The Shift from Representative government to Responsible government

Representative Government to Responsible Government

The need for change

1830 - 1847

The people in BNA were unhappy because many people weren't able to vote. They didn't like the idea of representative government because the Monarch and the Governor didn't care about BNA at all. Many politicians in the government were appointed by others and the people who were elected didn't have much power.
Only certain people in BNA were allowed to vote. That was often the British people living in the community. To be able to vote, they had to complete a certain standard, which was to own or rent a specific amount of land. Many people in BNA were poor, so this wasn't possible. They didn't think this was fair and they wanted things to change. This is when people started to think of Responsible Government.

Influence of Newspapers

1830 - 1838

Newspapers were a large part for many people in BNA. However, many newspapers had biased articles and information. The citizens votes usually depended on the newspaper they read.

The Influence of Churches

1830 - 1838

Churches were also a large part for most people in BNA. They would go there because they were bored and they didn't have much things to do. Churches also took sides, and the citizens believed what the churches thought was correct.

The Impact of Joseph Howe


Joseph Howe was from Nova Scotia, and he was a newspaperman of a newspaper called "Novascotian". He was also a reformer in Nova Scotia. He strongly believed that the idea of responsible government was far better than representative government. Many times, they were defeated by the British Government, but the Reformers didn't give up. They campaigned for Responsible Government, and finally their wishes were granted!!

The Rebellions

The Rebellions in Lower and Upper Canada

1837 - 1838

The rebellions in lower Canada began in November 23rd. This started when the government arrested people who weren't on their side. However they were defeated by the British government over and over again.
Similar thing happened in the rebellions in Upper Canada, which started in December. They knew that the British soldiers were busy fighting off with the rebellions in lower Canada so they tried their own rebellion. A group called Militia was formed, they were not professional soldiers but they were used when necessary. The Militia defeated them easily, over and over again.

Lord Durham's Report


Lord Durham wrote a report which requested for two main things. He wanted BNA to receive Responsible Government, and he also wanted to connect Upper and lower Canada. He wanted BNA to have responsible Government because he thought it will help those in poverty. he also thought that the new type of government will be more democratic and fair.
He wanted the union of Upper and lower Canada because then the English citizens would have more power and the French Canadians will become a minority. he wanted this to happen because he thought that eventually the french will abandon their identity and just become ordinary people.

Responsible Government Achieved!

Responsible government Achieved in Nova Scotia

1847 - 1858

Joseph Howe was from Nova Scotia, Halifax, and he was strongly against Representative government.
Nova Scotia was the first to achieve responsible government. This was possible because of Joseph Howe. He was a member of the Reformers in Nova Scotia, and he campaigned a lot about how good responsible Government is and at last, Nova Scotia received Responsible government.

Responsible Government Achieved in Province of Canada

1848 - 1858

Baldwin Robert and Louis Lofontaine stood strongly against representative government. They did their best in many ways and finally got accepted by Britain.

Responsible Government Achieved in Prince Edward island

1851 - 1858

George Coles and Edward Whelan were two important people in achieving responsible government. They tried their best, and asked for responsible government several times, but the government didn't listen to them. But after many years, Britain gave in and PEI achieved responsible government.

Responsible Government Achieved in New Brunswick

1854 - 1858

One of the key issues for many people was about how to control the income from timber lands. The Elites and other people in the colonies had same opinions to this problem so the Assembly had the right to control the money. However, many people in New Brunswick still wanted Responsible Government. Lemuel Allan Wilmot and Charles Fisher stood up for this, and in 1854, Britain agreed to give them Responsible Government.

Responsible Government Achieved in New Foundland

1855 - 1858

There was different opinions between the English Merchants, who were appointed to the government (Councils) and the people who were elected to the Assembly. Both groups believed in different things, which made it difficult to make decisions.
New Foundland really wanted responsible Government when Roman Catholics and Methodist politicians chose to join together to reform. They finally achieved Responsible Government in 1855 and Philip F. Little won the first election.