Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
January 2005

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


Legislative Council



In the early colonial days, before the concession of an elected Assembly, the governors of the several colonies were assisted and advised by an appointed Council whose functions were both executive and legislative. The earliest of these Councils, in what is now Canada, was that of Nova Scotia, which met for the first time in 1720 at Annapolis Royal. The members of Cornwallis' first Council were sworn in on board one of the transports in Halifax harbour in 1749. Prince Edward Island's first Council dates from 1769. The Council of New Brunswick was created at the same time as the Assembly, 1784. In the old province of Canada, the Proclamation of 1763 made provision for a Council, which met for the first time in 1764. Appointed by Governor Murray, the Council consisted of Chief-Justice Gregory, P. Aemilius Irving, H. T. Cramahé, Adam Mabane, Walter Murray, Samuel Holland, Thomas Dunn and François Mounier. In the instructions to Governor Carleton, 1766, the members of the Council were appointed by the king. In course of time the executive and legislative functions were separated, and a purely Legislative Council evolved. This persisted down to Confederation, when, in the new Dominion, it became the Senate. In the provinces, it survived in Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. To-day, it exists only in Quebec [it was abolished in 1968] and Nova Scotia [it was abolished in 1928]. It was abolished in New Brunswick in 1892 and in Prince Edward Island in 1893. Manitoba started with a Legislative Council, but abolished it in 1876. The other four provinces have never had a second chamber. Bib.: Kennedy, Constitution of Canada ; Shortt and Doughty, Canadian Constitutional Documents; Bourinot, Constitution of Canada.


Source : Lawrence J. BURPEE, The Oxford Encyclopaedia of Canadian History, London and Toronto, Oxford University Press, 1926, 699p., pp. 350-351.

© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College