What is the role of the Governor General?

hutton
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Re: What is the role of the Governor General?

Post by hutton »

The position should be scrapped. In todays day and age there is no need for the Queen to be represented. The GG serves NO purpose and is a waste of tax payers money.
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Re: What is the role of the Governor General?

Post by NAB »

"All Canadians know that Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state and Queen of Canada," ....

...all except one Haiti born Queenie Wannabe apparently ;-)

Nab
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From: http://www.vancouversun.com/Queen+Eliza ... story.html

""News of Canada's "head of state" uproar has reached Buckingham Palace, where a spokesman for Queen Elizabeth responded cautiously to a question on Tuesday about the role Her Majesty plays in this country's political system.

"I know this comes on the back of what might have been said recently in the press, and obviously we're not getting involved in anything that was said," said palace press officer Nick Loughran. He then added, a bit hesitantly: "In terms of her official title, I presume the Queen is head of state in Canada."

Seemingly puzzled about being asked at all, the spokesman made clear that Buckingham Palace is anxious to steer clear of the right royal fracas between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean over who is this country's head of state.

Jean's description of herself as "Canada's head of state" during an Oct. 5 speech in Paris provoked objections from monarchists and constitutional experts last week and prompted an extraordinary reminder from the Prime Minister's Office to Rideau Hall that "Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of Canada and head of state."

Rideau Hall officials have acknowledged the Queen's role as head of state, but have also insisted that "as the representative of the Crown in Canada, the Governor General carries out the duties of head of state, and therefore is de facto head of state."

Yet various unqualified references to Jean as "Canada's head of state" on the Governor General's website, in a tourist brochure at the viceregal estate in Ottawa, and on the main information panel at the Rideau Hall visitor centre — titled "Head of State-Chef d'Etat" — have monarchy advocates continuing to call for official corrections.

Harper's chief spokesman, Dimitri Soudas, has also indicated that the references are likely to confuse Canadians and should be changed.

"All Canadians know that Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state and Queen of Canada," the PMO press secretary said on Friday. "When we communicate to Canadians, it's important that we communicate to them what they already know."

On Tuesday, the Globe and Mail editorialized that Jean "was wrong to describe herself as the head of state of Canada" and insisted that "she cannot amend the Constitution of Canada, let alone depose Queen Elizabeth."

It added: "There is no legal or constitutional twilight zone here that would support the Latin phrase 'de facto.' On the contrary, the Governor General is the lawful agent of the Queen in Canada."

Jean's chief spokeswoman, Marthe Blouin, declined to comment on Tuesday.

The Buckingham Palace official directed further inquiries about the Queen's role in Canada to her website — http://www.royal.gov.uk — which includes several pages detailing the monarch's relationship with this country.

And while nowhere is the Queen's role as "head of state" explicitly mentioned, the documents make clear that the Queen should be viewed as the chief ceremonial figurehead and that the Governor General is "the Queen's representative in Canada" — a phrasing that the Monarchist League of Canada, several political science scholars and the Prime Minister's Office have all argued is the correct way to describe Jean's position.

"The Queen personifies the state and is the personal symbol of allegiance, unity and authority for all Canadians," the royal website states. "Any change to the position of the Queen or her representatives in Canada now requires the unanimous consent of the Senate, the House of Commons and the assemblies of all the provinces."

The website also notes that "the Queen is represented in Canada on a day-to-day basis by a Governor General. He or she is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the ministers of Canada and is completely independent of the British government."

And while she "maintains direct contact with the Governor General," the Queen "delegates executive power to the Governor General in virtually every respect."

Finally, the website explains that the Queen "has a unique relationship with Canada, entirely separate from her role as Queen of the United Kingdom or any of her other realms."'
"He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still." - Lao-Tzu
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damngrumpy
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Re: What is the role of the Governor General?

Post by damngrumpy »

Actually the Governor General does have some powers as head of state. The present governor
general could have dissolved parliament and turned power over to the opposition coalition but she
chose not to, There is president for such action and happened once before several decades ago.
At that time the Governor General came from Britain and right after doing what he did he returned
home, after that Governor Generals were chosen from within this country.
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Re: What is the role of the Governor General?

Post by Veovis »

I also thought that the Gov General had the final veto on any bills being passed by the other levels of government. They never have, but I thought they did have that authority, just that they never use it as it would be bad form and outside interference in this countries governance.

Anyone able to confirm that or do I simply mis recall old social studies classes.
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Re: What is the role of the Governor General?

Post by NAB »

Veovis wrote:I also thought that the Gov General had the final veto on any bills being passed by the other levels of government. They never have, but I thought they did have that authority, just that they never use it as it would be bad form and outside interference in this countries governance.

Anyone able to confirm that or do I simply mis recall old social studies classes.


