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betsy

Re: Chain of Government

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What happens if the Prime Minister and all MPs (from all parties), become hostages or die. Who governs then or make decisions?

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Dear betsy,

What a strange, implausible question. (MP attendance records are always good for a chuckle). It would depend somewhat on why they died. Alien invasion? 260 simultaneous freak accidents?

Were it to be a result of violence, the Military would likely take over in the short term, and invoke the Emergency Powers Act.

Otherwise, MPs and Prime Ministers really aren't vital to running the gov't, so each party would pick a new leader, and he or she would appoint interim MPs until an election was called.

Mind you, this is pure speculation on my part, so perhaps you could write your MP.

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Who governs then or make decisions?
I would like to know the answer to this question, too.

This is very serious and we should not dismiss the issue as implausible. Canadians should not feel so comfortable nor secure.

If an airplane can crash into the Pentagon (and nobody saw it coming), it is dangerously foolish to think that our Parliament buildings are immune. For the better part of the day on September 11th, 2001, vehicular access to the front of the parliament buildings in Ottawa was still possible. It was only stopped later in the afternoon. Certainly, our domestic security emergency protocol at that time had gaping holes.

Canadians should be more vigilent and put a lot more effort into domestic security.

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Dear betsy,

What a strange, implausible question. (MP attendance records are always good for a chuckle). It would depend somewhat on why they died. Alien invasion? 260 simultaneous freak accidents?

Were it to be a result of violence, the Military would likely take over in the short term, and invoke the Emergency Powers Act.

Otherwise, MPs and Prime Ministers really aren't vital to running the gov't, so each party would pick a new leader, and he or she would appoint interim MPs until an election was called.

Mind you, this is pure speculation on my part, so perhaps you could write your MP.

Please don't dismiss this question. I just would like to know.

If for example the alleged scenario of the plot was indeed successfully done by the alleged terrorists (and by all luck...or unluck, all MPs just happened to be present on that day of all days)...what happens then?

Do we become under military rule? What is the normal chain of command in such dire scenarios?

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What happens if the Prime Minister and all MPs (from all parties), become hostages or die. Who governs then or make decisions?
I agree with Thelonious. Strange question.

There is a quorum required for the House to sit and make decisions. And keep in mind that Parliament includes the Senate. In all, there are over 400 people.

In Canada, authority resides with the Governor-General as the representative of the Queen. The GG or the Queen could conceivably name someone to form a government in the event that tout political Ottawa disappeared one morning into some sort of (bureaucratic) black hole.

North of Ottawa off the 417 highway, there is a National Historic Site named the Diefenbunker. Buried underground in the bunker, beside the lifetime supply of Kraft Dinner, there may be an instruction manual about who gets to be leader in case the government is indisposed.

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What happens if the Prime Minister and all MPs (from all parties), become hostages or die. Who governs then or make decisions?

I agree with Thelonious. Strange question.

There is a quorum required for the House to sit and make decisions. And keep in mind that Parliament includes the Senate. In all, there are over 400 people.

In Canada, authority resides with the Governor-General as the representative of the Queen. The GG or the Queen could conceivably name someone to form a government in the event that tout political Ottawa disappeared one morning into some sort of (bureaucratic) black hole.

I would imagine the GG would hold discussions with the various premiers (given she is, after all, nothing but a CBC political commentator). And the bureacrats would run things in the meantime.

It would be an interesting question of what would happen if a Canadian PM is held hostage, along with the entire House of Commons, and gives orders to the military or police, say, to release terrorist prisoners or withdraw from Afghanistan. Do they obey these orders? I mean, constitutionally, do they have a choice?

The GG has the authority to dismiss the government at any time. Presumably she could do so, but the PM is still the PM until an election removes him from office. The authority of the House disappears, but he and his cabinet still rule.

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Guest Warwick Green
The GG has the authority to dismiss the government at any time. Presumably she could do so, but the PM is still the PM until an election removes him from office. The authority of the House disappears, but he and his cabinet still rule.

We all know that the governement functions without a HofC. It happens when the House is dissolved for an election. The GG could invite someone - a former PM or premier, as an example, - to govern while she dissolves the House pending an election. There is need for those actually governing during this period to run for Parliament. I believe that the government can be run this way for up to a year. That is, without the House meeting for a year.

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What happens if the Prime Minister and all MPs (from all parties), become hostages or die. Who governs then or make decisions?

I beleive the governer general takes over and would pass official leadership to the UK. If worst came to worst than the US would be there to bail us out.

I'm also sure that citizens from the rural areas would come out bearing arms and fighting back. I can almost garutee this. I can see the pickup trucks now outside the parlement building. Canadians with rifles, bihnoculars, and walky-talkies.. I'd call them the Canadian Minute men..

Oh and i'm sure hundreds or maybe thousands of natives would come out bearing arms and taking front line.

BTW: It's this very question you asked that is one of the constitutional reasons that citizens in the US are allowed to bear arms - so they can overthrow they're own gov't if itt gets over taken or corrupt.

