THE POST OF LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
History of the Vice-Regal Post
The post of Lieutenant Governor was established by the British North America Act in March of 1867. This Act united the provinces under a central government, with each province retaining its own legislature to preside over matters not under federal jurisdiction.
The Lieutenant Governor is the representative of the crown in the Province, and exercises The Monarch's powers and authorities. In the early years of Confederation, Lieutenant Governors were agents of the Federal Government, and were expected to advise the Provincial Government as to the intent of Federal legislation and to ensure that Provincial legislation conformed to that of the senior government. Over the years, however, with the gradual increase in the authority of Provincial Governments, the Lieutenant Governor's role as a Federal agent has virtually disappeared, and is now focused primarily on their responsibilities as the Sovereign's representative and Chief Executive Officer of the Province.
We must remember that in no way is the Lieutenant Governor of the province subordinate to the Governor General of Canada in any matter falling within provincial jurisdiction. The Lieutenant Governor, although not elected to speak for the majority in our democratic Parliamentary system, cannot wield political power in practice, yet it must be realized that the Lieutenant Governor is the source of the power of the government of the day. Although the government in office can decide how the power of the state is to be used, that power never really passes to the government — it always remains with the Crown. Thus the power of the state is held in a non-partisan office, above the conflicts and divisions of the political process, and as a consequence it is a unifying force because it represents equally all of the elements which make up the state.
The Office Entrenched in Law
The Offices of the Monarch, Governor General, and Lieutenant Governor are entrenched in the Canadian Constitution, and no changes can be made to the Offices without the unanimous approval of all Provincial Legislative Assemblies, and the Senate and the House of Commons in Ottawa.
The Crown symbolizes the unity of the people and helps maintain our distinctiveness as Canadians. The U.S. has a republican form of government, quite unlike our parliamentary system.
Appointment to the Vice-Regal post
In each of the ten provinces the Governor General appoints a Lieutenant Governor to carry out constitutional responsibilities at the provincial level. The Lieutenant-Governor is appointed by the Governor General, on the advice of the Prime Minister of Canada, for a period of not less than five years and carries the title of "The Honourable" for life. In conversation and correspondence the Lieutenant-Governor is addressed as "Your Honour", as is his or her spouse. Premature terminations can only be for cause. Extensions are possible following discussion between the Prime Minister and the Lieutenant-Governor. In general, the term of this appointment is for a period of not less than five years. Those appointed are generally persons who have served their country and/or province with distinction for many years. Because it is not a term appointment, a Lieutenant Governor continues in office until a successor is appointed and installed.
The Vice-Regal Uniform
The Vice-Regal uniform, known as the Windsor uniform, has historically been the symbol of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor in provinces across Canada. King George III originally designed the Windsor uniform in 1777 for male members of his family and household. Following Canada's Confederation in 1867, Governors General and Lieutenant Governors wore the Windsor uniform on formal occasions to denote their status and responsibilities as the Monarch’s representative. Traditionally, it has been worn on major occasions including Swearing-In Ceremonies, the Opening of the Legislature, Remembrance Day, and the Levée.
The Windsor uniform consists of jacket, pants, sword and scabbard. The wool jacket features gold-gilt buttons bearing the provincial coat of arms, elaborate gold-threaded embroidered oak leaves around the collar, sleeves, across the chest and down the back to the end of the tails. The wool button-fly pants have a gold-threaded decorative strip down each leg. The hat is made of beaver fur with a row of ostrich plumes along the top seam. A gold braid wraps around the sword, which has a gold-gilt handle with crown design.
The Standard of the Lieutenant Governor
A standard was approved by the Governor General in 1980 for all Lieutenant Governors. This standard has precedence over any other flag including the national flag of Canada. It consists of the shield of the province circled with ten gold maple leaves surmounted by a Royal Crown on a field of blue. Quebec and Nova Scotia have not adopted the new design. The personal standard is flown at the office or home of the Lieutenant Governor and from flagpoles of buildings where official duties are carried out to indicate presence of the Lieutenant Governor. The standard is never flown on a church or inside a church. It is never lowered to half-mast but on the death of the Lieutenant Governor the standard is taken down until a successor is sworn in.
The Lieutenant Governor’s primary responsibility is to ensure that a duly constituted government is always in place.
