Skip Nav

Prime Minister of Canada

LWVC Site Search

❶In , newly-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau b. The problem with this all-or-nothing position, however, is that redefining the Senate's role and altering its seat distribution would require broad provincial support for a constitutional amendment.

Search The Canadian Encyclopedia

What to Read Next
Top Calls to Action LWVC
Footer Links

As of , with an amendment to the Elections Act, Section Following parliamentary dissolution, the prime minister must run in the resulting general election if he or she wishes to maintain a seat in the House of Commons. Should the prime minister's party subsequently win a majority of seats in the House of Commons, it is unnecessary to re-appoint the prime minister or again swear him or her into office. Should the prime minister's party achieve a minority while an opposition party wins a plurality i.

This option was last entertained in Because the prime minister is, in practice, the most politically powerful member of the Canadian government , he or she is sometimes erroneously referred to as Canada's head of state , [n 2] when, in fact, that post is held by the Canadian monarch , represented by the governor general.

However, the function of the prime minister has evolved with increasing power. Today, as per the doctrines of constitutional monarchy , the advice given by the prime minister is ordinarily binding, meaning the prime minister effectively carries out those duties ascribed to the sovereign or governor general, leaving the latter to act in predominantly ceremonial fashions. Further, the prime minister plays a prominent role in the legislative process—with the majority of bills put before parliament originating in the Cabinet—and the leadership of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Pierre Trudeau is credited with, throughout his tenure as prime minister between and , consolidating power in the PMO, [18] which is itself filled by political and administrative staff selected at the prime minister's discretion and unaccountable to parliament. At the end of the 20th century and into the 21st, analysts—such as Jeffrey Simpson , [19] Donald Savoie , Andrew Coyne , [20] and John Gomery —argued that both parliament and the Cabinet had become eclipsed by prime ministerial power; [n 3] [21] Savoie wrote: There do exist checks on the prime minister's power: The Reform Act, , [30] codifies the process by which a caucus may trigger a party leadership review and, if necessary, chose an interim leader, thereby making a prime minister more accountable to the MPs in his or her party.

Caucuses may choose to follow these rules, though the decision would be made by recorded vote, thereby subjecting the party's choice to public scrutiny. The Senate may delay or impede legislation put forward by the Cabinet, such as when Brian Mulroney 's bill creating the Goods and Services Tax GST came before the upper chamber and, given Canada's federal nature , the jurisdiction of the federal government is limited to areas prescribed by the constitution.

Further, as executive power is constitutionally vested in the monarch, meaning the Royal Prerogative belongs to the Crown and not to any of its ministers, [32] [33] [34] the sovereign's supremacy over the prime minister in the constitutional order is thus seen as a "rebuff to the pretensions of the elected: As it has been said, when the Prime Minister bows before the Queen, he bows before us [the Canadian people].

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police also furnish constant personal security for the prime minister and his or her family. Should a serving or former prime minister die, he or she is accorded a state funeral , wherein their casket lies in state in the Centre Block of Parliament Hill. John Thompson also died outside Canada, at Windsor Castle , where Queen Victoria permitted his lying-in-state before his body was returned to Canada for a state funeral in Halifax.

In earlier years, it was traditional for the monarch to bestow a knighthood on newly appointed Canadian prime ministers. Accordingly, several carried the prefix Sir before their name; of the first eight premiers of Canada, only Alexander Mackenzie refused the honour of a knighthood from Queen Victoria. Following the Nickle Resolution , however, it was against non-binding policy for the sovereign to grant such honorific titles to Canadians; the last prime minister to be knighted was Sir Robert Borden , who was premier at the time the Nickle Resolution was debated in the House of Commons.

The Canadian Heraldic Authority CHA has granted former prime ministers an augmentation of honour on the personal coat of arms of those who pursued them. The heraldic badge, referred to by the CHA as the mark of the Prime Ministership of Canada , [43] consists of four red maple leaves joined at the stem on a white field "Argent four maple leaves conjoined in cross at the stem Gules" ; the augmentation has, so far, been granted either as a canton sinister or centred in the chief.

Canada continues the Westminster tradition of using the title Prime Minister when one is speaking to the federal head of government directly; this is in contrast to the United States protocol of addressing the federal head of government as mister as in, Mister President ; the Department of Canadian Heritage advises that it is incorrect to use the term Mr Prime Minister.

