Call For Responsible Government in BNA From 1806?

David Schneiderman (Toronto) says that he has been enjoying my book, The Canadian Founding, John Locke and Parliament, especially the chapter on Pierre Bédard. Thank you, David.

I argue that Bédard, first leader of the  French Party in the Legislative Assembly of Lower Canada,  is calling for responsible government in the British North American colonies colonies from 1806, while John Ralston Saul contends that the principle of responsible government was only imperfectly understood by the British North Americans until until Robert Baldwin came along.

“Firming up your point” says David, “I found this in Kennedy’s book of documents: “The “Canadian Party in Lower Canada either believe or affect to believe that there exists a Ministry here, and that in imitation of the Constitution of Britain that Ministry is responsible to them for he conduct of government.” (Correspondence from Governor Craig (Lower Canada) to the secretary of state for the colonies, Viscount Castlereagh, ( Statutes, Treaties and Documents of the Canadian Constitution, 1713-1929, edited by W.P.M. Kennedy (Oxford University Press, 1930), 224.)

Very nice!  So the Governor of Lower Canada knew exactly what Bédard was doing and how he was mocking the Governor. I missed this document when I was writing about Bédard.

It’s an invaluable book, Kennedy’s Documents.


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