Two-thirds of Canadians want changes to GG and prov. governors powers and positions

News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2012

65% of Canadians want clear rules to regulate key decision-making powers of Governor General and provincial lieutenant governors, enforced by Supreme Court of Canada

67% also want new, elected position to replace Governor General and lieutenant governors

OTTAWA – Today, the new national educational charity Your Canada, Your Constitution (YCYC) released the results of its recent national survey of 2,030 Canadians on key questions concerning the decision-making powers of the Governor General and provincial lieutenant governors. The results show about two-thirds of Canadians want changes to how these powers are regulated, and who makes the decisions.

The YCYC survey, conducted by Harris/Decima from May 10th through May 20th, asked 2,030 Canadians ages 18 or older whether they wanted clear rules that would be enforced by the Supreme Court of Canada to regulate the powers of the Governor General and provincial lieutenant governors: to approve or reject laws passed by our elected politicians; to determine when elections are held; to chose Canada’s Prime Minister and the Premier of each province after an election, and; to determine when Parliament and provincial legislatures are opened and closed.

Canadians were also asked whether they wanted a new, elected position to replace the Governor General and provincial lieutenant governors as the decision-maker in these areas.

A total of 65% of Canadians want clear rules enforced by the Supreme Court of Canada to regulate these key decision-making powers, and 67% want a new, elected person to replace the Governor General and lieutenant governors.

Support for clear rules averages 65% across all of the provinces. Compared to the rest of Canada, fewer in Quebec support (57%) support this change. A total of 80% of youth age 18-24 support clear rules, while those ages 25-44 average 71% support, and 58% of those age 45 or older support this change.

A total of 67% of Canadians would support a new elected position to replace the Governor General and lieutenant governors. Regionally, there is support across all provinces with the highest support in Alberta and Atlantic Canada:

  • Atlantic Canada: 72%
  • Quebec: 67%
  • Ontario: 66%
  • Manitoba/Saskatchewan: 63%
  • Alberta: 73%
  • British Columbia: 68%

A total of 83% of youth age 18-24 support a new, elected position, while those ages 25-54 average 69% support, and 63% ages 55-64 and 54% of people age 65 or older support this change.

Politicians in Britain, Australia and New Zealand have all agreed to new written rules that clearly define the powers of the Prime Minister and monarchy representative in specific situations, including calling elections, opening and closing the legislature, and votes (including on budgets) and appointments.

These changes have not only reduced the discretion of the prime minister and ministers, but also the Governor General/monarchy, thereby democratizing and increasing accountability of their governments. Most other countries also have written rules in these areas.

“Will politicians across Canada respond to the large majority of Canadians who want them to pass a law with clear rules regulating the processes for enacting laws, calling elections, forming government after elections, and opening and closing the legislature, and a new person to enforce these rules along with the Supreme Court of Canada?” asked Duff Conacher, Spokesperson for YCYC. “Following the example of most countries, Britain, Australia and New Zealand have written down their rules in these areas in recent years and made it clear who has the power to do what, and when, and by doing so have made their governments more democratic and accountable. A large majority of Canadians clearly want the federal and provincial governments to make similar changes.”

About the poll: The data was gathered between May 10th through May 20th, 2012 through Harris/Decima’s teleVox, the company’s national omnibus survey. Results are based on a sample of 2,030 Canadians, and the corresponding margin of error is ±2.2%, 19 times out of 20.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Duff Conacher, Spokesperson for Your Canada, Your Constitution
Tel: 647-824-5959
Email: info@ycyc-vcvc.ca
Internet: www.ycyc-vcvc.ca

Survey Questions

Question 1
Under Canada’s current Constitution, the British Monarch together with an appointed Governor General (Lieutenant Governors for the Provinces) have the following decision-making powers:

  1. To approve or reject any law passed by our elected politicians;
  2. To determine when elections are held;
  3. To chose Canada’s Prime Minister and the Premier of each province after an election, and;
  4. To determine when Parliament and Provincial Legislatures are opened and closed.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the British Monarch and Governor General and Lieutenant Governors having these decision-making powers?

  1. Strongly agree
  2. Agree
  3. Disagree
  4. Strongly disagree
  5. [Do not read] Don’t know/refused

Question 2
Do you think that these decision-making powers of the British Monarch and Governor General and Lieutenant Governors should be…

  1. Set out in clear rules that are enforced by the Supreme Court of Canada.
  2. Given to a person in a new position who is elected by Canadians.
  3. Both
  4. Neither
  5. [Do not read] Don’t know/refused