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Responsible Government | Lord Elgin | Responsible Government Maritimes | Union of the Canada's | Newfoundland | Barkerville | Stalemate

The move toward responsible government was an evolutionary process that took place between 1839 and 1849. This transition from oligarchic rule to responsible government took place under the administration of Charles Poulett or Baron Sydenham, the Governor General of the Canada's who arrived in October of 1839.

The first step that Sydenham felt must be achieved, in order to implement Lord Durham's recommendations from his report, was to unite Upper and Lower Canada. Upper Canada had  a population of roughly 400,000 to Lower Canada's 600,000 (of which 150,000 were English) and the debt of Upper Canada was over £1,000,000 while Lower Canada was relatively debt free. The objective of the Union was to create a situation where the French population would eventually be swamped by superior numbers of English citizens.

Each area would have an equal number of votes in the Union and the Union would be governed by the Governor General on the advice of an executive council who would be chosen from the elected legislative assembly. The larger number of English voters would eventually unite against the French voters and legislate in such a manner that would overwhelmed French customs and culture. The fault in this plan lie in the assumption that the English would act as a unified block. The reformers in Upper Canada choose to vote with reformers in Lower Canada and the bleus.

The next step was to shift real power from the Governor to the Legislative Assembly. This required that the Governor be required to choose members of the Legislative Council from the Legislative Assemble and that they be given real power to act as the Executive. Arrows below indicate the initiative of legislative and executive action.

During Rebellions After Union After Confederation

 This evolution to responsible government became the blueprint that was used through out the British Empire and established a reliable highway to peaceful independence.