Lieutenant Governor (Canada)

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A meeting of Canadian lieutenant governors in September 1925

In Canada is Deputy Governor ( English lieutenant governor , French lieutenant-governor ) the deputy of the monarch in the provinces . On the advice of the Prime Minister , the Governor General appoints the lieutenant governors who will perform the monarch's constitutional and ceremonial duties for an indefinite period of time (usually five years). The vice-governors are not subordinate to the governor-general, but have the same rank as they all represent the same head of state . In the three Canadian territories practicing Commissioners (Engl. Commissioners ) a similar function, but are subject to the Federal Government and not the monarch.

The offices go back to the colonial governors of New France and British North America in the 16th and 17th centuries. However, they got their current form with the Canadian Confederation and the Constitutional Act of 1867 . Until an arbitration ruling by the Justice Committee of the British Privy Council in 1882, the lieutenant governors were still indirectly considered to be representatives of the federal government, and since then as direct representatives of the monarchs. Under the Constitutional Law of 1982 , any constitutional amendment affecting the status of the Crown (including the office of Vice-Governor) requires the approval of all provincial and federal parliaments .

Pronunciation and spelling

In Canadian English , like in British English , lieutenant is pronounced as [/ lɛfˈtɛnənt /], as opposed to [/ luːˈtɛnənt /] in American English . There are no generally applicable rules regarding the use of hyphens and capitalization. Various articles in the Canadian Constitution and numerous provincial websites commonly use the form Lieutenant Governor of (uppercase and no hyphen), probably because of the importance of the office. In contrast, The Canadian Style , the official publication of the federal government on questions of spelling, specifies Lieutenant-Governor (uppercase with hyphen) as the correct spelling, while in the plural lieutenant-governors (lowercase and hyphen) is preferred. The Guide to Canadian English Usage by Oxford University Press is ambiguous in this regard. While it only uses capitalization in connection with a specific official (e.g. Lieutenant-Governor Lincoln Alexander), it is inconsistent in general use. In French , lowercase letters and hyphens are used, and a distinction is made between a masculine and a feminine form (lieutenant-governor) .


The lieutenant governors are appointed by the Governor General of Canada , on the advice of the Prime Minister of Canada and usually in consultation with the Prime Minister of the relevant province. The Governor General then gives his approval by signing and affixing the Great Seal of Canada to the deed of appointment. Apart from the oath of office, there is no fixed procedure for the swearing-in ceremony. Usually the appointee goes to the parliament building of the provincial capital, where an honor guard receives him. He is then led into the council chamber to the speaker of the provincial parliament, where all the judges of the supreme court of the province, the parliamentarians and other guests are gathered. The lieutenant governor's certificate of appointment is read out and the governor general (or a deputy) takes the three required oaths of office. These are the oath of allegiance to the Canadian monarch, the oath of office of the lieutenant governor and the oath of office as keeper of the great seal of the province. The appointee confirms the three oaths with his signature, with which he officially accepts the title of lieutenant governor. The lieutenant governor's salute sounds and 15 gun salutes are fired outside . The lieutenant governor then receives the insignia of the order of the province.

The incumbents usually hold office for five years, unless the federal parliament decides to remove them from office. The Prime Minister may also advise the Governor General to extend a lieutenant governor's term of office to up to ten years. If the lieutenant governor resigns or dies in office, the governor general may appoint an administrator to perform the constitutional functions until a suitable replacement is found. In some provinces this responsibility falls automatically to the chairman of the relevant Supreme Court.

In contrast to the governor general, the lieutenant governors have always been born in Canada since 1867 or at least long-term residents of the country. They weren't peers either , though some rose to nobility by 1919. Although they are required to be non-partisan under the principle of constitutional monarchy, many lieutenant governors were former politicians and some returned to politics after their terms were up. The office of lieutenant governor also often serves as a means to promote equality between women and minorities by appointing appropriate representatives.


Ray Lawson , Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1946 to 1950, in second class court uniform

Since the Canadian monarch is head of the state and the ten provinces of the same rank and lives mostly outside the borders of Canada, the main task of the lieutenant governor is to carry out constitutional duties on his behalf. In doing so, it respects the principles of parliamentary democracy , guarantees the continuity of government and serves as a non-partisan safeguard against abuse of power. Most of the rulership rights of the crown are exercised by elected and appointed persons, which means that the lieutenant governor usually has ceremonial duties that he exercises in place of the monarch who is not present. If the monarch is in the country, the lieutenant governor reduces his public presence at ceremonies. This does not affect his duties in the service of the provincial government.