The Crown is above party politics, and it gives citizens a non-partisan focus for their loyalty to the province. As The Queen’s representative, the Lieutenant Governor acts on behalf of the province as a whole in the Vice-Regal role, rather than those who voted for the party in power at any given point in time.
As the guardian of responsible government in the province, the Lieutenant Governor facilitates the smooth functioning of the Constitution and ensures that the democratic will of the people and their elected representatives is respected.
As the custodian of legitimacy and a symbol of the continuity of the State, the Lieutenant Governor must maintain an impartial attitude and adopt a strict "duty of reserve" so as to avoid raising controversy. The Lieutenant Governor is consequently required to show tact and judgment in everything said and done. Another duty is to keep abreast of the concerns of the citizens of the province as well as those of the government.
After an election, the Lieutenant Governor determines which political party enjoys the confidence of the Legislative Assembly, appoints its leader as Premier and officiates at the swearing-in of Ministers invited to form the government. The Lieutenant Governor also accepts the resignation of an outgoing Premier, and ensures that the unwritten constitutional conventions of responsible government are respected where a government loses the support of the Assembly or is defeated in an election.
The Lieutenant Governor plays an important role as Head of State. Duties include summoning the Assembly to meet; reading the Speech from the Throne outlining the government’s legislative agenda; giving assent to bills passed by the Assembly so they can become law; dissolving the Assembly; issuing writs for an election; formally appointing Premiers and Cabinet Ministers; signing decisions of Cabinet (Orders in Council) for them to take effect and bestowing honours. The Lieutenant Governor appointments persons to government posts including deputy ministers, provincial judges, members of boards, agencies and commissions, crown attorneys, and justices of the peace. The Lieutenant-Governor also signs a number of other official government documents, including land patents, leases, and appointments of notaries public and commissioners for taking affidavits.
The Speech from the Throne
The Speech from the Throne outlines the government’s plans for the next session of the Legislature for the members of the Assembly and for the people of the province. It also comments on the state of the economy and on significant events. Although it is delivered by the Royal Representative, it is entirely the work of the Premier and Ministers of the Crown. The Speech from the Throne reflects the Government's legislative plans for the upcoming session,
One of the most important responsibilities is to ensure that the Province always has a Premier. If this Office becomes vacant because of death or resignation, it is the Lieutenant Governor's duty to see that the post is filled. The Lieutenant Governor has the same responsibilities if the government resigns following a defeat in the Legislature or in an election. With the advice of the Premier, she appoints and Swears-In members of the Executive Council (or Cabinet) and is guided by their advice, as long as they retain the confidence of the Legislative Assembly.
Ultimately, the Lieutenant Governor can dismiss a government for unlawful or unconstitutional actions and can refuse a decision of the Cabinet if it is in the public interest to do so, thereby safeguarding the constitution. The royal representative rarely uses this power to upset the affairs of an elected government, and the Crown’s presence is more ceremonial in nature. The Royal Prerogative is, however, still the best potential defense against a tyrannical premier and an autocratic Cabinet.
The Lieutenant Governor gives Royal Assent in The Monarch's name to all measures and bills passed by the Legislative Assembly, except on the rare occasions when "reservation" is considered necessary. The Lieutenant Governor also signs Orders-in-council, Proclamations, and many other official documents before they have the force of law.
All government actions are taken in the name of the Crown, and the Lieutenant Governor formally holds the executive powers on behalf of the Crown. The Lieutenant Governor invariably acts on the advice of Ministers but retains the right to be consulted, to encourage and to warn. The Ministers are responsible to the Assembly and, through it, to the people. That’s why we call it responsible government.
Representative of the Crown
Canada is a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarchy. Our system of government is based on the British parliamentary model, but has been adapted to suit our own needs. Canada’s Constitution recognizes The Queen as our Head of State. The Lieutenant Governor represents The Queen in the Province.
In our parliamentary system derived from the British model, the executive powers of the government are exercised through two offices; the first being political and held by the Premier; the other being administrative and ceremonial. This second office is held by the Lieutenant Governor.
The Queen of Canada, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, is the official Head of State and is represented in the province by the Lieutenant Governor. Therefore, the Lieutenant Governor is the nominal Head of State at the provincial level, empowered with the responsibility of representing the Queen in the province. However, the real power of governing resides with the Premier and the Executive Council (elected members appointed as Ministers of the Crown by the Lieutenant Governor on the recommendation of the Premier).
