingthey could have demanded parliamentary support 3 Ways to View the Decision 1 popularized by the Conservatives Dion Layton and Duceppe colluded together to find an undemocratic backdoor entrance to power2 Defense of Harpers decision on the basis of convention After KingByng dispute GG should never go against the PMs wishes 3 In proroguing parliament Michalle Jean did not fulfill her role as a neutral arbiterSuspending parliament before it had a chance to express its lack of confidence in the Prime Minster seems to run counter to her central duty to ensure that the political executive is held accountable to the citizensShe did not even consult with Dion Layton or Duceppe only Steven Harper and Peter Hogg Factors that affected her decisionShe would follow precedent and convention and therefore prorogue which she didIf she denied she would still have been following precedent from the KingByng affairGovernment in waitinghow sure could she be of the success of the coalitionWhat support would it have in parliamentor in the country What do the people wantTo what extent did the economic situation play in her decision Liberals ended up agreeingand only did so because of the prorogue 2 What is the principle of responsible governmentHow does this principle influence the exercise of authority within the political executiveWhat are the main types of cabinet organization and how does the location of political power differ in each
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