In the decades following Confederation, it was common practice to refer to the prime minister as Premier of Canada , [50] [51] [52] a custom that continued until the First World War , around the time of Robert Borden's premiership. The Prime Minister—designate of Canada refers to the person who has been designated as the future prime minister by the Governor General , after either winning a general election, forming a confidence and supply government, or forming an coalition government.

The term does not apply to incumbent prime ministers. After exiting office, former prime ministers of Canada have engaged in various pursuits.

Some remained in politics: Bowell continued to serve as a senator, Stephen Harper returned to the House of Commons as a backbench Member of Parliament, and Bennett moved to the United Kingdom after being elevated to the House of Lords.

Laurent , [64] and John Turner, each before they returned to private business. Meighen was also appointed to the Senate following his second period as prime minister, but resigned his seat to seek re-election and moved to private enterprise after failing to win a riding. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 10 August This article is about the position of Prime Minister of Canada.

Federal electoral districts Federal electoral system 42nd federal election Provincial electoral districts Politics of the provinces. Federalism Structure of the federal government Constitutional law Royal prerogative Regions Political culture Foreign relations Office-holders Political movements Aboriginal self-government First Nations bands. Queen's Privy Council for Canada. Canadian politics portal Canada portal. Archived from the original on June 1, Retrieved September 21, An Introduction 5 ed.

Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved June 7, King's Printer for Canada published October 1, Retrieved May 29, Archived from the original on June 16, Retrieved May 18, Queen's Printer for Canada, pp. Retrieved November 26, Ipsos Reid, December 15, , p. The Crown in Canada: Present Realities and Future Options. Archived from the original PDF on June 17, Retrieved May 23, Retrieved November 17, Retrieved January 18, Retrieved January 27, Retrieved June 30, Governing from the Centre: The Concentration of Power in Canadian Politics.

University of Toronto Press. What Is Her Title, Exactly? Retrieved June 3, Why did Canada's first lady spark such a backlash? The Senate's purpose is to consider and revise legislation, investigate national issues, and most crucially according to the Constitution — give the regions of Canada an equal voice in Parliament.

Long regarded by many Canadians as a place of unfair patronage and privilege, the Senate is a controversial institution; an unresolved debate continues about whether it should be reformed into an elected body accountable to the voters, or abolished. Senators are appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister. Senators lose their seats if they become aliens; become bankrupt, insolvent or public defaulters; are convicted of felony or any "infamous crime"; lose their residence or property qualification; or are absent for two consecutive sessions of Parliament.

Located on the eastern end of Parliament's Centre Block, the Senate chamber is adorned in royal red versus the green of the House of Commons. It is where senators meet and debate, and where the Canadian sovereign or their representative the governor-general addresses Parliament and delivers the Speech from the Throne at the beginning of every new session of Parliament.

This is also where the ceremony is held to install a new governor general. Proceedings in the Senate chamber, and the proceedings of most senate committees, are open to public viewing. The chamber is an impressive architectural hall, with intricately-carved oak panelling, two massive bronze chandeliers, and a marble bust of Queen Victoria, Canada's Queen at the time of Confederation, surveying the chamber from above the speaker's chair.

Most stunning are eight, huge oil paintings on the main walls of the chamber, depicting scenes of Canadian sacrifices during the First World War. They dared not leave matters such as tariffs, taxation and railways to the mercy of an Ontario-dominated Commons, and they insisted on equal regional representation in the Upper House. Without that guarantee there would have been no Confederation.

The Senate is therefore designed to balance out the power of the Commons, by giving voice to and protecting the rights of Canada's regions, particularly regions with small populations that do not have strength-by-numbers in the Commons. Of the seats in Parliament as of , or three quarters are in the Commons, while or one quarter are in the Senate. Senate seats are divided equally among four "divisions: There are also nine additional seats representing regions that were not part of the Divisions originally created at Confederation — Newfoundland and Labrador —6, Northwest Territories —1, Yukon —1, Nunavut —1.

Today, although senators are technically appointed to represent a region, they also tend to sit as members of political parties, either government or opposition, depending on whether their party holds power in the Commons. As a result the Senate has operated for much of its history as a partisan political body — its members following instructions from their party leaders in the Commons — rather than as originally intended, as an independent voice for regional interests.

This has also fuelled demands that it be reformed or abolished. Despite its regional focus, the Senate was not set up to represent provincial governments or legislatures, or to protect the provinces against federal invasion of their powers. The courts protect provincial powers , and the protection of provincial interests in matters under federal jurisdiction sometimes falls to the ministers from each province in the federal Cabinet.

