Lieutenant Governor

Constitutional Monarchy


Canada’s system of government is a constitutional monarchy, which means that an unelected monarch functions as head of state within the limits of a constitution.

Constitutional monarchs do not rule directly but perform constitutional, ceremonial and representational duties.

In Canada the monarch is the head of state

and the Prime Minister is the head of government and both function within the Constitution.

The Crown

In Canada’s constitutional monarchy the Crown has certain ceremonial and constitutional responsibilities.

The Crown is the sovereign authority and an integral part of the legislative, executive and judicial powers that govern the country. Though the Crown is the source of these powers, elected federal and provincial governments exercise them.

As head of state the monarch is above politics, unlike the head of government.

In theory the Crown and its vice-regal representatives in Canada, known as the Governor General and Lieutenant Governors, can reject the advice, decisions and actions of parliament or ministers, but this rarely happens.

Almost invariably, the Crown follows the government’s advice as it represents the will of the people.

Lieutenant Governor

The Lieutenant Governor represents the monarch as the official head of state in Alberta. The Premier as head of government along with the cabinet, or Executive Council, governs in the monarch’s name.


The Lieutenant Governor performs constitutional, ceremonial and social duties.
In terms of specific roles, the Lieutenant Governor issues the Royal Proclamation that calls the Legislative Assembly into session; delivers the Speech from the Throne at the opening of each session of a Legislature; grants royal assent to Bills that have passed third reading in the Assembly; approves cabinet orders (orders in council); prorogues, a session of the Legislature; dissolves the Legislature when an election is called and ensures that the province always has a Premier who has the confidence of the majority of the elected Members of the Assembly.

The Prime Minister appoints the Lieutenant Governor, usually for a five-year term.