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Posted on April 20th, 2012, by

The power of the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the USA are unparalleled in their countries since there is no other official in Canada and the USA respectively that has as much power as the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the USA have. In such a situation, the question concerning the power of the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the USA naturally arises since they concentrate the most power in their hands in their countries. Hence, it is quite noteworthy to distinguish has the larger power in their country the Prime Minister of Canada or the President of the USA. At any rate, it is obvious that both have substantial power, but still the authority is not absolute, though the President of the USA has more power compared to the Prime Minister of Canada. In fact, the Prime Minister of Canada is the head of Canadian government, while the President of the USA is the head of the state and he has not other authorities above him. On the other hand, it is important to understand the real power of the President of the USA and the Prime Minister of Canada is limited by the system of checks and balances that makes the definition of the degree of power of the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the USA quite difficult.

On analyzing the power of both the Prime Minister and the President of the USA, it should be said that their power is granted to them by people who elect political leaders of their countries by means of elections. In fact, elections are an important part of democratic procedures which is probably the main constraint that limits the power of the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the USA. At this point, it is important to stress that unlike the President of the USA, the Prime Minister of Canada is not elected directly by people of Canada. Instead, he can take the office on the condition that his political party wins the majority of seats in Canadian House of Commons (Busby, 2003). In such a way, the Prime Minister needs to gain the leadership in his political party to take the office and, as the matter of fact, it is the party which actually elects the Prime Minister, while citizens of Canada votes for a particular political party but not the Prime Minister.

In contrast, the President of the USA is elected by means of direct elections. In such a way, Americans elect their President directly. Even though the President is nominated by the political party but citizens vote directly for the President but not the political party he represents. In other words, the President of the USA relies solely on the choice of American people, while the Prime Minister of Canada relies rather on the political party he heads than on Canadian people directly. For instance, it is the party that decides who deserved to be its leader. Hence, it is actually the political party that decides who can be the Prime Minister of Canada, though the power to define the Prime Minister is granted to political parties by people of Canada on the general elections.

In such a way, a priori the power of the Prime Minister of Canada is highly dependent on his own political party, while the power of the President of the USA mainly relies on American people at large, while the political party he represents rather views him as its political leader than a kind of appointee as Canadian political parties view the Prime Minister. This means that the power of the Prime Minister of Canada is under a stricter control of the political party he represents, while the power of the President of the USA mainly relies on American people. At the same time, it is worth mentioning the fact that the Prime Minister stays in power in case of the victory of his political party on the general elections, while the loss of the political party leads to the resignation of the Prime Minister and the new Cabinet is formed by the new Prime Minister.

In this respect, the power and functions of the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the USA are similar. To put it more precisely, it is the Prime Minister of Canada who forms the Cabinet, i.e. the government of Canada, as well as the President of the USA forms the government of the USA. However, it is necessary to point out a substantial difference between the power of the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the USA. As the matter of fact, the Prime Minister of Canada is not the head of the state, but he/she is just a head of government. Hence, the appointments or, to put it more precisely, nominations he makes needs the consent of the Governor General of Canada and, what is more, the Prime Minister him-/herself is appointed by the Governor General. However, the authority and power of the Governor General is purely formal. In other words, his functions are nominal and he cannot really influence the national politics of Canada. In practice, this means that the Governor General agrees with the choice of Canadian people and House of Commons and appoints the nominee of the political party which has won the general elections.

As for the USA, the President is the head of the state, the position which the British monarch formally occupies in Canada, though British Queen does not have any real influence on Canadian politics. In such a way, the authority and power of the President of the USA is not limited formally or factually by any superior authority, such as the Governor General. Although, the Governor General does not really limit the power of the Prime Minister in Canada, but formally, the Prime Minister has to agree key appointments and decisions with the Governor General, while the President of the USA takes all decisions and makes all appointments absolutely independently. However, de facto the power of the Prime Minister of Canada is not limited by the Governor General, but it is limited de jure.

Furthermore, speaking about the legislative power of the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of the USA, it should be said that both of them are heads of the executive power, but, taking into consideration the specificity of the appointment of the Prime Minister of Canada, he/she has the majority in the House of Commons. This means that the Prime Minister of Canada is supported by the majority of the House of Commons. Therefore, his initiatives are normally supported by the House of Commons and the legislation can be modified or new legislative acts can be introduced to meet the basic goals of policy conducted by the Prime Minister of Canada.

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