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Chapter 6

PO263 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Collective Responsibility, Treasury Board, Royal Assent

Political Science
Course Code
Christopher Anderson

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Chapter 6: The Crown and its Servants
6.1 The Crown
Parliament is the real seat of legislative power, but its decisions don’t have the force of
law until they’ve received royal assent
Same with executive power-all executive decisions made by the gov’n require
assent of the Crown and be carried out in the Crown’s name
I.e., ppl who prosecute criminals= “Crown Attorneys” and the cases the
prosecute have names like R. V. Oakes (“R” stands for ‘Regina’)
PM and cabinet virtually have complete ctrl of executive power
In principle, this power remains power of the Crown and those who exercise it are
deemed to do so as servants of his or Her majesty
British regime=constitutional monarchy; a regime that is monarchical by law but
democratic by convention
Canadian Constitution is very similar to this
6.2 The Governor General
The Queen is a monarch of many dominions so CA 1867 provides that the monarch
shall have a permanent representative in Canada-the Governor General
6.3 The Functions of the Governor General
GG must approve any bill passed by Parliament
2 important roles of GG: guardian of responsible gov’n and representative for the Queen
(head of state)
Guardian of responsible gov’n=official who ensures that we have a gov’n that
enjoys the confidence of the House
GGs carry out this function through the use of various reserved powers
(powers they reserve the right to use on their own initiative)
One reserve power=the power to appoint the PM
Voters don’t elect a PM, so someone must have the
authority to appoint one
A second reserve power=power to dismiss a PM who attempts to
govern without the confidence of the HoC
Third reserve power=power to prorogue Parliament or to dissolve
Parliament and call elections
The office of the GG stands above party politics, so it represents all the ppl of Canada
rather than just those who voted for the party in power
6.4 The Cabinet
In constitutional practice, the cabinet exercises executive power and has decisive ctrl
over legislative power
The Queen’s Privy Council for Canada controls virtually all those powers granted by the
Constitution to the Crown or GG
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