My government will…

The new Parliament in the UK opened today with Her Majesty’s Most Gracious Speech, also known as the Gracious Address or, less formally, as the Queen’s Speech. This is a parliamentary procedure common to all Commonwealth countries which still have the Queen as head of state, however it carries different names in different jurisdictions. For example, in Canada and its provinces, the speech is called the Speech from the Throne, or Throne Speech, and is usually read by the Governor General at the federal level and by the Lieutenant-Governor in the provinces. In Australia, it is simply called the “Opening Speech”, but is read by the Governor General (or Governor at the state level). In both the UK and Canada […]

Fixing election terms and political stability

While fixed term elections are commonplace in some countries, such as the United States, one of the vagaries of Westminster systems is that it remains the prerogative of the Crown to dissolve parliament. A parliament may not last more than 5 years from the date it was first elected, but there is nothing that prevents an election from occurring any time before that date. And while it is the Crown’s prerogative to dissolve parliament and force a new election, we all know that in reality, the decision belongs to the Prime Minister. A longstanding criticism of this process is that countless PMs have called elections early, sometimes to take advantage of their party’s surge in the polls, or to exploit […]