- Reaction score
Which goes to show that the current state of Western Democracy isn't nearly as transparent as a lot of people like to believe.
Down here there has been a lot of discussion about the constitutionality of Presidential Executive Orders (hint there is no codified authority for them to make an Order). What codification in Canadian laws are there for the PMO's office to be directing policy?
Although legislation references the office of Prime Minister there is no, to my knowledge, law vesting any authority at all in the Prime Minister. The powers of the office are the powers the office has grabbed (acquired) over the years, and continues to grab. The only real check on the PM is a rebellion by his sitting members. But even that has been whittled down because the PM is now as much a creature of the Party (and its donors) outside Parliament as a creature of the Parliamentary Party. That same outside party also controls the funds that support the other sitting members.
Short form? The PMO can pretty much do what they like - so long as they don't break any laws (like interfering in court cases).
The Prime Minister
The Prime Minister's official residence is 24 Sussex Drive, a home originally named Gorffwysfa, Welsh for “a place of peace.”
As we have already noted, the prime ministership (premiership), like the parties, is not created by law, though it is recognized by the law. The prime minister is normally a member of the House of Commons (there have been two from the Senate, from 1891 to 1892 and from 1894 to 1896). A non-member can hold the office but, by custom, must seek election to a seat very soon. A prime minister may lose his or her seat in an election, but can remain in office as long as the party has sufficient support in the House of Commons to be able to govern, though again, he or she must, by custom, win a seat very promptly. The traditional way of arranging this is to have a member of the party resign, thereby creating a vacancy, which gives the defeated prime minister the opportunity to run in a by-election. (This arrangement is also generally followed when the leader of the Opposition or other party leader does not have a seat.)
The prime minister is appointed by the Governor General. Ordinarily, the appointment is straightforward. If the Opposition wins more than half the seats in an election, or if the government is defeated in the House of Commons and resigns, the Governor General must call on the leader of the Opposition to form a new government.
The prime minister used to be described as “the first among equals” in the cabinet, or as “a moon among minor stars.” This is no longer so. He or she is now incomparably more powerful than any colleague. The prime minister chooses the ministers in the first place, and can also ask any of them to resign; if the minister refuses, the prime minister can advise the Governor General to remove that minister and the advice would invariably be followed. Cabinet decisions do not necessarily go by majority vote. A strong prime minister, having listened to everyone’s opinion, may simply announce that his or her view is the policy of the government, even if most, or all, the other ministers are opposed. Unless the dissenting ministers are prepared to resign, they must bow to the decision.