The article addresses whether the prime minister is powerful and limitation of his powers. According to Hugh Mellon, his opinion tends to support the proposition unlike Paul Baker which opposes the statement by discussing the power limits of the prime minister. From the points forwarded by Hugh Mellon such as making of influential appointments, centre of media coverage, and represent the country in the world stage among others, the prime minister is powerful in Canada.
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Synopsis of Hugh Mellon
According Barker and Mark (443), Hugh Mellon elaborates that the prime minister is very powerful and is one of the leaders in the national government determines that set the public agenda priorities. He is capable of appointing important positions in addition to representing the Canada country in the world arena. To showcase his influence is the sheer prominence they posses. However, what brings debate is whether his dominance threatens the functions of democracy in Canada and makes the parliamentary government a farce but a prime ministerial government (Barker and Mark, 450).
By examining the constitution, Barker and Mark (431) elaborates that the office of the prime minister sprung up possessing influential and wide ranging political tools. The arrangements in parliament fused power while the political parties made easier control. Therefore, the prime minister can over see both legislative deliberations and executive authority.
Similarly, close examination of the government of the prime mister, he seems to have the ability of passing bills into laws with minimal difficulties. He also has decisions of deciding on who joins cabinet or hold important positions in the public service and judiciary. He is also in the centre of the media of the Canadian politics coverage. To further emphasize his influence is the fact that citizens instantly turn to the prime minister in trouble times such as the 2008 recession (Barker and Mark, 447).
Synopsis of Paul Baker
Paul Baker discusses the power limits of the prime minister. He states that with all influence and attention the prime minister posses he has excess powers which might be dangerous. This is because of the inadequate limitations on their powers by the political systems and this might jeopardize democratic experience of Canada (Barker and Mark, 464).
There exist different avenues when examining the excesses of the prime minister. Most of the checks show elements of wanting and their collective or individual weakness as sources of restraint. The available sources of restraints as provided by Barker and Mark (456) include:
- The leading members of the political party of the prime minister and the cabinet
- The constitutional requirements and the public opinions of periodic elections
- The institutionalized opposition and parliament with other associated features like the question period
- The media
- Canadian federalism
However, Paul Baker which opposes the thesis argues that the prime minister’s powers are exaggerated. Barker and Mark (457) pointed out that 22 individuals only has held the position for a period of 144 years and were held by skilled politicians. He queries on the consequences and possibilities when much power is left for a good number of years to few individuals. There is no accountability and do not represent the popular mandate of beneficiaries of the political elite systems characterized by declining participation of the public and disciplined parties.
Prime minister is very powerful and Hugh tends to be convincing than Baker. The position of representing the country in world affairs makes him an entity. Furthermore, his influence in making appointments in the civil service and judiciary emphasize his power I all sectors of the government. Among the people, he is the common figure because of the media coverage and because citizens turn to him in times of problems.
The power limits of the prime mister are minimal and that makes him very influential. His powers are enshrined in the constitution of Canada which amassed the position with many powers. The stated institution and mechanisms to check his powers are under his supervision and some are his supporters thus making him powerful.
The discussion analyzed the powers of Prime minister in the Canadian government, and the limits of the prime minister. It began by a synopsis of Hugh and Baker’s propositions before doing an analysis. The analysis supports that the prime minister is powerful because he is representative of the country, central and populist figure among the public and leading the country and government. In fact, the prime minister of Canada is more powerful within the system compared to any democratically elected leader in other industrial countries.
Barker, Paul, and Mark Charlton. Crosscurrents: Contemporary Political Issues. Toronto: Nelson Education, 2012. Print.
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