Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
January 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Legislative Assembly



The first popularly elected legislature in British North America was that of Nova Scotia, which met for the first time at Halifax, October 7th, 1758. The Assembly of Prince Edward Island was organized in 1773; that of New Brunswick met in 1786. The Proclamation of 1763 promised the people of Canada an Assembly "so soon as the state and circumstances of the said colony will admit thereof." Under the then existing laws of England, and the conditions in the colony, the Assembly, if it had then been established, would have been confined to a handful of English-speaking Protestants in a population overwhelmingly French and Roman-Catholic. This was evidently recognized, as in the instructions to Murray the Assembly is spoken of as "impracticable for the present." The British merchants pressed insistently for a House of Assembly; nevertheless, the Quebec Act of 1774 still deemed it inexpedient. With the coming of the Loyalists the demand was renewed, and finally by the Constitutional Act, in 1791, each of the newly-created provinces of Upper and Lower Canada was given an elective Assembly. Bib.: Kennedy, Constitution of Canada; Shortt and Doughty, Canadian Constitutional Documents.


Source : Lawrence J. BURPEE, The Oxford Encyclopaedia of Canadian History, London and Toronto, Oxford University Press, 1926, 699p., p. 350.

© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College