Defining responsible government

Constitutional theory: understanding responsible government (Essays)

For government to reflect the will of the people, it must be administered in accordance with constitutional principles. The first step in building the model of Responsible Government is to understand these principles and how they were meant to operate in the federal model intended by Confederation. This section is composed of several short newspaper sized articles and organized to permit you to raise questions, discuss and elaborate the concepts.

Théorie constitutionnelle : comprendre le concept de gouvernement responsable

Pour que le gouvernement reflète la volonté du citoyen, il doit être administré suivant les principes constitutionnels. La première étape dans la construction du modèle du gouvernement responsable est de comprendre les principes constitutionnels tels qu’ils devaient opérer dans le modèle fédéral de la constitution britannique voulu par la Confédération canadienne. Cette section est composée de plusieurs courts articles vous permettant de soulever un questionnement, de discuter et d’élaborer ces concepts.

Essays under review:

Federalism through Parliament in Accordance with the Constitution Act, 1867

Parliamentary Government – Its inherent weakness and the Canadian corrective

Le Gouvernement Responsable du Canada – en bref

The Responsible Government of Canada

The Uniquely Canadian Model of Responsible Government

Le modèle Canadien du Gouvernement Responsable

The Role of the Senate in the Scheme of Confederation

A Truly Federal Model of the British Constitution

Canada’s Promise



Is it constitutional to create a PERMANENT office unaccountable to the legislature?



Constitutional practice: working out responsible government (Case studies)

The second step in the quest of the Institute is to apply this understanding of these constitutional principles in the implementation of the Constitution Act,1867 to structure the model of Responsible Government intended by Confederation. This section organises the conversation to recommend the practices that would best implement this intent.

Pratiques constitutionnelles : Études de cas sur le concept de gouvernement responsable

La deuxième étape est d’appliquer les principes constitutionnels aux dispositions de l’Acte constitutionnel afin d’ériger le model du gouvernement responsable voulu par la Confédération. Cette section organise la conversation afin de recommander les meilleures pratiques constitutionnelles pour mettre cette volonté en œuvre.

Case study in progress:

Deadlock between the Senate and the House of commons

Le Gouvernement Responsable du Canada – en bref

Would louis riel and manitoba’s entrance into confederation have been handled differently had the provinces been properly represented in the senate at the time?

Questions of the month



19-09-19 Constitutional question of practice test question

How was the power of disallowance supposed to protect the rights of the minorities within the Canadian model of Responsible Government?

How can a Lieutenant Governor legitimately dismiss a provincial premier?

The 14th resolution of Quebec states that senators “shall be appointed by the Crown at the recommendation of the General Executive Government, upon the nomination (in French “upon presentation”) of the respective Local Governments”.

How could deadlock between the Senate and House of Commons be resolved?

How is a conflict of power between the federal government and the provinces lawfully reconciled under the federal model of Responsible government conceived by Confederation?

What is the duty of a Governor General when asked for a prorogation? See: the Harper-Jean affair.

How should the Governor General be replaced within the Canadian constitutional model of Responsible Government?



Resource centre

The Resource Centre is the Institute’s library.

It lists, cross-references and sets out in full where possible, all the documents referred to in support of members’ theses.

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Framework of Responsible Government

The objective of the Institute is to review the constitutionality of all of the practices by which the government exercises the powers of the State.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Comment peut-t-on s’assurer que les représentants de la population la représentent véritablement ?
How can we ensure that the people’s representatives truly represent the people?
“Power corrupts,” said Lord Acton. Can we design a form of government in which officeholders are not corrupted by power?

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