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The formal authority given to someone to hold a senior position in government is called a commission.  A commission can be issued by the lieutenant governor alone or by the lieutenant governor in council .   Ministers , senior public servants and judges are all issued commissions when they are appointed; see order in council .

When the party in government is defeated at an election, or loses the support of a majority of members in the legislative assembly , the lieutenant governor invites the leader of the party which has the support of a majority of members to form a new government by offering to commission the leader as premier .  Once other ministers have been chosen by the premier, they are given commissions for their departmental responsibilities (sometimes called portfolios).
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