Our mission

The Mission of the Institute of Responsible Government

The Institute of Responsible Government is inspired by the belief that if people were enabled to govern themselves as they thought best, the world would see a quantum rise in wealth, happiness, peace and goodwill among nations.

We believe this to be achievable through the constitution of a Responsible Government, the goal of which was expressed in Canada as early as 1841: to guarantee that the well-understood wishes and interests of the people shall be the rule of government.

While the issue of Responsible Government is international in scope, the Institute’s initial focus is on the struggle for Responsible Government in Canada. This struggle led the Fathers of Confederation to propose a federal model of the British constitution, in which the Senate would serve to embody the will of the provinces.

Though Canada’s Constitution Act continues to provide for a constitutional balance between the Senate and the House of Commons, the original intent of the Fathers of Confederation to renew Responsible Government was not carried out and, as a result, self-government in Canada has not realized its potential.

The Institute believes that Canadians today have opened their minds to reforming the Senate, and they are willing to invest time and energy in considering the potential of the Senate to improve their government. The Institute seeks to harness this interest to further develop the doctrine of Responsible Government and, especially, to understand the checks to the abuse of power that naturally arise within the constitutional structure proposed by Confederation.

The mission of the Institute of Responsible Government is therefore to promote research, study, analysis and debate on the constitutional framework, principles and practices required to ensure a truly Responsible Government. Toward that end, the Institute is committed to fostering publications, conferences and online discussions bringing together leaders, fellows and students from a broad spectrum of political beliefs and experiences.