Constitutional role

All executive, legislative, and judicial power in and over Canada emanates from the monarch, but lieutenant governors are permitted to exercise most of the power in his name . This emerges from various articles of the Constitution , mainly from the original clauses in Section V of the Constitutional Act of 1867 . Although they are appointed by the governor-general, the vice-governors are considered direct representatives of the monarch. At the provincial level, it is the lieutenant governor who appoints the ministers of a government. Common law also states that he must appoint the prime minister from among the government. In almost all cases, this is the Member of Parliament who enjoys the trust of the majority. In theory, it is the job of the provincial government to assist the lieutenant governor in exercising his sovereign rights. The advice of the government to the lieutenant governor is legally binding. In exceptional circumstances, the lieutenant governor may act without advice. This then represents the last possible intervention of the crown in order to prevent the abuse of power by a government.

According to the constitution, the vice-governor alone has the power to convene the provincial parliament. In addition, instead of the monarch, he carries out the usual parliamentary duties, in particular the speech from the throne and adjournment and dissolution of parliament. On behalf of the monarch of the Lieutenant Governor granted Royal Assent (the laws adopted by Parliament Royal Assent ), whereby they enter into force. He can also withhold approval or forward the law to the Governor General for assessment; a clause that was last used in 1961. If the governor general withholds his approval, the monarch can reject the proposal within two years.

Ceremonial role

Since most of the constitutional functions have been entrusted to the provincial cabinet, the lieutenant governor appears primarily on ceremonial occasions, performing some of the ritual duties normally associated with the head of state. It thus symbolizes the sovereignty of the province within the confederation. In addition, it is considered to be the "focal point of the ideals of the community and a reinforcement of the province's identity."

The lieutenant governor hosts members of the Canadian royal family, members of foreign royalty, and heads of state. He is also responsible for strengthening the unity and pride of the nation. To this end, he travels through the province and meets with residents of all regions and ethnic groups. He accepts people into the order of the province or presents medals and awards, such as in British Columbia as patron of the Lieutenant Governor's Award for Literary Excellence belonging to the BC Book Prizes . The lieutenant governors seldom carry out acts of state outside their own province. Official trips outside the province are for representation. Before the provincial parliament elections, the lieutenant governor restricts his public appearances so that he continues to be perceived as non-partisan. In various provinces he gives awards for cultural achievements in his name.

Symbols and log

As the personal representative of the monarch, the lieutenant governor follows only the head of state in the protocol-based hierarchy of the province and is even above other members of the royal family. Although the governor general is considered to be primus inter pares among the Canadian governors, at the provincial level he is subordinate to the lieutenant governors, while at the federal level he is superior to them. An incumbent lieutenant governor is entitled to bear the title of His Honor ( Her Honor for women ); this also applies to the spouse. During and after their tenure, they will hold the honorary designation of The Honorable . Except in Québec, the lieutenant governors are also the chancellors of the order of the respective province. When taking office, they are automatically raised to Vice-Priority and Knight or Lady of Justice in the Order of Saint John .

The viceroyal salute, consisting of the first six bars of the royal hymn God Save the Queen and the first and last four bars of the national anthem O Canada , is used on official occasions on the arrival and departure of the vice governor.

The lieutenant governor's flag is hoisted to indicate the presence of the lieutenant governor in any building, ship, aircraft or vehicle in Canada . With the exception of Québec and Nova Scotia, the current flags were introduced in 1980 and show the coat of arms of the province on a blue field, surrounded by ten maple leaves (each symbolizing a province) and raised by the Crown of Edward . In the province's jurisdiction, the lieutenant governor's flag takes precedence over all other flags, with the exception of the monarch's personal flag ( Royal Standard ). In the event of the death of the incumbent or a former lieutenant governor, his flag flies at half-mast in army facilities.

Historical development

Amédée Forget , the first lieutenant governor of Saskatchewan Province

There were vice governors before the state was founded. In 1786 the British government created the office of Governor-in-Chief of British North America . It served as the central viceroyalty oversight body for the British colonies of Prince Edward Island , Nova Scotia , New Brunswick and the Province of Québec . Their governors became lieutenant governors, with that of Québec also being governor-in-chief . This structure remained in effect until 1791. At that time, the province of Québec was divided into Lower Canada and Upper Canada . The new colonies had the office of lieutenant governor, with both offices being exercised by the governor general.