The Lieutenant Governor is the representative of Her Majesty The Queen of Canada in the Province, and as such, takes precedence over everyone in the province except the Sovereign. The Lieutenant Governor is the highest ranking chief administrative official and is the authorized representative of authority in the province. The Lieutenant Governor is therefore, in terms of protocol, the highest ranking dignitary. By virtue of a Royal Commission, the Lieutenant Governor has all of the constitutional powers of a head of state and gives force of law to the policies determined by the government.
Although the Office of Lieutenant Governor is one of prestige, its holder nonetheless exercises powers essential to both the theoretical and practical functioning of the constitutional monarchy and parliamentary government that constitute the foundation of our democratic system.
The Lieutenant Governor holds the highest office in the province, representing The Queen as Head of State in the province. It is a clearly different role from that of the Premier, who is the Head of Government and the leader of the party with the most support in the Legislative Assembly.
Because of the Lieutenant Governor's constitutional position as head of the Executive Government of the Province, the Lieutenant Governor is not involved in political activity. This apolitical position permits the Lieutenant Governor to represent the province on Ceremonial and state occasions.
The Lieutenant Governor is paid a salary and allowances by the Federal Government. The Provincial Government provides administrative, household and operational funding for the position.
The Canadian Crown is a distinctive and essential part of Canada's heritage and character, and this a focus of national pride. It is an important symbol of unity, serving to bind Canadians together in their common ideals and aspirations. It is viable proof of the vitality of our traditions, the permanence of our institutions, and the continuity of national life.
As representative of the Crown in the province, the Lieutenant Governor is both personification and custodian of these traditions and ideals.
Each Lieutenant Governor appoints her or his own Aides-de-Camp, and some serve many consecutive vice-regal representatives. The staff of the Lieutenant Governor support Their Honours in undertaking their various responsibilities and activities. Their Honours are also supported by Honorary Aides-de-Camp appointed by the Lieutenant Governor who assist them at events and accompany them to functions they attend. The Aides serve in a voluntary capacity, without remuneration. An Aide-de-Camp is traditionally a military or police officer acting as an assistant to a superior officer.
Aides-de-Camp attend the Lieutenant Governor at events and liaise with organizers on questions of protocol and ceremony to ensure that events proceed according to plan. Aides-de-Camp are entitled to place the post-nominal "AdeC" after their name and to wear a badge of the Office they are serving.
Aides-de-Camp may also wear the aiguillette, a braided cord worn on the right shoulder of those serving The Queen, her representatives, members of the Royal Family, and other Heads of State. Aides-de-Camp to senior military or police officers, and to military attachés in Canadian Missions abroad and Foreign Embassies and High Commissions in Canada, wear the aiguillette on the left shoulder.
The use of the aiguillette dates from the wearing of armour and chain mail by knights. The name comes from the French word for needle or point. The aiguillette was probably first used to lace parts of the uniform together and evolved to become part of the uniform for higher ranks, and ultimately for Aides-de-Camp.
Serving the People
The Lieutenant Governor is host to Members of the Royal Family, visiting Heads of State, and other official visitors to the Province.
The Lieutenant Governor also extends hospitality to many persons from the province, and from other parts of Canada and abroad, at dinners, luncheons, receptions, and the annual New Year Leveé.
The Lieutenant Governor attends many dinners, cultural events, military and civilian ceremonies, opens buildings and conferences, address gatherings of various kinds, visits schools, community events, and military establishments. Travel is an essential activity of the Lieutenant Governor, and it is by means of visits throughout the province, that provides the opportunity to gain extensive knowledge of the Province, and of its people. Each year, the Lieutenant Governor presents a number of awards for bravery, for outstanding public service, and for achievement.
The Lieutenant Governor speaks to audiences of all ages and interests about the strengths and values we share as citizens wherever we live – in rural areas, the vast northern region or the provincial capital.
On occasion, the Lieutenant Governor may be invited to lend patronage to organizations, particularly those of a charitable nature which contribute to the enrichment of the lives of all citizens of all ages of the province. Usually patronage will not be given unless the organization has been in existence for at least five years, serves a broad section of the population, is provincial in scope, and is in secure financial condition. Patronage is not granted as a matter of routine.
During the course of the year, the Lieutenant-Governor attends hundreds of public events in support of community initiatives across the province.
