Chapter two – rot at the top of government
It is hard to believe that the Prime Minister and three (3) other MPs issued an Order in Council that profoundly increased the powers of the Prime Minister’s Office and changed how Canada is governed on May 25, 1940, yet the evidence is there.
The “Administrator” who approved the Order in Council was certainly not the Governor General as he had passed away the month previous and had not yet been replaced.
This Order in Council is not available in an
internet search. It appears to be carefully guarded from public view. One can only speculate as to why. It should be a public document available for all to see.
Our Constitution reads:
11. There shall be a Council to aid and advise in the Government of Canada, to be styled the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada; and the Persons who are to be Members of that Council shall be from Time to Time chosen and summoned by the Governor General and sworn in as Privy Councillors, and Members thereof may be from Time to Time removed by the Governor General.
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13. The Provisions of this Act referring to the Governor General in Council shall be construed as referring to the Governor General acting by and with the Advice of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.
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15. The Command-in-Chief of the Land and Naval Militia, and of all Naval and Military Forces, of and in Canada, is hereby declared to continue and be vested in the Queen.
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17. There shall be One Parliament for Canada, consisting of the Queen, an Upper House styled the Senate, and the House of Commons. It is apparent from the above that
- the Governor General, representing the Monarch and his or her Privy Council rank above the Prime Minister and Cabinet in constitutional powers;
- The Senate reviews legislation passed by the House of Commons;
- The privy Council and Governor General review legislation passed by the Senate.
(It would not be appropriate for the Governor General to refuse to give assent to legislation passed by the Commons and Senate except in extreme and severe circumstance, but he or she, on advice from the Privy Council, could send controversial legislation, particularly legislation forced through by employing closure to limit debate, back to the Commons for reconsideration)
- The Governor General, not the Prime Minister, decides who will sit on the Privy Council;
- The Privy Council is an advisor to the government of the day, so it must therefore include Privy Council members not in the ranks of the government and may, at the Governor General’s discretion, include sitting members of the opposition.
That is not what is happening in Ottawa today and there is a solid argument that Order in Council transferring the Privy Council office to the Prime Minister’s Office is unconstitutional and thus void.