Introduction The Westminster model allows the prime minster to become too powerful. The Westminster model consists of the Crown, the Cabinet, the House of Commons and the House of the Lords (Dickerson, Flanagan, and O’Neill 2006). The Westminster model concentrates power in the hands of cabinet ministers and particularly the prime minster. The fundamental attribute of this model of government is the individual and collective responsibilities of ministers to Parliament.
Although the Westminster model has many attributes making the prime minster too powerful many factors such as the crown, the cabinet, the house of commons and the role of the Westminster model itself which is enables the prime minster to become too powerful. In the Westminster model ministers act in the name of the Crown in effect the crown continues to exercise most of its traditional powers but on the advice of minsters that are said to be responsible to Parliament. Parliament most notably the House of Commons consists of the people’s representatives who enact the legislation that established the fundamental principle of the rule of law.
The Commons is structured in a pyramidal fashion. The prime minister who is leader of the majority party was originally thought to be primus inter pares – “first among equals”. However now he or she is much more the first minister of Cabinet, the party leader and the leader of government (Dickerson, Flanagan, and O’Neill 2006). However collection responsibility enables the House of Commons and therefore the people of Canada to hold the Cabinet accountable for its collective decisions (Jauvin 1997).
There making minsters politically responsible to the House for the actions of their public servants and legally responsible before courts of law for actions they authorize. Westminster model allows ministerial responsibility ultimately to favour the prime minster therefore making him or her too powerful. Ministerial responsibility consists of two factors minsters are collectively responsible for all government action. Firstly “The very existence of the cabinet is linked to this principle” (Jauvin 1997).
For example the cabinet only must resign when the government fails to maintain the confidence of the House of the Commons. They were entitled to form a government as long as they could keep the confidence of the house that is as long as they could continue to win votes in the House (Dickerson, Flanagan, and O’Neill 2006). Therefore as long as the government has a majority this possibility will always be remote. Secondly individual minsters are constitutionally responsible for their own actions and those of their subordinates in the public service (Sutherland 1991).
Allowing the ministries to be responsible for their actions this then puts pressure on the prime minster to choose the right minsters but also recognize how powerful they truly are. Another major component allowing the prime minster too become too powerful is that Westminster model which has enabled a relative easy transition from monarchy and other autocratic forms of government to limit democracy. There have been numerous parliamentary systems that have slowly delegated power from a monarch which has absolute power through councils and into popular houses allowing the prime minster to again access more power.
In forming the federal cabinet, the prime minster chooses the other minsters from Member of Parliament in his or her political party who are then officially appointed by the governor general (Dickerson, Flanagan, and O’Neill 2006). This again allows the prime minster to ultimate have his members alongside him. The cabinet as well determiners legislative priorities and sets the legislative agenda, cabinet members initiate almost all legislative proposals using the civil service as a primary source of information and ideas (Dickerson, Flanagan, and O’Neill 2006).
Allowing the cabinet to determine legislative priorities allows the prime minster to make the overall decision of how civil services are being run because it is appointed by them. The senate another major component of the Westminster model, under the Constitution Act 1967, the passage of legislation requires the approval not only of the House of Commons but also of the Senate (Dickerson, Flanagan, and O’Neill 2006). This allows the Senate the exact same legislative power as the House of Commons.
As well as Senators are chosen by personal decision of the prime minster (Dickerson, Flanagan, and O’Neill 2006). This then allows the prime to be running the senators by their decision making and becoming too powerful. Another major component of the Westminster model which makes the prime minster too powerful is the House of Commons. The government of the day is formed mostly from the House. The leader of the majority party or of a party that has a working majority becomes prime minister and chooses minsters from among members of the House and the Senate (Dickerson, Flanagan, and O’Neill 2006).
With the majority party that has a working majority allows whichever party to control who becomes prime minister allowing this to not only be unfair but also the majority party is already aware that they will win. The Westminster model does not tell politicians how to behave it describes how government might be organized. It provides a set of beliefs and a shared inheritance that creates expectations and hands down rules that guide and justify behaviours (Paatapan, Wanna, Weller 2012).
The problem with this is two dimensions the first being constitutional elements. Such as the House of Commons, its rights and privileges, the roles of members of parliament, and this comes down to prime ministers govern in what best suits their needs. In the case of the Westminster model these prime ministers become too powerful because they reign rather than rule. In the House, the prime minster and government have considerable control over every day operations. This allows governments to not only to set the agenda but enabling them to carry this out with ease.
With the Westminster model the prime minster commands the persistent loyalty of their member of parliament allowing the co-operative members to be rewarded with different positions while other can be removed from caucus or even band from running as a candidate for the party in future elections all of these are vestiges of prime ministerial power (Jarvis, Turnbull 2012). This in return has little leverage with which to balance the prime ministers power because party leaders are chosen and replaced by the party at large.
This ultimately leaves the prime minster with too much power because the members of parliament have no effective mechanism through which they can stand their ground against a very powerful leader or effectively represent his or her citizens. The evolution of Westminster democracy in Canada is a very much a story about the shift to parliament and specifically the House of Commons, our primary democratic body and check on unfettered prime ministerial power(Jarvis, Turnbull 2012).
The shift of power to parliament is the ability of prime ministers to preserve and use these powers alongside other powers over members of parliament and House of Commons which results in a situation where prime ministers have the power to make decisions, biased and otherwise that limit or deny parliament’s role as a guardian for accountability in our democratic system. The Westminster model allows the prime minster to become too powerful, this model concentrates power in the hands of cabinet ministers and particularly the prime minster.
In the Westminster model ministers act in the name of the Crown in effect the crown continues to exercise most of its traditional powers but on the advice of minsters that are said to be responsible to Parliament The prime minster becomes too powerful in with the Westminster model which has enabled a relative easy transition from monarchy and other autocratic forms of government to limit democracy.
With the Westminster model the House of commons the majority party that has a working majority allows whichever party to control who becomes prime minister allowing this to not only be unfair but also the majority party is already aware that they will win. The Westminster model does not tell politicians how to behave it describes how government might be organized and allows different functions of government to come together to work in favour of the prime minster and ultimately make them too powerful. Bibliography Dickerson, M. , Flanagan, T. , O’Neill, B. , “An Introduction to Government and Politics. ” Nelson College Indigenous, 2009.
Print. Jauvin, Nicole (1997). “Government, Ministers, Macro-Organization Chart and Networks. ” In Jacques Bourgault, Maurice Demers and Cynthia Williams, eds. Public Administration and Public Management: Experiences in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Sutherland, S. L. (1991). “Responsible Government and Ministerial Responsibility: Every Reform is its Own Problem. ” Canadian Journal of Political Science. Vol. 24: 91-120. Rhodes, A. W. ,Wanna, J. , Weller, P. (2011) “Comparing Westminster” Oxford University Press. Jarvis, D, M. , Turnbull, L. (2012) “Canadian prime ministers have too much power. ” National Post..