Originally in Canada, the title Prime Minister was given to the leaders of the governing bodies within the Federal government as well as the federal government. It caused a lot of confusion so eventually, the term ‘Premier’ was given to the provincial leaders and the title of prime minister reserved for the leader of the Federal government. The term ‘Premier’ is not one that has been made as law as the official title of the leader is President of the Executive Council. But this term is never used whereas Premier is.
The Premier of a province being a leader has several responsibilities. The system that is followed by governments in Canada is called the Responsible Government. This system is the outline of parliamentary responsibility. It follows closely with the Westminster system which is a democracy. In this type of system, instead of government bodies answering to a monarchy, they answer to parliament.
The premier has a duel role within the government system. He or she holds a seat in the assembly which he has earned through election for a specific region. He is also head of the executive.
The process of becoming the premier takes place by the appointment of the lieutenant governor. The appointee is the leader of the party that has the most seats in the provincial assembly. This is normally the case but not always.
Once he becomes a Premier, he then is able to advise the lieutenant governor on the appointment of the cabinet. The premiers are the representatives at the federal level for their province. They are the ones who attend the First Minister’s conferences on a yearly basis. This is comprised of a meeting of the premiers with the prime minister to discuss the provincial needs of each province. Important proposals take place at these meetings with one example being the Meech Lake accord. Some premiers want to see these meetings become a formal branch of government that would have a role in the process of legislation.
The three territories within Canada which are not provinces do have premiers but they are known as government leaders. In the Yukon, the Premier is chosen using standard methods. In Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, the premier is chosen from the small body of counsel.
The Premier has the authority to choose the cabinet that will be in place during the period of time the Premier is filling his position. The cabinet is made up of a number of cabinet ministers. The Premier will usually choose those from within his party to hold these positions. This leader can also determine how big the cabinet will be. The Premier is the leader of the cabinet and attends the meetings held by the cabinet and also heads the cabinet agenda. During meetings, the Premier is often called the first minister.
The duties that must be carried out by the cabinet which the Premier oversees are the creation of provincial policies and legislation to go before the assembly. They also have to submit the spending budget. There are several other duties that are added to this list.