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The Prime Minister is appointed by the Governor General to head the
government, and remains in office as long as the government retains
the confidence of the House of Commons. This usually means that the
Prime Minister is the leader of the party with the most elected
members to the House of Commons, and hence, able to retain the support
of most members for government business in the House (especially bills
allocated as "money bills" and to secure confidence motions).
Technically, a Prime Minister does not have to be a Member of
Parliament, but generally is because of the need to keep the
confidence of the House of Commons. The Prime Minister exercises the
prerogative powers of the Crown. It is rare that a Governor General
does not act on the advice and consent of the Prime Minister and/or
cabinet in most matters. The Prime Minister recommends all
appointments to the Federal cabinet (officially the Queen's Privy
Council for Canada) to the Governor General. Furthermore, he or she
advises on all appointments to the Senate, judiciary, civil service,
and all diplomatic positions. Also, the Prime Minister usually advises
the Governor General on when to dissolve Parliament for the calling of
a general election, and the date of an election, as prescribed by law.
Prime Ministers of Canada are aided by the Prime Minister's Office, for which he or she can staff as they see fit. In recent years the PMO has been used by Prime Ministers to bring individuals into their government that they were unable to bring into cabinet because of a lack of Parliamentary membership.
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