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Aah, the power of fear. It's starting already in Canada.
Starting already? It was starting

before during past federal elections.

Have you forgotten about "scary" Stephen Harper? How about the fear campaign of "guns", "in our streets"? How about the fear of "two-tier US medical care"?

Newbie, what is it about the Left and fear? Why does the Left always have fear somewhere in its arguments?

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Dear August1991,

Newbie, what is it about the Left and fear? Why does the Left always have fear somewhere in its arguments?
The use of 'fear' isn't confined to just the 'left'. Remember Bush's state of the union address? Where he directly implied that if they didn't invade Iraq, America would get nuked?

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Aah, the power of fear. It's starting already in Canada.

Fear? Just for wanting to know?

Actually, the very idea of looking at possible horrific scenarios squarely in the face is far from feeling fear.

Dismissing and refusing to even take a peek at what could possibly happen...(as if pretending nothing will happen makes it so).... is actually a symptom of fear. Burying heads in the sand is a sign of fear, unless one is an ostrich. :D

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Dismissing and refusing to even take a peek at what could possibly happen...(as if pretending nothing will happen makes it so).... is actually a symptom of fear. Burying heads in the sand is a sign of fear, unless one is an ostrich. :D

Did you buy lots of supplies for Y2K?

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Dismissing and refusing to even take a peek at what could possibly happen...(as if pretending nothing will happen makes it so).... is actually a symptom of fear. Burying heads in the sand is a sign of fear, unless one is an ostrich. :D

Did you buy lots of supplies for Y2K?

Well, I've always believed the boy scout motto. Is there any harm done by being prepared?

You don't expect me to be like the way the Liberals had neglected our military that if ever we do get attacked by outside forces, we'd be begging next door to give us a hand, would you? But of course, silly me....it will never happen to a place like Canada, for we do have a special elite unit to handle these kind of things: Appeasers Commando!

So no need to fret about preparations and all that.

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Dear August1991,
Newbie, what is it about the Left and fear? Why does the Left always have fear somewhere in its arguments?
The use of 'fear' isn't confined to just the 'left'. Remember Bush's state of the union address? Where he directly implied that if they didn't invade Iraq, America would get nuked?

They didn't get nuked. But they had 9/11.

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I think the Cheif Justice is in line not too far from the top too actually. Though I may have misread that before, I don't know. Maybe someone more familiar can clarify.

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The Chief Justice is the successor to the GG, should there be no Governor General for some reason.

Most likely, should there be no MPs of the ruling party available, the Queen or the CG would call upon a senator to form a government. To date, we have had several senators as Prime Ministers. If there were no senators available, the Queen would likely call upon a privy counsellor, of which there are many. If somehow none of any of these were available, the Queen would rule directly,and likely call an election as soon as possible to elect those from which she could appoint a Prime Minister.

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The Chief Justice is the successor to the GG, should there be no Governor General for some reason.

Most likely, should there be no MPs of the ruling party available, the Queen or the CG would call upon a senator to form a government. To date, we have had several senators as Prime Ministers. If there were no senators available, the Queen would likely call upon a privy counsellor, of which there are many. If somehow none of any of these were available, the Queen would rule directly, and likely call an election as soon as possible to elect those from which she could appoint a Prime Minister.

Technically, the Queen or GG can call anybody to be one of their ministers, as long as they're a Canadian citizen and of voting age - but under normal circumstances, to keep the government stable, they choose the leader of the party that holds the most seats, and who is therefore supposed to carry the confidence of the House. Anomalies are Sir John Joseph Caldwell Abbott and Sir Mackenzie Bowell, who both governed from the Senate, and John Turner who was briefly Prime Minister without a seat in the HoC or Senate in 1984.

As to the original question: if the House, with all the MPs, in attendance, including government ministers, were taken hostage, rendering them effectively useless, the government would continue in the Queen, through her representative, as it always has.

Section III, 9 of the Constitution Act 1867 vests all executive authority in the Queen, and III, 10 says that the Governor General is to carry on "the Government of Canada on behalf and in the Name of the Queen." III, 11 goes on to say that the Queen's Privy Council will aid the Governor General in the governing of Canada, and those people will be chosen as Privy Councillors by the GG. There is no provision in the Canadian Constitution for there to be a Prime Minister or Cabinet - those positions are created purely through convention.

So, the Governor General would most likely dismiss the ministers held hostage and form a new Cabinet from the existing pool of Privy Councillors, with the option to appoint someone who might make a useful minister at that time to the Privy Council and then ask them to form or be part of a government. This would probably be done under the condition that this provisional cabinet will be dismissed once the crisis is over - akin to what happened in Australia in 1975. In this instance the previous cabinet could be reinstated, or, an election held should there have been a number of casualties, thereby leaving many vacant seats in the House and/or ministries.

The likelihood of such a situation is extremely slim, at best, but our Constitution is set up in such a manner as to ensure that there is never a vacuum of power.

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