Tag Archives: government formation

Government Formation

On the fourth Monday after the election (Nov 18th) Parliament reconvenes. The members are sworn in and the election of the Speaker of the House is held. After the Speaker is sworn into office they put the question to the House “who does the House nominate to form a government for the 43rd Parliament of Canada”?. Any Member may nominate someone but by custom and precedence only those who know that 5% of the full House of Commons (17 of the 338) will endorse their nominee actually stand up to nominate. For a Party that has 17 members or get that number to back them their most senior member is the one to stand up and nominate their Party Leader for Prime Minister.

In this Parliament the most senior members of the Liberal, Conservative, Bloc, and NDP parties stand up and in order of their seniority in the House nominate their respective Party Leaders. All of whom will get the 17 or more members to endorse their Leader as PM. The 4 Leaders go to Rideau Hall the next day where they are formally asked to form a council-designate for consideration to form the government for the 43rd Parliament. Those councils are put to a government formation vote in the House where the Speaker asks the MPs “which of these council-designates have the confidence of this House to be the government of Canada”?

First vote Liberal 158 / Conservative 121 / Bloc 32 / NDP 27. The NDP is removed from the second ballot and the Bloc withdraws from it as well. Last vote Liberals 158 / Conservative 153. Green and NDP abstain and Bloc backs the Tories. And done.

Thursday the Speaker swears in the Bloc and NDP as shadow councils. Saturday the Governor-General at Rideau Hall swears in the Conservative council-designate as the Council of Opposition. Sunday the GG does the same for the Liberals as the Council of Ministers.

And done and works even if the Commons was all independents.

Canada Votes! 2019

hungHere we go again, another federal election and no one to vote for. Voted first thing on Friday the first day for the advance poll. By the time I got in 5 people came after me and when I left shortly afterwards another half dozen lined up. We may very well have a hung Parliament and this post is to show you a set procedure for dealing with the process of government formation.

The fourth Monday after the election (November 18th) the House of Commons reconvenes. In the morning you have the swearing in of the members and in the afternoon the election of the Speaker of the House. After the Speaker is sworn in the Speaker then asks the Members of Parliament who has the confidence of the House to form a government?

For the last Parliament the most senior Members for the Liberal, Conservative, and NDP parties would stand up and the Speaker would ask each in order of seniority who the Governor-General should call upon to form a Government. Each would give the name of their Party Leader. Actually any MP could stand up and nominate someone but by custom and precedent only those who know they will have 17 members to stand up and second that nomination do so. After the nominating is done the Speaker asks is there 17 members to endorse each nominee (5% of the House or 17 of 338)? Which is a formality and the Speaker advises the Governor-General to call upon the three nominees to form a Government.

The Governor-General on Tuesday morning calls them all in and asks them to submit a membership for a cabinet and to give that list tomorrow. On Wednesday morning the all go back and give the list for a Council of Minsters to serve in the 42nd Parliament. Wednesday afternoon the Speaker asks the Members of Parliament which of these council-designates have their confidence to form the Government of Canada.

There would be only one vote for the Liberals would have a majority with the Conservatives in second and the NDP third. Thursday in the House of Commons the NDP council-designate would be sworn in as a shadow council by the Speaker. On Saturday at Rideau Hall the Conservative council-designate would be sworn in as the Council of Opposition by the Governor-General. Sunday the Liberals sworn in as the Council of Ministers.

And your done! Even works if all members are independents.

Government formation German edition

merkelThey’re still at it 4 months after the election in September of last year. As posted before this should be the process of Government formation. Substitute the appropriate German office or body, Bundestag / House of Commons, President / Speaker, Chancellor / Prime Minster, Federal President / Governor-General.

