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United States President Vs Canadian Prime Minister

1262 words - 5 pages

The US president wields a lot of power both domestically and in the international scene. These powers are granted by a number of statutes, amendments, the Constitution, congressional acts, and numerous influences and soft power by virtue of his position as the leader. On the other hand, Canada does not have a president and is instead led by a prime minister. Although the two countries are almost equal in size, their leaders exhibit vast differences in the amount of power they hold domestically (Dickerson et al., 2009: 47). General knowledge alone appears to affirm that the US president is the most powerful person among the world’s democratically ruled nations as he is the commander-in-chief of the world’s most modern and most powerful military by any standards and heads the world’s largest economy. However, does he exert the same level of power domestically? The Canadian Prime Minister, on the other hand, is not easily recognizable due to the little role Canada plays in international affairs. Even though the role of the PM is not explained by any legislation or legal document, it is easily the most influential position in Canada’s political system.
The President of the US makes several appointments by virtue of his position (Charlton 1998: 22). Prior to being sworn in, the elected president is mandated with making more than 6,000 appointments ranging from top officials at national agencies, senior employees at the White House, and top-level ambassadors. In a number of these appointments, he consults with the US Senate. The President is also accorded the power to nominate judges at all levels of the judiciary system. However, the nominees must first be confirmed by Senate, and this can be an obstacle if the Presidents wants to work with officials he thinks will share his ideologies. For instance, in January 2012, Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey objected to President Obama’s nomination of Judge Patty Shwartz to the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. However, an agreement was later reached and the nomination sailed through (Zernike 2012: 2). As the leader of the executive, the President must appoint the top officials in all of the major federal agencies such as the CIA, NASA, and the Federal Reserve Board. Previously, the President was mandated to appoint all members of the US civil service, however, the officers are now appointed on merit (Dahl 2005: 12).
The Canadian Prime Minister, similar to his American counterpart, also holds several appointment powers. Besides holding the highest role in the Canadian government, the PM has the power to appoint or remove officials from cabinet and other positions. He holds the power to appoint, without review, persons to fill important positions in the country’s parliament, judiciary, diplomatic corps, and a large number of crown corporations (Bickerton 2009a). As an example, Jean Chrétien , the immediate former holder of this position, made more than 50 percent of all appointments in the...

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