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The Excessive Power Of The Canadian Pm

935 words - 4 pages

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, Pierre Trudeau, allowed for affairs to be discussed in Cabinet, that disintegrated over time. Instead, issues contested in Cabinet were not discussed at length, not providing Cabinet Members a chance to voice their concerns. In turn, cabinet committee decisions are now seldom contested nor discussed in full Cabinet. Consequently, issues and decisions raised by the Prime Minister and Prime Minister’s Office are not disclosed to the Cabinet, giving the Prime Minister superior power, while cutting back the representation of constituents. Additionally, the Prime Minister reserves the right to adjudicate what will and will not be on the Cabinet’s agenda for ratification (Savoie, 1999). Hence, the Prime Minister ought to raise issues in Cabinet alongside other members in order to allow other Members of Parliament to represent their constituents, aid in the decision-making process, and voice their concerns during Cabinet. Otherwise, the Prime Minister is exerting a profuse amount of power over party members, and engulfing the decision-making process. Indeed, an anonymous minister of former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s government posited that the Cabinet is no longer a decision-making body, but rather “a kind of focus-group for...

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