I think you are wrong Veovis. IMO the GG cannot veto ANYTHING decided by our government. She signs where she is told to sign. Full stop ;-) If she doesn't like it, too bad. We are after all a Constitutional based Democracy, and the people get the final say during democratic elections - not the Queen or her representative.

From the Queen's web site (pointed to above) I get this..

""Canada is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy with The Queen as Sovereign.

As a constitutional monarch, The Queen abides by the decisions of the Canadian Government, but she continues to play important ceremonial and symbolic roles. ""

I find it hard to believe anyone would expect "The Queen's Representative in Canada" to have greater powers than the Queen herself, hence not be required to "abide by the decisions of the Canadian Government", ...which is currently the Conservatives and Prime Minister Harper.

I have never in my life seen the Governor General as having any power or authority over our government and PM - quite the reverse in fact. I found it stunningly humourous when I saw people posting that they believed she could simply turn the Country over to a "coalition" government without an election being held.

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steven lloyd
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Re: What is the role of the Governor General?

Post by steven lloyd »

Nabcom wrote: I found it stunningly humourous when I saw people posting that they believed she could simply turn the Country over to a "coalition" government without an election being held.

Nab


I gotta admit, that was quite funny :127:
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Re: What is the role of the Governor General?

Post by NAB »

damngrumpy wrote:Actually the Governor General does have some powers as head of state. The present governor
general could have dissolved parliament and turned power over to the opposition coalition but she
chose not to, There is president for such action and happened once before several decades ago.
At that time the Governor General came from Britain and right after doing what he did he returned
home, after that Governor Generals were chosen from within this country.


Not quite so damngrumpy. It was far more than "several decades ago" (1926) that the Lord Byng/Mckenzie King affair took place and, as a result of that debacle, things changed to define the role of the Governor General as the representative of the Soveriegn, not of the British Government. Of course many other things have changed related to Canada's relationship with Britain since, not the least of which were the Statute of Westminster (1931), the various British North America Acts (most notably that of 1949), and of course the Canada Act of 1982, followed by the patriation of the constitution in 1984.

IMO there is no valid precedent for a modern Governot General to have any 'power" over the Canadian Government at all, since the rules have all changed significantly since the last time it was exercised. Neither the Queen nor the Governor General have any authority over us (or our government) at all and (IMO) it is long past time when those who think they do caught up with the times.

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Re: What is the role of the Governor General?

Post by NAB »

steven lloyd wrote:
Nabcom wrote: I found it stunningly humourous when I saw people posting that they believed she could simply turn the Country over to a "coalition" government without an election being held.

Nab


I gotta admit, that was quite funny :127:


Ya, you really have to wonder sometimes about the intellectual state of the "graduates" of our educational system, as well as quite a number of our left wing(ish) politicians huh? ;-)

Nab
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steven lloyd
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Re: What is the role of the Governor General?

Post by steven lloyd »

Nabcom wrote: Ya, you really have to wonder sometimes about the intellectual state of the "graduates" of our educational system, as well as quite a number of our left wing(ish) politicians huh? ;-)

Nab


Left wing, right wing - no difference. None of them are qualified to drive a bus let alone run a democratic country. Between our choices for government and the collective intelligence of our electorate we really don't have much cause for any sort of optimism. It always seems to be a choice between the lesser of one or more evils.
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Re: What is the role of the Governor General?

Post by NAB »

Excerpt from: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/avoids ... tory.html#

""Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean has continued her titular retreat during an official visit this week to Europe, where Canada's vice-regal representative is steering clear of the "head-of-state" dispute that pitted Rideau Hall against the Prime Minister's Office and caught the attention of Buckingham Palace.

In her first major international speech since sparking a furor earlier this month in Paris by calling herself "Canada's head of state," Jean stuck to a new script this week in Slovenia that was sprinkled with references to her role as, simply, "Governor General.""

****************************************

...maybe she finally got the message...

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nolanrh
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Re: What is the role of the Governor General?

Post by nolanrh »

Nabcom wrote:
steven lloyd wrote:
Nabcom wrote: I found it stunningly humourous when I saw people posting that they believed she could simply turn the Country over to a "coalition" government without an election being held.

Nab


I gotta admit, that was quite funny :127:


Ya, you really have to wonder sometimes about the intellectual state of the "graduates" of our educational system, as well as quite a number of our left wing(ish) politicians huh? ;-)

Nab


Umm, in the event the government is defeated in a confidence vote, an opposition party or coalition can be asked to form a government. Our constitutional conventions do not require an election.
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Re: What is the role of the Governor General?

Post by NAB »

nolanrh wrote:
Nabcom wrote:
steven lloyd wrote:
Nabcom wrote: I found it stunningly humourous when I saw people posting that they believed she could simply turn the Country over to a "coalition" government without an election being held.

Nab


I gotta admit, that was quite funny :127:


Ya, you really have to wonder sometimes about the intellectual state of the "graduates" of our educational system, as well as quite a number of our left wing(ish) politicians huh? ;-)

Nab


Umm, in the event the government is defeated in a confidence vote, an opposition party or coalition can be asked to form a government. Our constitutional conventions do not require an election.


