Canada’s Neglected Tradition of Coalition Government

James Muir


On Wednesday, 26 November 2008, I closed the second of two lectures on politics in the 1840s and 1850s for my second-year, pre-Con- federation Canadian history students by reiter- ating the definition of responsible government. I suggested that, at its core, was the principle that the parliamentary executive was respon- sible to the elected assembly as a whole, and that the governor general (or lieutenant governor) was expected to follow the executive’s wishes. This expectation included not calling elections every time a government fell in the assembly, but rather selecting another government that had the support of the already elected members of the assembly.

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