Governor General's Purpose,
Mandate, Benefits, Costs and Constitution

Richmond Hill, Ontario - Saturday, February 28, 2004 - by: Robert Ede


All Canadians will benefit from the parliamentary committee's examination of the Office of Governor General.
  The nescient public may just learn that virtually everything they think they know about the constitutionally-limited Monarchy in Canada is upside-down from what is actually written in the Constitution.
  1. Canada is not a democracy, nor a republic - the source of our sovereignty is vested in the Crown (the office held by the Queen/King) British North America Act 1867 Section 9.

  2. All of Parliament's authority to act, spend, do, etc. flows from the Crown and nothing is enacted/proclaimed without Royal Assent (British North America Act 1867 Section 55,56, 57).
  3. All Canadian Real property is owned by the Crown - we enjoy an interest in some lands, a "bundle of rights" to the use of our "freehold" property, but do not have true "ownership" of it (allodial/alodial title) - (logically,albeit sadly, no reference to property ownership exists in the constitution - except as a qualification for Senator).
  4. Canadians call themselves "citizens" but in fact they are "subjects of the Crown" as much now as in 1867, in 1763, or in feudal times (fear not, this is actually a 2004 blessing - once we understand the 1763-1867 basics).
  5. Constitutionally, the Governor General is more powerful than the Prime Minister and can refuse the Prime Minister's advice (British North America Act 1867 Section 12 compare with Section 13) and act "individually" i.e. alone.
  6. The Governor General's independent advisors his/her "Privy Council" (Section 11) and its support organization The Privy Council Office was taken over by William Lyon Mackenzie King in 1940 (in my view as revenge for Lord Byng's decision to ignore King's request for a dissolution in 1926) by the simply act (under cover of "wartime necessity") of making the Clerk of the Privy Council also the Secretary of the Cabinet. (dig deep into III the Privy Council Office)
  7. In short, we are governed by the Crown, the Crown has delegated Her/His powers in Canada to the Governor General (Letters Patents 1947) and the members of "One Parliament's" Upper and Lower Houses are simply day-to-day stewards of the powers granted by those higher offices.
  8. The Office of Governor General (and the Senate for that matter) has had its powers usurped by the Prime Minister's Office by the 1940 changes in the Privy Council Office noted above through his/her subsequent choices of appointments to these offices who dare not exercise their powers - they're just there for the lovely ride (and pension).
  9. As a result the Canadian people have lost the use of their constitutionally entrenched "double-check" from the Senate and "triple-check" by the Governor General assent - leaving the Lower House of Commons in absolute charge with no person and no office to counterbalance them.
Why do we have a Governor General? What is the mandate?
  Simply to oversee (and countermand when necessary) the lesser members of the administration. Without a supervisor any public servant might be tempted to "cheat" on her/his duties or "abuse" his/her powers.


Robert Ede

  References :
Canadian Law Site, The British North America Act 1867
The Constitution Act, 1867, The British North America Act
British North America Act, 1867 - Enactment no. 1 Department of Justice Canada
The Governor General's web site
Role and Responsibilities of the Governor General
The governor General represents the Crown in Canada
Maton, William F. Canadian Constitutional Documents, November 27, 2003, Solon Law Archive



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