October 16 Lecture.docx - October 16 Lecture \u2013 The Executive The Political Executive \u2013 The PM cabinet and central agencies How are the power

October 16 Lecture.docx - October 16 Lecture u2013 The...

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October 16 Lecture – The Executive The Political Executive – The PM, cabinet and central agencies How are the power relationships structured? o “The unchallenged centre of power in the government of Canada is the cabinet” o “The PM and the cabinet are positioned at the pinnacle of power within our system of parliamentary government. Both constitutionally and politically” o “Cabinet is a mini-caucus, not a decision-making body” o “Cabinet is a focus group for the PM” Key questions: Has the center of gravity shifted? o If so, where? To whom? o More specifically, is it more accurate today to speak of “Cabinet government” or “Prime Ministerial government”? o Some even call the executive a “quasi presidential system” o Cabinet is supposed to be collective decision body o Many people believe the PM has too much power Cabinet 1) Assigned direct management and control over an administrative unit -although on occasion it could be a unit/section within a larger unit 2) Who occupy a significant executive position eg. House Leader in HoC or president of the Privy Council Those members of Parliament
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Traditionally, cabinet has been very unrepresentative First female cabinet minister has not been appointed until 1957 Cabinet is not in the constitution; the PM is only mentioned once in the constitution act 1982 The cabinet is part of the conventions of the Canadian Constitution o Section 11 states that there shall be a Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, but that’s just an honorific, it includes other members (premiers, senators, etc.), it is not the cabinet Principles flowing from the convention of Responsible Government o Collective responsibility Theory: Each minister is responsible to PM for his/her behaviour, and the general work of your own department Reality: o Cabinet is collectively responsible for the policy of the government o Cabinet is a check on one another Minister of defense cannot disagree with an agricultural bill from the minister of agriculture – Everyone must support it Ministers must publicly defend their government’s policies even if they disagree with it privately or had no role in determining that policy Collective responsibility was a way to check on the monarch so that the monarch could not target individual members current reality: The government can present a
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