Paper Title

[1.2] The Prime Minister of Canada: Seemingly Unlimited Power; Severely Limited Accountability

Location

Arts & Education Building 260, Moderated by Dr. Michael Gorman

Start Date

18-1-2019 5:00 PM

End Date

18-1-2019 6:15 PM

Disciplines

Political Science

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

This essay outlines the power balance in Canada with specific focus on the powers of the prime minister. If asked, many Canadians would say that Canada operates as a democracy with House of Commons, Senate, and Governor General all acting as check points to allow the will of the people to be the will of the government. However, this is not only an incredibly idealist notion, but it is also grossly misinformed. Although all of these branches in the Federal government may provide the appearance of democracy, given the exponential power bestowed upon the prime minister—largely through convention—neither the House of Commons, Senate, nor the Governor General can hope to provide sufficient accountability or oversight for the prime minister. For the purpose of this essay I will be focusing on the federal government in a majority setting, that is, a setting in which the governing party possesses the majority of seats in the House of Commons. In such a situation the various powers of any of the three aforementioned government bodies fail to sufficiently hold the prime minister to any degree of accountability. The system of federal government in Canada simply lends the prime minister too much power to be considered democratic, and neither the House, Senate, nor Governor General can suffice in maintaining anything but the appearance of democracy.

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Jan 18th, 5:00 PM Jan 18th, 6:15 PM

[1.2] The Prime Minister of Canada: Seemingly Unlimited Power; Severely Limited Accountability

Arts & Education Building 260, Moderated by Dr. Michael Gorman

This essay outlines the power balance in Canada with specific focus on the powers of the prime minister. If asked, many Canadians would say that Canada operates as a democracy with House of Commons, Senate, and Governor General all acting as check points to allow the will of the people to be the will of the government. However, this is not only an incredibly idealist notion, but it is also grossly misinformed. Although all of these branches in the Federal government may provide the appearance of democracy, given the exponential power bestowed upon the prime minister—largely through convention—neither the House of Commons, Senate, nor the Governor General can hope to provide sufficient accountability or oversight for the prime minister. For the purpose of this essay I will be focusing on the federal government in a majority setting, that is, a setting in which the governing party possesses the majority of seats in the House of Commons. In such a situation the various powers of any of the three aforementioned government bodies fail to sufficiently hold the prime minister to any degree of accountability. The system of federal government in Canada simply lends the prime minister too much power to be considered democratic, and neither the House, Senate, nor Governor General can suffice in maintaining anything but the appearance of democracy.