Contrary to popular Canadian opinion, the Queen has ultimate power over our elected governments. This is invisible to most people because you never hear about the Queen barking orders to the Prime Minister. That's not how it works. Its more like she sets the long term agenda and the government, regardless of which party is in power, carries it out. The Queen doesn't meddle in day to day affairs or other small stuff. She doesn't necessarily set the agenda or make the decisions. She may be following directives from people above her. We don't know. But technically, legally, the power over the UK and the Commonwealth rests with her. The British Empire never faded, it just went underground.
The Queen's power is clearly defined in the Constitution. But there exists a lot of bafflegab to obscure the Queen's true power. A lot of that has to do with Constitutional Conventions. The Conventions are unwritten rules of procedure the Queen and the government must follow.
The Court has ruled that the whole of the Constitution consists of both the written and unwritten parts. So the Conventions are officially part of the Constitution. But here's the trick. The Courts won't rule in matters that involve the Conventions. They can't because there's nothing written for them to rule on. Therefore, in reality, the Queen is not bound by the Conventions in the least. The Conventions do not have the force of law. But the written part of the Constitution most certainly does have the full force of law.
One of the rules of the Conventions is that the Queen does certain things only with "the advice and consent" of the Prime Minister. As shown, she doesn't have to obey the rule. Besides, the Prime Minister has sworn an oath of allegiance to the Queen. So she can order him to give his "consent".
In fact, every member of federal and provincial parliament must swear the oath of allegiance to the Queen. If they don't, then their votes in parliament don't aren't counted until they swear the oath.
The Queen is the Head of State and the Sovereign. We Canadians, including all politicians, are her subjects, whether we like it or not.
Here's what the written, legally enforceable part of the Constitution says.
9. The Executive Government and Authority of and over Canada is hereby declared to continue and be vested in the Queen.
15. The Command-in-Chief of the Land and Naval Militia, and of all Naval and Military Forces, of and in Canada, is hereby declared to continue and be vested in the Queen.
That's pretty clear cut. Nowhere is it written that any of this is "ceremonial". But it is written that the Queen must give Royal Assent before any bill passes parliament. By 'Convention', the Queen always gives her consent. But she doesn't have to. She never has to refuse because the politicians are all on board with the agenda. Other clauses say the Canadian government cannot exceed the powers of the British government. In other words, we're still a British Colony. The Queen owns all the Crown Land, with the stipulation that she can't sell any of it. It must "remain in the family".
I suppose the Queen also owns or has major interest in the Crown Corporations, though I don't know that for certain.
The Queen of Canada is a separate entity from the Queen of England, but they're both embodied in the same person. I'm not sure what the significance of that is. The Queen cannot be arrested because she owns the Courts. That's why Court is called The Crown. Nobody can be arrested inside Buckingham Palace. So God only knows what goes on in the basement late at night. The Royal Family does proudly engage in blood sport.
In days of old, the King or Queen could openly order someone beheaded. They had absolute power by "Devine Right". But as populations grew it become more difficult to control them by traditional violent means. One King, I forget which one, got the idea to create a council of representatives from the populace so that the people may have a say in how they're ruled. If the people, through their representatives, agreed to what the King wanted, then they had no reason to rebel. So the King would listen to the representatives, then do what he wants regardless of their input.
And that's how the idea of Parliament was born.
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