Protocol with the Lieutenant Governor
The Lieutenant Governor is entitled to a 15-gun Royal Salute. The 15-gun salute may be fired when a Lieutenant Governor takes the oaths of office, opens or prorogues a session of the Legislature, visits a military base, takes part in ceremonial occasions, or departs from the province upon leaving office. The Queen, the Governor General, foreign Heads of State and members of the Royal Family receive 21-gun salutes; the Prime Minister of Canada and foreign High Commissioners and Ambassadors to Canada receive 19 guns; and the Minister of National Defence receives 17 guns.
In the Company of the Lieutenant Governor
The Lieutenant Governor is accorded the honour and respect due to the Queen's representative. Persons should always rise when the Lieutenant Governor enters a room or arrives at a function. At a dinner, ceremony or meeting, the Lieutenant Governor and those accompanying (known as the "Vice-Regal Party"), should always be the last to enter and the first to leave. The spouse of the Lieutenant Governor also has official status; it is therefore, customary to treat the spouse with similar courtesy, and for that person to enter and depart with the Lieutenant Governor at official functions.
Forms of Address
From the time of Confederation, Lieutenant Governors have been granted the courtesy title "His Honour" or "Her Honour" while in office. The courtesy title was extended to the spouses of vice-regal representatives in 1985.
Additionally, since 1927, the title "The Honourable" has been given for life to Lieutenant Governors. Some earlier Lieutenant Governors had the title, but it was because of their membership in the Privy Council or as a former Senator.
The full title of the Lieutenant Governor is His/Her Honour, The Honourable John/Jane Smith, Lieutenant Governor of (Saskatchewan) or His/Her Honour, The Lieutenant Governor of (Saskatchewan), The Honourable John/Jane Smith. The Lieutenant Governor is addressed personally in the second person as "Your Honour". Ma'am or Sir may be used but is not recommended. In the third person, the Lieutenant Governor is referred to as " His/Her Honour" or " The Lieutenant Governor".
FORMAL (Tuxedo/Black tie):
Gentlemen - Tuxedo, white pique shirt, turned down collar, studs optional, black bow tie, cummerbund or black vest. Black socks and shoes. Decorations worn if requested.
Ladies - Long evening dress or gown, sometimes cocktail dress (calf length) is acceptable, depending on the function. Decorations worn if requested.
Gentlemen - Tuxedo (black tie) or dark suit with dark tie.
Ladies - Short evening dress.
Gentlemen - Tuxedo (black tie) or dark suit with dark tie.
Ladies - Suit or dress.
With casual dress, dress for the occasion, e.g. barbeque, cotton slacks for gentlemen, denim skirt or summer dress for ladies.
Gentlemen - Shirt and slacks without a tie, or a dressy sweater.
Ladies - Day dress, skirt and blouse, pant suit.
The History of Toasts
The Loyal Toast has its origin the drinking of health. Health comes from the old English "Haelth", the condition of being Hail, safe and sound. "Hali" is of Scandinavian origin and means an exclamation of greeting, a good health to you, hence to greet or call out to. The custom of drinking to health is thought to be derived from the ancient religious rite of drinking to the gods and the dead. The Greeks and Romans drank to their gods at ceremonial banquets. The Romans often drank as many cups to their mistresses as there were letters in their names. This pagan custom survived Christianity but Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the saints soon replaced the heathen gods.
The English term "toast" can be traced to the 17th century, and had reference at first to the custom of drinking to the ladies. In Stuart times, it was the practice to put a piece of toast in the wine cup from belief that it improved the flavour of the wine. By then, health drinking was serious business, and at Christmas 1643, the members of the Middle Temple, drank to the health of the Princess Elizabeth by standing up one after another, and pledging her and swearing to die in her service.
Today, at ceremonial dinners, we still drink to the health of the Sovereign and we call it the Loyal Toast.
A toast to The Queen should be proposed at all official functions attended by the LG when a meal is served. It should take place at the end of the meal, or at the end of the meal course. Not at the beginning of the meal. The Lieutenant Governor is always happy to propose the toast.
The wording should be "The Queen of Canada or "The Queen" and no remarks should be added. A good formula is for the host or chairman to rise and ask the Lieutenant Governor to propose the toast to The Queen of Canada. Everyone is thus forewarned and the Lieutenant Governor can simply raise his/her glass and make the toast.
If a band is in attendance at a formal dinner and it is wished to have a musical salute and a toast, the Lieutenant Governor should stand and propose the toast, at which time the band plays a full verse of "God Save The Queen". Those assembled toast The Queen after the band stops playing.
