Queen's Privy Council for Canada


Queen's Privy Council for Canada

The Queen's Privy Council for Canada (QPC) ( _fr. Conseil privé de la Reine pour le Canada (CPR)), sometimes called Her Majesty's Privy Council for Canada or the Privy Council, [http://www.pco-bcp.gc.ca/default.asp?Language=E&Page=InformationResources&sub=queensprivycouncil&doc=facts_e.htm Privy Council Office: Queen’s Privy Council for Canada - Facts] ] is the council of advisers to the Queen of Canada, whose members are appointed by the Governor General of Canada for life on the advice of the Prime Minister.cite web|url=http://www.pco-bcp.gc.ca/default.asp?Language=E&Page=informationresources&Sub=QueensPrivyCouncil|title=The Queen's Privy Council for Canada|work=Government of Canada and the Privy Council Office]

History

The Queen's Privy Council was established by the British North America Act, 1867 (renamed the Constitution Act, 1867 in 1982), and is modelled on the Privy Council of the United Kingdom. Britain and Canada are the only two Commonwealth realms to have privy councils. They are equivalent, in practice, to the Executive Councils in Canadian provinces and some other Commonwealth jurisdictions.

The Canadian Privy Council has met in the presence of the sovereign twice: in Ottawa in 1957, when Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was summoned, and in Halifax in 1959.

Authority and duties

The formal authority of the Queen's Privy Council is vested in the Canadian monarch, but is only exercised on the advice of the sovereign's Cabinet, which makes up a minority of the QPC's members. The actions of the Ministers of the Crown are supported by the Privy Council Office, which is headed by the Clerk of the Privy Council as chief civil servant, and the President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada as the Cabinet minister in charge. Orders of the Governor in Council must almost always be made on the recommendation of a Privy Councillor, invariably a government minister.

Among the duties of the Privy Council is the proclamation of the new Canadian sovereign following a demise of the Crown, and to give consent to royal marriages. The last formal meeting of the Privy Council was in 1981 to give formal consent to the marriage of the Prince of Wales to Lady Diana Spencer. While all Privy Councillors are invited to such meetings in theory, in practice the composition of the meetings is determined by the Prime Minister of the day. According to a contemporary newspaper account, the March 27, 1981, meeting consisted of 12 individuals meeting at Government House, who were informed of the Prince's engagement, nodded their approval, and then toasted their decision with champagne. The twelve included Chief Justice of Canada Bora Laskin, who presided over the meeting, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, several Cabinet ministers, Stanley Knowles of the New Democratic Party, and Alvin Hamilton of the Progressive Conservative Party.Palango, Paul; "Globe and Mail": Privy Council nod on royal betrothal 'medieval'; May 8, 1981] Following the announcement of the Prince of Wales' engagement to Camilla Parker-Bowles, however, the Department of Justice announced its decision that the Privy Council was not required to meet to give its consent to the marriage as the union would not result in offspring and thus would have no impact on the succession to the throne.In 1981, David Brown, an official in the machinery of government section of the Privy Council Office, told "The Globe and Mail" that, in theory, had the Privy Council rejected the Prince of Wales' engagement there would be a break in the royal link between Canada and the other Commonwealth realms because none of his children would be considered heirs by the Canadian government, thus putting the country in a position to either set up its own monarchy or become a republic.

Membership

As of 2008, the membership of the QPC comprises all living current and former federal cabinet ministers, the Chief Justices of Canada, and all former Governors General. The Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition and leaders or other members of opposition parties are inducted into the Privy Council from time to time, either as an honour or so that sensitive information can be disclosed to them under the Security of Information Act. In addition, it is required by law that members of the Security Intelligence Review Committee be Privy Councillors, resulting in all nominees being sworn in if they are not already members. Other persons recommended by the Prime Minister have been sworn into the Privy Council as an honour. Under Paul Martin, Parliamentary Secretaries were sworn into the Privy Council.

Appointees to the Queen's Privy Council must recite the requisite oath::"I, [name] , do solemnly and sincerely swear (declare) that I shall be a true and faithful servant to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, as a member of Her Majesty's Privy Council for Canada. I will in all things to be treated, debated and resolved in Privy Council, faithfully, honestly and truly declare my mind and my opinion. I shall keep secret all matters committed and revealed to me in this capacity, or that shall be secretly treated of in Council. Generally, in all things I shall do as a faithful and true servant ought to do for Her Majesty." [ [http://www.gg.ca/media/fs-fd/P3_e.asp Governor General of Canada: Oaths of Office] ]

Provincial premiers do not automatically become Privy Councillors, but have been made members on special occasions (e.g., the centennial of Canadian Confederation in 1967 and the patriation of the Constitution of Canada in 1982). On Canada Day, 1992, the 125th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, Governor General Ramon Hnatyshyn appointed eighteen prominent Canadians to the Privy Council, including former Premier of Ontario David Peterson, retired hockey star Maurice Richard, and businessman Conrad Black. The use of Privy Council appointments as purely an honour was not employed again until Prime Minister Stephen Harper advised the Governor General to appoint former MP John Reynolds on February 6, 2006, along with the new Cabinet. He also advised her to appoint current MP Jim Abbott on October 15, 2007.

The quorum for Privy Council meetings is four.

Titles

Privy Councillors are entitled to the style "The Honourable" (or if a serving or former Governor General, Prime Minister or Chief Justice of Canada, and certain other eminent individuals, "The Right Honourable"). The post-nominal initials "PC" (in _fr. CP) are also used.

Until 1967, the style "Right Honourable" was only employed in Canada by those appointed to the Imperial Privy Council in London. Such appointees were usually, Prime Ministers, Supreme Court Chief Justices, certain senior members of the Canadian Cabinet, and other eminent Canadians. Canadian appointments to the Imperial Privy Council ended under Lester Pearson and, instead, the Governor General assumed the right to assign holders of these positions (as well as former Governors General) and other eminent Canadians the title of "Right Honourable". From 1967 until 1992 the only members of the Canadian Privy Council granted the style "Right Honourable" were Prime Ministers, Chief Justices and Governors General. In 1992, several eminent Privy Councillors, most of whom were long-retired from active politics, were granted the style. In 2002, Jean Chrétien recommended that Herb Gray, a Privy Councillor of long standing, be given the style upon his retirement from parliament. cite web|url=http://www.pco-bcp.gc.ca/default.asp?Language=E&Page=archivechretien&Sub=newsreleases&Doc=cabinet.20020115_e.htm|title=PRIME MINISTER ANNOUNCES NEW MINISTRY|work=Government of Canada and the Privy Council Office]

Governors General are entitled to use the style "Right Honourable" for life; however, unless they are already members of the Privy Council by virtue of being a former Cabinet minister or having been inducted for another reason, they do not become members of the Privy Council until their term as Governor General has concluded.

ee also

*List of current members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada
*Historical members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada (1867-1911)
*Historical members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada (1911-1948)
*Historical members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada (1948-1968)
*Historical members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada (1968-2007)

References

External links

* [http://www.pco-bcp.gc.ca/index.asp?lang=eng Privy Council Office]


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