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Lieutenant Governors & Commissioners

Lieutenant Governors are Heads of State of their respective province and are appointed by the Governor General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister of Canada and the Federal Cabinet. The appointment is for a period of not less than five years and the salary is paid by the federal government. Commissioners play a very similar role in each of the territories.


Current Lieutenant Governors and Commissioners

    Her Honour The Honourable Lois Mitchell
British Columbia
    Her Honour The Honourable Janet Austin
    Her Honour The Honourable Janice Filmon
New Brunswick
    Her Honour The Honourable Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau
Newfoundland and Labrador
    Her Honour The Honourable Judy Foote
Northwest Territories
    The Honourable Margaret Thom
Nova Scotia
    His Honour The Honourable Arthur J. LeBlanc
    The Honourable Nellie Kusugak
    Her Honour The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell
Prince Edward Island
    Her Honour The Honourable Antoinette Perry
    His Honour The Honourable Michel Doyon
    His Honour The Honourable Tom Molloy
Yukon Territory
    The Honourable Angélique Bernard

Role and Responsibilities

The Queen of Canada, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, is the official Head of State and is represented in the provinces by the Lieutenant Governor. Therefore, the Lieutenant Governor is the nominal Head of State at the provincial level, empowered with the responsibility of representing the Queen in the province. However, the real power of governing resides with the Premier and the Executive Council (elected members appointed as Ministers of the Crown by the Lieutenant Governor on the recommendation of the Premier).

The post of Lieutenant Governor was established by the British North America Act in March, 1867. This Act united the provinces under a central government, with each province retaining its won legislature to preside over matters not under federal jurisdiction.

Since the Statute of Westminster of 1931, Canada has been a fully sovereign state, however, Canada has chosen to remain a member of the Commonwealth, a voluntary association of 54 independent states, representing approximately 25% of the world's population. The Monarch is Head of the Commonwealth.

Under section 9 of the British North America Act, 1867, The Monarch is Canadian Head of State and thus, The Monarch of Canada.

The Lieutenant Governor is the representative of the crown in the Province, and exercises The Monarch's powers and authorities with respect to the province. In the early years of Confederation, Lieutenant Governors were agents of the Federal Government, and were expected to advise the Provincial Government as to the intent of Federal legislation and to ensure that Provincial legislation conformed to that of the senior government. Over the years, however, with the gradual increase in the authority of Provincial Governments, the Lieutenant Governor's role as a Federal agent has virtually disappeared, and is now focused primarily on their responsibilities as the Sovereign's representative and Chief Executive Officer of the Province.

One of the most important responsibilities is to ensure that the Province always has a Premier. If this Office becomes vacant because of death or resignation, it is the Lieutenant Governor's duty to see that the post is filled. The Lieutenant Governor has the same responsibilities if the government resigns following a defeat in the Legislature or in an election.

The Lieutenant Governor is an important element in both the Legislature and Executive Government of the Province. The Lieutenant Governor summons, prorogues, and dissolves the Legislature, and reads the Speech from the Throne at the Opening of each Session.

With the advice of the Premier, he appoints and Swears-In members of the Executive Council (or Cabinet) and is guided by their advice, as long as they retain the confidence of the Legislative Assembly.

The Lieutenant Governor gives Royal Assent in The Monarch's name to all measures and bills passed by the Legislative Assembly, except on the rare occasions when "reservation" is considered necessary. The Lieutenant Governor also signs Orders-in-council, Proclamations, and many other official documents before they have the force of law.

The Offices of the Monarch, Governor General, and Lieutenant Governor are entrenched in the Canadian Constitution, and no changes can be made to the Offices without the unanimous approval of all Provincial Legislative Assemblies, and the Senate and the House of Commons in Ottawa.

SOURCE: Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Official Website.

See also
Sovereign of Canada
Governor General of Canada
Former Lieutenant Governors of Alberta
Former Lieutenant Governors of British Columbia
Former Lieutenant Governors of Manitoba
Former Lieutenant Governors of New Brunswick
Former Lieutenant Governors of Newfoundland and Labrador
Former Commissioners of the Northwest Territories
Former Commissioners of Nunavut
Former Lieutenant Governors of Nova Scotia
Former Lieutenant Governors of Ontario
Former Lieutenant Governors of Prince Edward Island
Former Lieutenant Governors of Quebec
Former Lieutenant Governors of Saskatchewan
Former Commissioners of Yukon Territory

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Copyright Craig I.W. Marlatt