Canada's first Cabinet had five senators out of a total of 13 ministers. From to , there were seldom more than two, often only one senator in the Cabinet. The Senate was also intended to provide "sober second thought" on legislation introduced in the Commons. One of its most effective functions is the quiet, in-depth study and review of national issues including the hearing of expert witnesses by Senate Committees. Committees go over proposed bills clause by clause and often hear voluminous evidence, sometimes over a period of months.

Committees are usually non-partisan and can draw on a vast reservoir of members' knowledge and experience: Senate committees have produced careful studies on unemployment , land use, science policy , poverty , aging , the mass media see Communications and Indian affairs.

Senate investigations have often led to important changes in government policy or legislation. The Senate has almost the same powers as the House of Commons. Bills are read three times in the Commons as well as in the Senate. The Senate can only delay constitutional amendments for days. But no bill can become law without its consent, and it can veto any bill as often as it likes.

The Senate cannot initiate money bills taxes or expenditures. Neither House can increase amounts in money bills. The Senate has not vetoed a bill from the Commons since The Senate now very rarely makes amendments of principle. The amendments it does make to bills now are almost always related to drafting — to clarify, simplify and tidy proposed legislation. In the Senate temporarily blocked Bill C22 pharmaceutical patents but eventually agreed to amendments.

This led Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to use his power to fill eight vacant senate seats, in order to ensure passage of the legislation in The Senate's legally absolute veto was expected to be really no more than a delaying veto because, until the late s, governments were usually short-lived, and none, it seemed, would be able to build up a large enough majority in the Senate to block a successor government of the opposition party. But most Canadian governments since then have been long-lived, and as appointments are almost invariably partisan.

The Senate has often had a large opposition majority, and also, through much of the late 20th Century, a heavy preponderance of Liberals. Since the election of Stephen Harper 's Conservative government in , however, party power in the Senate has shifted. By , there were 42 Conservative senators, 25 Liberals, 21 independents and 17 vacancies. A traditional objection to the Senate is that too often its members are given seats in the Chamber as a reward for service or loyalty to the party of the prime minister of the day, and that such patronage appointees have no right to a position of authority in a modern democracy.

Proposals to make the Senate more representative of regional interests were introduced by the Liberal government in but received little support. An appointed rather than an elected Upper House, with a legal absolute veto on legislation, has come to seem anomalous, whatever its original purpose.

A push for Senate reform was resurrected in the constitutional debates of the late s, and widely debated during the struggles over the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords. Some provinces proposed that Senate appointments be turned over to the provincial governments. Senators could act as provincial representatives, defending regional interests. Critics charged that such a system would run counter to the principles of federalism and representative democracy.

In the long negotiations over the Charlottetown Accord, the proposal for a so-called "Triple-E Senate" — elected, effective and equal — championed particularly by Alberta premier Don Getty , became a primary focus of debate. Following the collapse of the Meech Lake Accord, Alberta held a provincial election to fill a vacant Senate seat. Although not constitutionally bound to do so, Brian Mulroney appointed the nominee, Stan Waters , to the Senate in Since then Alberta and British Columbia have held further non-binding Senate elections, out of which a list of names is given to Ottawa for consideration, whenever Senate seats from those provinces become vacant.

Under the present Constitution , turning the Senate into an elected House would require a constitutional amendment and therefore the consent of seven provincial legislatures, representing at least half the population of the 10 provinces.

What does the Senate of Canada do?

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

The Senate of Canada (French: Sénat du Canada) is the upper house of the Parliament of Canada, along with the House of Commons and the Monarch (represented by the Governor General). The Senate is modelled after the British House of Lords and consists of members appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime system: Appointment by the Governor-General on advice of the Prime Minister.

Privacy FAQs

57 rows · List of political term limits. Jump to navigation Jump to search. This Canada: Monarch: .

About Our Ads

The Court said creating an elected Senate with nine-year term limits required the consent of seven provinces with 50 per cent of the population. And it said abolishing the . His plan calls for passing the term-limits law first, then another bill, now before the House, that would see prime ministers appoint senators based on "consultative" votes, instead of just naming whatever loyal party servant was due for a juicy reward.

Cookie Info

Canada’s Senate consists of politicians, known as senators, who have been appointed by various Canadian prime ministers. They used to serve for life, but in , this was changed to merely make their terms last until their 75th birthday (though the last life-term senator did not retire until ). to the Senate after 14 October to one non-renewable nine-year term. The bill contains proposals that may not require constitutional amendments, in the case of the selection process for senators, or may not require provincial concurrence for constitutional amendments, in the case of Senate term limits.