If the host or chairman wishes to toast the Governor General, should he/she be present, or the Lieutenant-Governor and his/her spouse, he should not do so immediately after the toast to The Queen.
Note: No smoking should be allowed until after the Toast to The Queen has been proposed.
The Loyal toast is drunk after dessert is finished and the tables have been cleared, except for the decorations and port glasses. At this time a decanter of port wine will be brought in and the head Stewart will pour a small sample which the hosts/president of the Mess will taste to ensure that is it potable. If it is found acceptable, the stewart will hand the decanter to the host, who will charge his glass three-quarters full and pass the decanter to his left, assuring that the decanter does not touch the surface of the table. The next person will likewise charge his glass and pass the decanter to his left and so on.
When the host passes the decanter to his left, that is the signal for all decanters, which by then will be located on the various tables to be taken up, glasses charged and passed to the left until all glasses have been charged.
Arrival and Departure
It is customary for the senior member and spouse of the hosting organization to meet the Lieutenant Governor upon arrival, preferably as the Lieutenant Governor's vehicle some to a stop at the venue. Initial introductions will be made by the Duty Aide-de-Camp, who will then lead the party into the building. The Lieutenant Governor walks and sits on the host's right, and is always first through a doorway or entering an elevator; immediately following the ADC who always precedes the Lieutenant Governor. The host's spouse and remainder of the head table or official party makes its entrance prior to the Lieutenant Governor and remain standing until the Vice-Regal Party, lead by the ADC and immediately followed by the Lieutenant Governor, is seated. The Vice-Regal Salute is played when the Lieutenant Governor has arrived at the designated place. The Vice-Regal Salute is not sung.
At the conclusion of an event, guests stand and remain in place while the Vice-Regal Party withdraws. The host and spouse should also accompany the Lieutenant Governor to the awaiting car to say farewell.
Luncheons and Dinners
The Lieutenant Governor is served first and in the case of a buffet shall be the first in line immediately followed by the host.
The Vice Regal Salute is a musical greeting and a mark of respect. It is performed whenever the Lieutenant Governor attends an official event.
It is customary for a band, orchestra or pianist to play the Vice-Regal Salute which consists of the first six bars of "God Save the Queen" followed immediately by the first four and last four bars of "O Canada". The Vice-Regal Salute is not played while the Lieutenant Governor and party are walking but is played once they have arrived at their table or seat and while still standing. Guests do not sing during the Vice-Regal Salute. It is the usual custom for the MC to remind the audience of this prior to the entrance of the head table. The Vice-Regal Salute can be omitted if it cannot be rendered well or if it places an inconvenience on the host through the cost of hiring, renting a piano, etc. However, this should be cleared with the Duty Aide-de-Camp. The Vice Regal Salute was approved by Her Majesty in 1968.
The Lieutenant Governor should not be left to talk with persons who have not been introduced. Normally the host will make introductions to the Lieutenant Governor; however, the Aide-de-Camp may assist if requested to do so beforehand. Persons are introduced to the Lieutenant Governor - an easy way to avoid confusion in introductions is to use the phrase "Your Honour, may I present……..". When ladies and gentlemen are introduced for short periods of conversation both the Aide-de-Camp and host should see that the visit ends at the proper time and that way is made for others. If either the host or the Aide-de-Camp bring forward another guest, this should usually be sufficient intimation to the person speaking with the Lieutenant Governor that the conversation is at an end. The normal etiquette during introductions is to shake hands. No nodding of heads, bowing or curtseying is required.
If the event is being held in a hotel, convention centre, arena or theatre, the Manager should be given advance notice of the Lieutenant Governor's attendance as it is customary for the Manager to be on hand for the arrival of the Lieutenant Governor. In addition to greeting the Vice-Regal Party on arrival, they can arrange for doors and elevators to be held and other courtesies.
If the Lieutenant Governor has been previously asked to address a function the Lieutenant Governor shall speak last. This may change depending on the circumstances and in some cases ie. special openings, the Lieutenant Governor may speak first.
THE CANADIAN CROWN |
THE GOVERNOR GENERAL OF CANADA |
CANADIAN VICE REGAL RESIDENCES |
LIEUTENANT GOVERNORS & COMMISSIONERS OF CANADA |
THE POST OF LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR |
CANADIAN VICE REGAL STANDARDS|
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