As the Queen's
provincial representative in Canada's constitutional
monarchy, the Lieutenant
Governor plays an important part in the Legislature. He or she opens
session by reading the Speech from the Throne, closes sessions, and dissolves
the Assembly prior to an election. The Lieutenant Governor officially
appoints and swears in the Premier and cabinet, although it is the outcome of an election that determines who will be Premier and the Premier actually selects
cabinet ministers. Bills passed in the Assembly do not become law until
the Lieutenant Governor gives them Royal
Assent. Finally, the Lieutenant
Governor signs proclamations and other official documents.
Governors are nonpartisan and traditionally don't interfere with the decisions
of the elected Assembly. However, they have significant power. In
1937, Lieutenant Governor John C. Bowen refused Royal Assent to three Bills he
claimed were unconstitutional. The Bills would have placed banks under
provincial control and restricted freedom of the press. The Social Credit
government appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada and the Judicial Committee of
the Privy Council in London, and both agreed with Bowen. Nevertheless,
Bowen's actions generated heated political debate.
here to read the biographies of past Lieutenant Governors, or visit the official
website of the Lieutenant Governor.