“Canada’s prime minister is a dictator.” “The Sun King of Canadian government.” “More powerful than any other chief executive of any other demo- cratic country.” These kinds of claims are fre- quently made about Canada’s leader – especially when the prime minister’s party holds a majority government in Parliament. But is there any truth to these arguments? At the Centre of Government not only presents a comprehensively researched work on the structure of political power in Canada but also offers a first-hand view of the inner workings of the Canadian federal government. Ian Brodie – former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and former executive director of the Conservative Party of Canada – argues that the various workings of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Privy Council Office, the cabinet, parliamentary committees, and the role of backbench members of Parliament undermine propositions that the prime minister has evolved into the role of an autocrat, with unchecked con- trol over the levers of political power. He corrects the dominant thinking that Canadian prime min- isters hold power without limits over their party, caucus, cabinet, Parliament, the public service, and the policy agenda. Citing examples from his time in government and from Canadian political history he argues that in Canada’s evolving politi- cal system, with its roots in the pre-Confederation era, there are effective checks on executive power, and that the golden age of Parliament and the backbencher is likely now. Drawing on a vast body of work on governance and the role of the executive branch of govern- ment, At the Centre of Government provides a fact-based primer on the workings of Canadian government and sobering second thoughts about many proposals for reform. Ian Brodie is associate professor of political science at the University of Calgary. 2 M Q U P S P R I N G 2 0 1 8 P O L I T I C A L S T U D I E S • C A N A D I A N S T U D I E S At the Centre of Government The Prime Minister and the Limits on Political Power ian brodie An insider’s account of democracy in Canada and its relationship to liberalism, constitutionalism, and good public policy. S P E C I F I C AT I O N S April 2018 978-0-7735-5290-6 $34.95T CDN, $34.95S US, £28.99 cloth 6 x 9 200pp eBook available