Textbook Notes (280,000)
CA (170,000)
Western (10,000)
2246E (30)
Chapter 3

Political Science 2246E Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Cabinet Collective Responsibility

Political Science
Course Code
Political Science 2246E
Joseph Lyons

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The Central Executive in Canadian Government
o The central executive is the fulcrum of governance in the cabinet-
parliamentary system
it provides leadership, coordination and facilitation
as such, it is an appropriate focus for public administration
o the central executive refers to the collective political and non-political
elements of the executive who are engaged in generating and
coordinating central policy
o it is one of the great paradoxes of the Westminster or parliamentary
system that the prime minister and cabinet exercise enormous power
while they do not exist in a constitutional sense
o to understand cabinet government, it is useful to think in terms of
dichotomies: first, power and authority and the second, the dignified and
efficient executive
it is also helpful to remember that the dichotomies themselves did
not always exist
in the era of the autocratic monarch they were unnecessary
as the king’s power became constrained by parliament, it became
necessary to distinguish between authority, the formal designation
of who was enabled to perform public acts and power
this dichotomy between ‘dignified’ and ‘efficient’ is the simplest
way to understand the structure of the federal and provincial
o the main difference between federal and provincial executives is that
federal ministers do not relinquish membership in the Queen’s Privy
o the first similarity is that the federal and provincial governments adopted
the institutionalized cabinet (a highly structured cabinet)
o a second area of similarity is the virtually identical conventional and
political powers enjoyed by prime ministers and premiers
the prime minister is the sole interlocutor between cabinet and the
governor general
only he or she can choose cabinet ministers and hence has the
power to make or break careers
the first minister is the sole architect of the general machinery of
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