Yes, the Dion Liberals and Layton's NDP tried that didn't they? How far did they get? The whole thing was a laugh and a ludicrous pipe dream from the git go if they really thought the GG could simply hand government over to them without an election. Even the Queen in the UK wouldn't attempt such a silly action.

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nolanrh
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Re: What is the role of the Governor General?

Post by nolanrh »

So you meant 'would' not 'could', us graduates do note the difference. That being said, let's address the 'would' form of the sentence.

The coalition didn't get far, but that was not because of the governor general, it was due to the liberal party distancing themselves from the idea after parliament returned. Not only do our constitutional conventions allow for the reforming of government without an election but past precedents also indicate it is possible. Secondly, the act of proroguing parliament to avoid a non-confidence vote has no precedent in Canadian and perhaps, common wealth history.

So to suggest that the governor general would not follow a practice that is allowed for in our constitutional conventions (based almost entirely on tradition) and that has been applied in Canadian parliamentary history when the GG had shown she was willing to take a completely unprecedented action in Canadian/common wealth history seems inconsistent.
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Re: What is the role of the Governor General?

Post by NAB »

nolanrh wrote:So you meant 'would' not 'could', us graduates do note the difference. That being said, let's address the 'would' form of the sentence.

The coalition didn't get far, but that was not because of the governor general, it was due to the liberal party distancing themselves from the idea after parliament returned. Not only do our constitutional conventions allow for the reforming of government without an election but past precedents also indicate it is possible. Secondly, the act of proroguing parliament to avoid a non-confidence vote has no precedent in Canadian and perhaps, common wealth history.

So to suggest that the governor general would not follow a practice that is allowed for in our constitutional conventions (based almost entirely on tradition) and that has been applied in Canadian parliamentary history when the GG had shown she was willing to take a completely unprecedented action in Canadian/common wealth history seems inconsistent.


Ahhh, is it "could" or "would". I seriously doubt she "could", let alone "would". But you seem to at least agree that the "could" part is based only on convention (and tradition), while I would not go so far as to relate it to a constitutional right to do so against the wishes of the Prime Minister and his Government.

So my challenge to you nolan.. is to show me where there is any precedent of the GG doing so following the various constitutional amendments since the early 1900's (and particularly since the patriation of the constitution), and the related elimination of the British Government (and particularly the Monarch OR HER REPRESENTATIVE IN CANADA) from having any say in Canadian political affairs or how the country is run.

And just by way of a little lighthearted dig, it is "we graduates", not "us graduates" ;-)

Edit to add: BTW, where you said "The coalition didn't get far, but that was not because of the governor general, it was due to the liberal party distancing themselves from the idea after parliament returned."

...the reason the Liberals distanced themselves from the idea when parliament returned is because Dion got his head handed to him on a platter in the intervening election, and they (the liberals) didn't want to repeat his horrific mistakes. And the reason the coalition didn't get anywhere was entirely because the GG knew better than to go along with the idiocy - not that she "could" have anyway ;-)

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nolanrh
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Re: What is the role of the Governor General?

Post by nolanrh »

Nabcom wrote:Ahhh, is it "could" or "would". I seriously doubt she "could", let alone "would". But you seem to at least agree that the "could" part is based only on convention (and tradition), while I would not go so far as to relate it to a constitutional right to do so against the wishes of the Prime Minister and his Government.

I agree that it's based on convention but your statement of "only" in reference to a convention is troubling. The nature of the Prime Minister's Office, the cabinet and even the non-confidence vote itself are all "merely" conventions. Some of the old British conventions have been codified over the years but many remain as just that, conventions.
Nabcom wrote:So my challenge to you nolan.. is to show me where there is any precedent of the GG doing so following the various constitutional amendments since the early 1900's (and particularly since the patriation of the constitution), and the related elimination of the British Government (and particularly the Monarch OR HER REPRESENTATIVE IN CANADA) from having any say in Canadian political affairs or how the country is run.

In the 1920s a recently elected government looked to be heading for a vote of non-confidence when the GG refused a prime minister's request to head to dissolve parliament and required that a new government be formed that could control the confidence of the house.
Nabcom wrote:And just by way of a little lighthearted dig, it is "we graduates", not "us graduates" ;-)

Then allow me to qualify the statement of "us graduates" with "us graduates who don't think it's laughable to believe that the GG could have called for a coalition to form a government without an election, nor believe its a reflection of our intellectual state" ;)

I'm willing to concede that your position may be the correct one and that due to political pressure/the modern role of the governor general she shouldn't have allowed the reformation of government without an election. However, the point I am trying to make is that it doe snot calls into the question the intellectual state of those that would be willing to debate on the side of the opposing view as many experts on Canadian constitutional law have.

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