The Shift from Representative Government to Responsible Government

YuhoK's timeline


The Need for Change


In the government, the Monarch (King or Queen) was at the top. She was not voted from voters. The Queen wasn't democratic because she doesn't care about BNA and she can make all of the final decisions. Not democratic.

Under the Monarch was the Lieutenant governor or governor. It's job was t decide when to hold elections, decide bill whether they are good or not. The governor puts Britain's wishes first. The governor is no chosen, it is from England, and doesn't care about BNA. Not democratic.

The Councils are the third in the government. Both advises the governor what bills should become laws. Councils are not always elite. The Councils are chosen by voters. Not democratic.

The Assembly is in the fourth in the government. It suggests bills. The Assembly raises money through taxes. People vote for it. It is democratic.

Voters are people who vote for people in the government. The voters have to be British citizens. They have to be over 21. People from BNA can not vote. Also voters have to own a land to vote. Not Democratic.

This is why people in BNA were unhappy about the government.

The impact of Joseph Howe


Joseph Howe was the most famous politicians of the mid 1800's. What he did was he made the right to print anything that is true on newspapers even it is against the government.
Before being a politician, he was a journalist. He wrote newspapers that were against the government. In 1835, he published a letter in his newspaper that said about how the city leaders in Halifax is spending public money. The leaders of the city didn't like Joseph so they brought him to court. They said that Joseph was lying. If found guilty, Joseph had to go to jail but because Joseph was a good speaker, he made the audience and the jury sometimes laugh and sometimes cry. As a result of speaking for 6 hours, the jury decided that Joseph was not guilty and Joseph was carried outside as if he was a hero. Joseph was elected to the Assembly next year.

The Rebellions in Lower and Upper Canda.

1837 - 1838

This is when British immigrants came to Canada.
Lower Canada was worried about the effects the British immigrants would have to them. For example, farmers were worried that the British immigrants would take the left over land for the farmers' children. French Canadians were worried about losing their language and culture.
Upper Canada had worries too. The Reformers in Upper Canada had many complains because of how the government money was being spent. The colony went into serious debt building canals to make shipping easier so the colonists had to pay taxes to make it. Another big issue was that the elite usually got the better areas of land. They often didn't farm, they just kept it to sell when prices went up. Because of that, new immigrants had to go to further places to find land.

Lord Durham's Report


In Lord Durham's Report, it says "Join the two colonies of Upper Canada and Lower Canada into one colony called the Province of Canada." Lord Durham thought that this would give the British more control over the French. He hoped the French would like British and French culture would disappear. Also he thought that there would be less conflicts.
Lord Durham also said "Give the Province of Canada responsible government." He wanted the poor people should get a chance to get education.

Responsible Government Achieved in Nova Scotia


Nova Scotia had the first responsible government in BNA from when Joseph Howe had been elected to the Assembly in 1836, he kept pushing for responsible government and he helped create a strong Reform Party in the colony. In 1847, the British government told the governor of Nova Scotia to make a responsible government. The governor had an election in 1848 to see which party would get the most votes. The Reform Party won and they had promised to make sure that the people had more say in how the government spent their money. James Boyle Uniacke was the leader of the Reform Party that time, so he became the first premier of Nova Scotia and he could choose the Executive council. He choose the members of the Reform Party that had been elected to the assembly so instead of being made up of appointed members, the members were made up of elected members. All the other colonies of Canada followed this pattern when they got responsible government.

Responsible Government in Province of Canada.


The British government agreed to responsible government in 1847 but it didn't happen right away. Reformers in Canada east and west has different opinions how to run a government, so it seemed they could never agree but finally in 1849, Louis-Hipployte LaFontaine from Canada east and Robert Baldwin from Canada West joined forces to create an Assembly that was strong enough to make responsible government possible.

Responsible Government in Prince Edward Island


Prince Edward Island had a problems with land. The farmers wanted the laws changed to force land owners to allow farmers to buy land from them. This law wasn't able to be changed as long the Executive council had control. George Coles and Edward Whelan worked hard for reform in their colony. The members of the Assembly asked Prince Edward Island for responsible government, but they refused. The Assembly fought back by not passing any bills or voting any money for the government use. The Lieutenant-Governor would have got rid of the Assembly but with the new ideas about reform, Britain gave in and Prince Edward Island became a responsible government in 1851. George Coles became the first premier. It still took time for land reforms to take place, but making a responsible government was an important first step.

Responsible Government in New Brunswick


In New Brunswick, people were questioning "Who would control how the income from timberlands would be spent?". The income was big money.The elites and other people in the province had the same question, so the assembly was given the right to control how this money was spent before the colony became a responsible government. The people still wanted to change the government so the colony officially became a responsible government. The movement was led by Lemuel Allan Wilmot and Charles Fisher. Britian agreed to this change in 1854 and New Brunswick's first premier was Charles Fisher.

Responsible Government in New found land.


They started to become a responsible government when Roman Catholic and Methodist politicians decided to join together to fight for reform. New found land was finally given responsible government in 1855. The reform party won the first election.