Keyword post: Do ministers continue to hold office during an election?

During an election campaign, the ministry continues to hold office until a new ministry is sworn in. There are, however, limitations on what a minister can do during both the election campaign and the period of government formation following a general election. This is commonly referred to as the “caretaker convention”. The Government of Canada’s Guidelines on the Conduct of Ministers, Secretaries of State, Exempt Staff and Public Servants During an Election provides a good explanation of the caretaker convention. As has been discussed many times on this blog, the government must command the confidence of the legislature at all times. Constitutionally, a government retains full legal authority to govern during an election and has the responsibility to ensure that necessary government […]

Artificial preferences

There continues to be interest among many Canadians in the Alternative Vote (AV). Most recently the Liberal Party of Canada adopted a resolution calling for the implementation of a preferential ballot for national elections. This blog attempted to redo the May 2011 election using AV, and other bloggers have produced similar posts. This blog continues to get queries from individuals about that AV projection post. It is fair enough to say that AV is not the preferred option of most who favour electoral reform for one very important reason: it is not at all proportional and will do little to rectify the main failing of First-Past-the-Post (FPTP), namely, the election of a legislature where the number of seats won by the […]

Alberta 2012 Political Party Platform Comparisons

Please see the new post for the 2015 Election. As was the case during last year’s federal election in Canada, many people are now looking for a site comparing the platforms of the political parties contesting the upcoming Alberta provincial election (23 April 2012). This blog cannot engage in a discussion of the policies of political parties, either at the provincial or federal level. However, as was the case this spring, it can refer you to other sites that can do that. I will update this list as needed. Alberta Political Party Platform comparisons: Vote Compass – Alberta Votes 2012: Vote Compass is an educational tool developed by political scientists. Answer a short series of questions to discover how you […]

Quote of the day

“Anyone who campaigns for proportional representation but rules out a coalition in any circumstances is suffering from a serious logic deficit.” – Lord Holme, Liberal Democrat campaign manager 1997, as quoted in V. Bogdanor’s The Coalition and the Constitution Related Posts:No Related Posts

Collective ministerial responsibility and Coalition Government

There appears to be significant interest in the issue of collective ministerial responsibility during Coalition government. For what follows, I will be largely quoting or paraphrasing Vernon Bogdanor’s The Coalition and the Constitution. Following the formation of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in May 2010, the Coalition issued its Programme for Government which outlined in detail a full range of policy aims for the new government. It also provided for the explicit abandonment of the doctrine of collective responsibility on one issue in particular – the referendum on the Alternative Vote. The two parties would be whipped to get the Bill implementing the referendum through the House of Commons, but would be free to campaign on opposite sides during the referendum […]

Consolidating the Canadian Ministry

The Canadian Ministry (cabinet) is one of the largest, if not the largest executive councils of any modern democracy. The current Ministry is comprised of 39 ministers (including the Prime Minister). Compare this to the UK, where the Cabinet consists of 22 paid ministers and one unpaid minister unpaid minister appointed to Cabinet, and six other invited ministers and peers (including the PM), Australia has a Ministry of 22 (including the PM), New Zealand has a Cabinet of 20 ministers with an additional 4 ministers outside of Cabinet (including the PM), and the US Cabinet consists of 16 members (including the Vice-President but not counting the President). I have previously explained that there is a tradition in Canada of ensuring that […]