When the state was founded in 1867, four provinces were created, each with its own lieutenant governor. Under the British North America Act passed that year , the vice-governorships of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were essentially retained. In contrast, the vice governorships of Québec and Ontario replaced those of Lower and Upper Canada. When other colonies joined this group of provinces, their governors became lieutenant governors, while the creation of new provinces in the territory of Rupert's Land and the Northwest Territories resulted in the establishment of new vicarages.

Immediately after the founding of the state, the federal government and the Colonial Office in London viewed the vice-governors as representatives and subordinates of the governor-general in Ottawa . This was in line with the view of Prime Minister John Macdonald and the Earl of Derby , who had drafted the 1867 constitution. The lieutenant governors should be appointed by the governor general. Royal approval of bills should be given by the governor general, not the monarch. A decision by the Justice Committee of the British Privy Council , then the highest judicial authority in the Empire , changed this view 15 years later. From now on, the vice-governor was the representative of the monarch in the provinces, on an equal footing with the governor-general at the federal level.

Acting lieutenant governors and commissioners

Status: February 2020

Vice-Governors of the Provinces
province Surname list appointment
Alberta Lois Mitchell list 2015
British Columbia Janet Austin list 2018
Manitoba Janice Filmon list 2015
New Brunswick Brenda Murphy list 2019
Newfoundland and Labrador Judy Foote list 2018
Nova Scotia Arthur LeBlanc list 2017
Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell list 2014
Prince Edward Island Antoinette Perry list 2017
Quebec J. Michel Doyon list 2015
Saskatchewan Russell Mirasty list 2019
Commissioners of the Territories
Northwest Territories Margaret Thom list 2017
Nunavut Nellie Kusugak list 2015
Yukon Angélique Bernard list 2018

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h Constitutional Law of 1867. 2001, accessed on November 26, 2010 (English).
  2. Public Works and Government Services Canada (Ed.): The Canadian Style . Dundern Press, Hamilton (Ontario) 1997, ISBN 978-1-55002-276-6 , pp. 46 .
  3. ^ The Canadian Style . P. 70
  4. ^ Margery Fee, Janice McAlpine: Guide to Canadian English Usage . Oxford University Press, Oxford 2007, ISBN 978-0-19-542602-1 , pp. 244 .
  5. Kenneth Munro: The Maple Crown in Alberta: The Office of Lieutenant Governor . Trafford Publishing, Victoria 2005, ISBN 1-4120-5317-X , pp. iii .
  6. ^ Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario: Administrator. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on June 12, 2011 ; accessed on November 26, 2010 (English). Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  7. a b Kevin S. MacLeod: A Crown of Maples . Queen's Printer for Canada, Ottawa 2008, ISBN 978-0-662-46012-1 , pp. 16, 20 .
  8. ^ A b The Honors, Flags and Heritage Structure of the Canadian Forces. (PDF, 2.85 MB) Department of National Defense, 1999, accessed on December 1, 2010 (English).
  9. Kevin S. MacLeod: A Crown of Maples. P. 17
  10. ^ Edward McWhinney: The Governor General and the Prime Ministers . Ronsdale Press, Vancouver 2005, ISBN 1-55380-031-1 , pp. 16-17 .
  11. ^ R. MacGregor Dawson, WF Dawson: Democratic Government in Canada . University of Toronto Press, Toronto 1989, ISBN 0-8020-6703-4 , pp. 68-69 .
  12. ^ John Diefenbaker : One Canada, Memoirs of the Right Honorable John G. Diefenbaker: The Years of Achievement 1956 to 1962 . Macmillan of Canada, Toronto 1976, ISBN 0-7705-1443-X , pp. 56 .
  13. ^ Department of Canadian Heritage (ed.): Symbols of Canada . Queen's Printer for Canada, Ottawa 2008, p. 4 .
  14. ^ Peter Boyce: The Queen's Other Realms: The Crown and its Legacy in Australia, Canada and New Zealand . Federation Press, Sydney 2008, ISBN 978-1-86287-700-9 , pp. 100 .
  15. ^ A b Department of Canadian Heritage: Ceremonial and Canadian Symbols Promotion> Standards. Queen's Printer for Canada, accessed December 1, 2010 .
  16. Kevin S. MacLeod: A Crown of Maples. P. 37
  17. ^ The Order of St. John in Canada. St. John's Ambulance Canada, accessed December 1, 2010 .
  18. ^ Department of Canadian Heritage: Musical salute. Queen's Printer for Canada, accessed December 1, 2010 .
  19. ^ John T. Saywell: The Office of Lieutenant Governor: A Study in Canadian Government and Politics . University of Toronto Press, Toronto 1957, pp. 13-14 .