Lieutenant-Governor (Canada)

Lieutenant-Governor (Canada)

In Canada, the Lieutenant-Governor (pronEng|lɛfˈtɛnənt, often without a hyphen [In a Canadian context there are numerous, and not mutually agreeable, notions regarding hyphenation and capitalisation of the position title. "The Canadian Style" (an official federal government style guide), indicates Lieutenant-Governor (upper case with hyphen; p. 46), though lieutenant-governors (lower case and hyphenated) when pluralised (p. 70). Similarly, "governor" is the main noun in this title and it is the term that is pluralised. "The Oxford Guide to Canadian English Usage" equivocates somewhat, indicating upper case only when used in and associated with a specific provincial L-G or name, not generally (e.g., Lieutenant-Governor Lincoln Alexander), and varied use (p. 244). The Constitution of Canada and a visitation of numerous provincial websites typically indicate Lieutenant Governor (of Province) (upper case and no hyphen), likely due to the primacy of those positions in their respective jurisdictions. For consistency in Wikipedia, the Oxford standard can be used when referring to Canadian lieutenant-governors.] ) (French [masculine] : "lieutenant-gouverneur", or [feminine] : "lieutenant-gouverneure" (always with a hyphen)), is the Canadian monarch's representative in a province of Canada, much as the Governor General is the sovereign's representative in the federal jurisdiction. The lieutenant-governor is therefore the province's vice-regal representative, though rarely exercising his or her executive powers personally without ministerial advice. Similar positions in Canada's three territories are termed "Commissioners", and are representatives of the federal government, however, not the monarch directly. Yukon and Nunavut have had commissioners since they were founded, but in the Northwest Territories, the position dates to 1905, when the most populous part of the territory was split away to become the provinces Alberta and Saskatchewan. Before then, the Northwest Territories had a lieutenant-governor.

Lieutenant-governors are styled "His/Her Honour" while in office, and "The Honourable" for life. When addressing a lieutenant-governor, "His/Her Honour the Honourable" is the correct terminology. A territorial commissioner is styled "The Honourable" only while in office. [ [ Styles of address] ]

Constitutional role

Since Confederation in 1867, the Dominion government and the Foreign Office in London believed that the lieutenant-governors were the representatives in the provinces of the Governor General, going so far as to stipulate that the lieutenant-governors were to grant Royal Assent to provincial legislation in the name of the Governor General, and not that of the Queen. However, due to precedent set in Ontario and Quebec, the latter never happened in any province, and assent was alays given in Queen Victoria's name. [ [ Jackson, Michael; "Canadian Monarchist News": Golden Jubilee and Provincial Crown; Spring, 2003] ] Later, a decision by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in 1892 stated that the lieutenant-governors represented the Crown in their own right. [ [ Dr. Philips, Stephen; "Canadian Monarchist News": The Emergence of A Canadian Monarchy: 1867-1953; Summer, 2003] ] Today, though they continue to be appointed by the Governor General, the lieutenant-governors continue to be considered as direct representatives of the sovereign. As such, though they hold considerable constitutional and reserve powers; however, these are almost always exercised wholly upon the advice of the ministers of the Crown in Cabinet, making the lieutenant-governors' role almost entirely symbolic and cultural, acting as a symbol of the legal authority under which the government operates. The lieutenant-governors also receive advice on their roles and functions from the Department of Canadian Heritage Ceremonial and Canadian Symbols Promotion Program. [ [ Department of Canadian Heritage Performance Report; March 31, 1998] ] The lieutenant-governors may, though, in rare constitutional crisis situations, exercise the Royal Prerogative against or without ministerial advice. For example, John C. Bowen, Lieutenant Governor of Alberta in 1937, denied Royal Assent to three bills passed through the Legislative Assembly, one of which being the Alberta Press Bill, which was later ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada. [McWhinney, Edward; "The Governor General and the Prime Ministers"; Ronsdale Press, Vancouver; 2005; pg. 38-39]


The lieutenant-governors are appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the federal Prime Minister, usually in consultation with the relevant premiers. Though the lieutenant-governor "serves at the pleasure of Her Majesty"ndash meaning there is no set termndash five years has become the traditional amount of time an individual will serve as the provincial viceroy.

Canadian lieutenant-governorships have been observed to be used to promote women and minorities into a prominent position. The first female viceroy in Canada was Pauline Mills McGibbon, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1974 to 1980; currently two of Canada's ten lieutenant-governors are women. There have been two black (Lincoln Alexander and Mayann E. Francis) and several Aboriginal lieutenant-governors, and the current Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta is Chinese-Canadian, as was David Lam in British Columbia (Lieutenant-Governor from 1988 to 1995). Former Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec Lise Thibault used a wheelchair, while David Onley, the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, had polio as a child and uses crutches or a scooter. Lois Hole (Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta from 2000 to her death in 2005) was often seen in a wheelchair later in life due to cancer, although she could walk and stand somewhat without it.


Each lieutenant-governor has a personal flag. Most consist of a blue field bearing the relevant provincial coat of arms surrounded by ten gold maple leafs, symbolizing each of the ten provinces. Quebec displays its arms on a white roundel, while Nova Scotia displays them on the Royal Union Flag.

Current lieutenant-governors

:"See also Commissioners of the territories."

Former governorships

Northwest Territories (formerly) – websites: [ Alberta] , [ Collections Canada]

ee also

* List of current Canadian lieutenant-governors and commissioners


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