  • The fourth Monday after the election Parliament reconvenes.
  • In the morning the members are sworn in and the election of the Speaker is done.
  • In the afternoon the Speaker asks the House their recommend for appointment as Prime Minister “Who should the Governor-General call upon to form a government” ? The longest serving member of the largest party stands up and nominates the leader of their party. Then the most senior member of the second largest party does the same, then the third, and so forth. Lastly all the independent members are asked in order of their seniority in the House.
  • All the nominated members are asked if they would accept appointment. If more then 4 say yes then the House votes.
  • The Speaker puts the question “Who does this House have confidence in to serve as Prime Minister” ? It’s an open vote and the one with the least votes is eliminated plus any others who wish to withdraw. If there is still more then 4 nominees a second vote is held and the process done again. The voting stops when there is 4 or less nominees for Prime Minister.
  • On Tuesday the Prime Minister-designates are invited to Government House and asked by the Governor-General to form a government consisting of say 16 to 20 members.
  • On Thursday the House is back in session with the Speaker putting to the House the question “Which of these government-designates has the confidence of this House” ? Assuming 4 councils the council-designate with the least votes is eliminated and a second vote is held. The third placed council-designate is eliminated and the top two go to a third and last ballot. The winner becomes the Council of Ministers and the runner up the Council of Opposition.
  • On Friday in the House the Speaker swears in the third and fourth placed councils as Shadow councils in the House. This is done only if they can get 17 votes on the last ballot their on (5% of 338 members).
  • On Sunday at Rideau Hall the Governor-General first swears in the second placed council as the Council of Opposition and then the winner as the Council of Ministers.

In the event there is a Party with a majority and the second largest Party can’t be out voted by the remaining members then the process becomes a formality since the result of all votes is known. After the last Federal election the House would have nominated Justin Trudeau, Rona Ambrose, and Thomas Mulcair as Prime Minister-Designates. They each would have submitted council-designates to a confidence vote in the House of Commons.

On the first ballot the Liberals would have a majority and the Conservatives in second place with the NDP in third. Friday the swearing in by the Speaker in the House of the NDP shadow council. On Sunday the swearing in by the Governor-General the Conservatives as the Council of Opposition and then the Liberals as the Council of Ministers.

Custom and Precedence

commonsfloor At the start of each Parliament the Speaker after the members of the House of Commons are sworn in asks “who should the Governor-General call upon to form a government”? The four most endorsed candidates are invited to Rideau Hall and asked to form a council-designate, a government-in-waiting. After each leader who accepts forms a proposed government of say 16 to 20 members the Speaker puts the question to the House “which of these councils-designate has the confidence of this House”? The two with the least are dropped from the second ballot. The Commons votes a second time with the winner becoming the Council of Ministers and the loser the Council of Opposition. No vote in the House triggers an election only an absolute 2/3 majority (226 out of 338) passing a motion of dissolution can trigger an election before the set election day. No vote can replace the current government with another. The Council of Ministers is the government for the duration of that Parliament. Any individual minister can be dismissed by a 60% vote of the House. If it’s the Prime Minister then an absolute 60% majority (203).

Quebec Election

The big day is here. It’s Quebec’s general election for 2012. Me and my neighbor got to our polling station about five minutes before it opened. Already about a dozen people were there and more were coming as we went in. So hopefully we will have a good voter turnout for this election. Here is an alternate process for the determination of the formation of a government.

Custom and precedence

After each General election you would have the following sequence of events. The fourth Monday after each election you would have the swearing in of the elected members of the National Assembly. That Tuesday the Assembly would elect it’s Speaker. On Wednesday the Speaker would ask the Assembly on whom the lieutenant governor should ask to form the Government. On Thursday the top four candidates are asked to form a government by the lieutenant governor subject to the approval of the National Assembly. On Friday morning the Speaker puts to the National Assembly the question which of these Councils has the confidence of the Assembly to form the government of the province of Québec? The National Assembly then votes. The Speaker then swears in the third and fourth place councils as alternate Councils in the Assembly. Friday afternoon the National Assembly votes a second time on the two remaining councils. The winner becomes the government and the loser becomes the official opposition. The following Sunday the losing Council is sworn in as the Council of Opposition and the winning Council as the Council of Ministers for the government of Québec.

This process starts 28 days after each election and ends 34 days after the election with the swearing in of the Opposition and Quebec’s Government. For this General election the process would begin on Monday, October 1 with the swearing in on Sunday, October 7. Of course the negotiations leading up to Swearing In week would already settle the make-up of the Council-designates and almost certainly the outcome of the vote of confidence in the National Assembly.