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A Premier is the chief minister of a provincial government. Because of the shared framework of Cabinet Government, the Office of Provincial Premier is similar to that held by the Prime Minister. The policy direction and management of the provincial governments is visibly dominated by their Premiers. A Premier is in every sense the "first" minister. Premiers are 11th on the Canadian Order of Precedence.


Current Premiers

    The Premier of Ontario
      The Honourable Doug Ford
    The Premier of Quebec
      Monsieur François Legault
    The Premier of Nova Scotia
      The Honourable Stephen McNeil
    The Premier of New Brunswick
      The Honourable Blaine Higgs
    The Premier of Manitoba
      The Honourable Brian Pallister
    The Premier of British Columbia
      The Honourable John Horgan
    The Premier of Prince Edward Island
      The Honourable Wade MacLauchlan
    The Premier of Saskatchewan
      The Honourable Scott Moe
    The Premier of Alberta
      The Honourable Jason Kenney
    The Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
      The Honourable Andrew Furey

Role and Responsibilities

The constitutional powers of the lieutenant governors as the representatives of the Crown for the provinces are ordinarily exercised solely on the advice of the premier. Other provincial cabinet members therefore owe their appointments to the premier and may be removed or shuffled between ministries at the premier's discretion. Party or other sociopolitical interests may determine the choice of cabinet colleagues, but the specific composition of the cabinet is decided by the premier. A premier may hold a government portfolio for a ministry, as well as the title of President of the Executive Council. The growth in public policy and communications advisers within the premier's own office has universally heightened its commanding position. The appointment of deputy ministers as the administrative heads of government departments and those of public corporations is also generally subject to the premier's approval.

A premier shapes the conduct and decisions of cabinet and speaks for the government, regardless of the departmental responsibilities of other ministers. Radical governmental reforms such as those pursued in Alberta and Ontario during the 1990s thus became indelibly identified with premiers Ralph Klein and Mike Harris. Provincial general elections are not called without some cabinet discussion, but a lieutenant-governor will dissolve a Legislative Assembly only on the advice of the premier.

Beyond the authority stemming from being head of government, the premier possesses additional sources of power as the head of the governing political party. Selection as party leader through the trials of a party leadership contest is the first step on the road to premiership. This confirms a personal power base within the party that is unrivalled by any other party member. Since the image of party leader is a prime determinant of voting behaviour, leadership status is further enhanced by the electoral victory that propels a party into government office. Successive victories add to this source of power.

The growth in the importance of federal-provincial relations has also enhanced the personal status of the premiers. Intergovernmental meetings of first ministers on a broad range of policy issues made such premiers as Frank McKenna of New Brunswick and Ray Romanow of Saskatchewan known to more people outside than within their own provinces. Participation in joint "Team Canada" international trade missions and the premiers' own trade initiatives have increased their visibility still further.

The sources of authority and prestige establish only the potential for strong political leadership and centralization of power in the office of premier. Many premiers have been termed autocratic but the realization of this potential will in large part depends on the propensity and ability of each premier to utilize the power of the office. Political circumstances may bring some premiers to pursue more of it than others.

SOURCE: The Canadian Encyclopedia Plus.

See also
Former Premiers of Ontario
Former Premiers of Quebec
Former Premiers of Nova Scotia
Former Premiers of New Brunswick
Former Premiers of Manitoba
Former Premiers of British Columbia
Former Premiers of Prince Edward Island
Former Premiers of Saskatchewan
Former Premiers of Alberta
Former Premiers of Newfoundland and Labrador

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Copyright Craig I.W. Marlatt