What Is It About Dissolution That Everyone Finds So Confusing?

James Bowden's Blog

I’m posing this question seriously, because I genuinely don’t know the answer to it. It truly baffles me.

But what I do know is that Canadian journalists and scholars don’t seem to understand the implications of our various federal and provincial fixed-date election laws, and, interestingly, British journalists don’t seem to understand the radical effects of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act, 2011 either.

In brief, the Canadian fixed-term election laws do not prevent prime ministers and premiers from advising snap elections, precisely because they all deliberately preserve the authority of the Governor General and Lieutenant Governors to dissolve parliament and provincial legislatures. And both the principles of Responsible Government and the practice over the last 9 years necessarily mean and confirm that since the Governors’ authority is preserved, the first ministers’ authority to advise dissolution is also thereby preserved. Hence, snap elections are still possible, and they have happened on 5…

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