The Excessive Power of the Canadian Prime Minister

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As the leader of the majority party, the Prime Minister of Canada acts as the spokesperson for the party, alongside appointing and allocating Members of Parliament and their responsibilities (Matheson, 2012). Additionally, the Prime Minister extends their powers to the Crown, whereby they nominate a candidate to the role of the Governor General. Meanwhile, the Governor General is responsible for the appointment of judges to Canada’s Supreme Court, upon the advice of the Prime Minister (Library of Parliament, 2013). Hence, the Prime Minister probes in virtually every branch of the Canadian government. It is quite unambiguous then, that the Canadian Prime Minister’s spearheading of the government at the federal level makes them too powerful. In fact, O’Malley’s study found that out of twenty-two parliamentary democracies surveyed across the globe, Canada’s Prime Minister had the most prime ministerial power (2007). Moreover, while the Canadian constitution comprises of binding conventions that constrain the exercise of legislative power by the government, the courts do not ordain these conventions (Leishman, 2005). To elaborate further, in order to mitigate the power held by the Canadian Prime Minister, party discipline should be abated in order to allow for Members of Parliament to efficaciously represent their constituents, and the three branches of government should be separated exclusively to prevent the engulfment of the Prime Minister’s influence upon every aspect of the government.

While the electorate vote for Members of Parliament that should hypothetically representing their constituents, MP’s are instead adhering to the objectives set out by the Prime Minister’s Office. Indeed, while former Canadian Prime Minister, Pier...

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...'Malley, (2007). The Power of Prime Ministers: Results of an Expert Survey.International Political Science Review. 28 (1), pp.7-27

Rory Leishman, (2005). Against Judicial Activism: The Decline of Freedom and Democracy in Canada. 1st ed. Quebec: McGill-Queen's University Press.

Donald Savoie, (1999). The Rise of Court Government in Canada. Canadian Journal of Political Science. 32 (4), pp.635-664

Kim Mackrael (2013). 'Behave and obey:' How party discipline hurts politics. [ONLINE] Available at: 'Behave and obey:' How party discipline hurts politics. [Last Accessed November 10, 2013].

Maxwell A. Cameron (2004). Federalism and the Separation of Powers at the Subnational level. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.politics.ubc.ca/fileadmin/user_upload/poli_sci/Faculty/cameron/Federalism_and_the_Separation_of_Powers_Aug11-04b1.pdf. [Last Accessed November 10, 2013].

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