G. Executive and Legislative Power at the Provincial Level

Author:Patrick J. Monahan - Byron Shaw

Page 104

Part V of the Constitution Act, 1867, entitled "Provincial Constitutions," sets out the framework for executive and legislative power in the provinces. In each province, there is to be an officer known as the lieutenant governor, who is to be appointed by the Governor General in Council for a five-year term.132The salary of the lieutenant governor is to be fixed and provided by federal law,133thereby giving the lieutenant governor a measure of independence from the provincial legislature and government. The 1867 Act also provides for the establishment or continuation of Executive Councils in each province, appointed by the lieutenant governor from "such Persons as the Lieutenant Governor

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from Time to Time thinks fit."134Of course, the principles of responsible government require the lieutenant governor to choose the members of the Executive Council in accordance with the advice of a first minister who enjoys the confidence of the Legislative Assembly, and to exercise all the Crown’s powers in accordance with the advice of the Executive Council so appointed.

Legislative power in each province is exercised by an elected Legislative Assembly. Bills become law when they receive three readings in the Legislative Assembly, in a process similar to that described in relation to the federal Parliament, and are approved by the lieutenant governor. At one time, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Nova Scotia had appointed Legislative Councils (the provincial equivalent of the federal Senate), which also had to approve bills before their submission to the lieutenant governor for assent. These Legislative Councils were subsequently abolished by provincial legislation, with Quebec being the final province to abolish its Legislative Council in 1968.


Brazier, r., Constitutional Practice: The Foundations of British Government, 3d ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999)

Dawson, r.M., The Government of Canada, 5th ed., N. Ward, ed. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1970) cc. 8-11

Forsey, e.A., The Royal Power of Dissolution of Parliament in the British Commonwealth (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1943)

Heard, a., Canadian Constitutional Conventions: The Marriage of Law and Politics (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1991)

Hogg, p.w., Constitutional Law of Canada, looseleaf (Toronto: Car-swell, 2007), c. 1

---, "Prorogation and the Power of the Governor General" (2009) 27 N.J.C.L. 193


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