The Rise of Canadian Prime Ministerial Powers Essay

The Rise of Canadian Prime Ministerial Powers Essay

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The factors that gave rise to Canadian prime ministerial powers is the very structure of Canada’s Westminster system and its effect on the legal powers of the Prime Minister, unwritten conventions and the decline in the Crown’s power. Firstly, the powers of the Prime Minister in its very nature are much wide spread in terms of what he can do as an executive power. Secondly, the history and development of unwritten conventions have created a tradition in which very few sources of constraints can be enacted on the Prime Minister within the parliamentary system. Lastly, with the decline of the Crowns powers, the existence of an absolute power check fades away. These structural and historical factors of the Canadian Westminster style government gives forms the base of a strong domineering de facto head of state, the Prime Minister.
The executive branch of the Westminster system gives any Prime Minister tremendous power in directing, managing and halting government. In essence, there are no constraints on the Prime Minister from neither House nor Cabinet (Aucoin 113). In terms of directing government, the Prime Minister also has the authority to create policies and bills without consulting any other body of government, leading to swift implementations of them so long as House agrees (Aucoin 111). Very few government systems would allow a single representative to direct policies at will, in fact, the Canadian Prime Minister scored above all other Westminster systems on the PM scale, which measures the degree of influence policy making and King’s index, which measures the degree of influence on government (O’Malley 8). Furthermore, in terms of managing government, Aucoin also brings up that the Prime Minister has a wide spectrum of ap...


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...g Executive Accountability? Westminster Legacies of Executive Power." Parliamentary Affairs 66.3 (2013): 579-96. Oxford Journals. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.
Lewis. "Elite Attitudes on the Centralization of Power in Canadian Political Executives: A Survey of Former Canadian Provincial and Federal Cabinet Ministers, 2000–2010." Canadian Journal of Political Science46.4 (2013): 799-819. Cambridge Journals Online. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.
Messamore, Barbara J. "‘The Line over Which He Must Not Pass’: Defining the Office of Governor General, 1878." Canadian Historical Review 86.3 (2005): 453-84. Print.
O'Malley, Eoin. "The Power of Prime Ministers: Results of an Expert Survey." International Political Science Review 28.1 (2007): 7-27. SAGE Journals. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.
Svoie, Donald J. "Power at the Apex: Executive Dominance." Canadian Politics 5th ed (2004): 145-61. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.

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