The Shift from Representative Government to Responsible Government

The Shift from Representative Gvernment to Responsible Government

The Need for Change

1830 - 1847

Many people in BNA were unhappy because the top of the government was the queen who was British. The queen makes all final decisions. She is not democratic because she doesn't care about BNA. The queen appointed the Lieutenant governer who is not democratic because he/she is British. The governer puts Britian's wishes first. The Lieutenant Governer can veto any bill and can decide when to hold elections.

The impact of Joseph Howe

1835 - 1847

Joseph Howe was one of the famous politicians. He was a reformer from Nova Scotia. The magistrated didn't like Howe saying about them, so they had him brought to court on charges of telling lies. If Howe was guilty, he could have been fined or sent to jail. Howe talked about how power of the elite was unfair on the main day of his trial. He was a good seaker that the audience were sometimes laughing or crying. The jury decided that Howe is not guilty.

The Rebellions in Lower and Upper Canada

1837 - 1838

Upper Canadian knew that British soldiers were busy with the rebellions in Lower Canada, so they tried their own rebellion. In 1837, Reformers in Upper and Lower Canada led rebellions to remove the Elite from power.

Lord Durham's Report

1838 - 1839

Lord Durham felt that Britain should give Responsible Government to the new formed coloney of Canada. He felt that it will help who are poverty.

Responsible Government Achieved in Nova Scotia


Nova Scotia had the first responsible government in British North America. The British government told the governor of Nova Scotia to bring reponsible government. The governor held an election to see which party form the majority in Assembly. The reform party won and promised to make sure that the peopel had more say in how government money was spent. The first premier of Nova Scotia was James Boyle Uniacke who was the leader of the reform party.

Responsible Government in Province of Canada


The new province of Canada didn't go smoothly. The British government agreed to responsible government but it didn't happen right away. In 1849, Louis-Hipployte LaFontaine from Canada East and Robert Baldwin from Canada West joined forces to creat an Assembly strong to make responsible government possible.

Responsible Government in Prince Edward Island


The members of the Assembly in Prince Edward Island asked for reponsible government several times, but they were refused. The Assembly didn't pass bills or vote any money for the government use. In the past, the Lieutenant-Governor got rid of the Assembly and made decisions on their own. The new ideas about reform Britain gave in, PEI acheived responsible government. George Coles became the colony's first premier. Acheiving responsible government was an important first step.

Responsible Government in New Brunswick


In New Brunswick, one of the issues for people was that who would control the income from Timberland would be spent. It was a big income because the government received money from all the logging in the province. Most elite and other people in the province had th same opinion about the issue. The Assembly was given the right to control how this money was spent before the colony got the responsible government. However, some people wanted to change the government so they changed it to the responsible government. The movement was led by Lemuel Allan Wilmot and Charles Fisher. The first premier was Charles Fisher.

Responsible Government in Newfoundland


In Newfoundland, there was a big difference in opinions between th English merchants who were appointed to the Legislative and Executive Councils were elected to the assembly.The appointed leaders were always the members of the Church of England. Over half of the population of the island were fishers who lived in poverty.The demand for responsible government became strongest when Roman Catholic and Methodist politicians decided to join together to fight for reform. The reform party was led by Philip F. Little, won the first elections.