Evolution of the Dual primeministership

Evolution of the Dual primeministership

Posted: 2018/01/19

Rate this discussion:

The uniquely canadian model of Responsible Government characterized by a coalition government formed and directed by 2 prime ministers sitting in the Governor’s Council arose based on the 3rd principle of Responsible GHovernment adopted on september 4, 1841.

This principle states that the rule of government shall be the well-understood wishes and interests of the people, and to guarantee this rule of government, the chief advisers of the Governor must possess the confidence of the representatives of the people.

But section 12 of the Union Act (1840) uniting Upper and Lower Canada entitled both Upper and Lower Canada to an equal number of representatives in the Assembly. Both Upper and Lower Canada thus argued it was entitled to a chief adviser in the Governor’s Council to ensure the rule of government in accordance with their own well-understood wishes and interests.

Lord Elgin accepted this dual politicak structure and requested that both leaders negotiate the representative nature of their Cabinet and a common political platform that would be approved by the majority of the Assembly.

Thus was born the federal nature of the rule of law in Canada.


Vincent Pouliot

Member for: 6 years

President of the Institute of Responsible Government and Member of the Advisory Board. Vincent is a lawyer (retired). Following Quebec’s referendum to secede from Canada in 1995, he intervened before the Supreme Court of Canada in the Reference regarding the...

    5 years ago

  • Vincent Pouliot

    Member for: 6 years

    I don’t believe there were 2 prime ministers at all. I have seen no literature upholding this.

  • 5 years ago

  • Marina Cabrera

    Member for: 0 min

    Vince check out Lord Monck letter en mai 24 1867 to John A. Macdonald:
    “In authorising you to undertake this duty of forming an administration for the Dominion of Canada, I desire to express my strong opinion that in future it shall be distinctly understood that the position of First Minister shall be held by one person who shall be responsible to the Gov. Gen for the appointment of the other Ministers, and that the system of dual First Ministers which has hitherto prevailed shall be put an end to.” Public Archives of Canada, Macdonald Papers, M.G. 26-A, vol. 51, p 2047-9, spool c-1505, MIKAN# 528612

  • 4 years ago

  • Vincent Pouliot

    Member for: 6 years

    That is quite conclusive Marina.

reply to Vincent Pouliot in discussion on
Répondre à Vincent Pouliot sur la discussion Evolution of the Dual primeministership

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *