Secretary of State for Canada

Last updated
Secretary of State for Canada
Member of Cabinet of Canada
FormationJuly 1, 1867
First holder Hector-Louis Langevin
Final holder Lucienne Robillard
AbolishedJuly 12, 1996

The Secretary of State for Canada was a Canadian Cabinet position with a corresponding department. It was established in 1867 as the official channel of communication between Canada and the Imperial government in London. As Canada became increasingly independent after World War I and particularly with the passage of the Statute of Westminster in 1931 this role fell into disuse.

Canada Country in North America

Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States is the world's longest bi-national land border. Its capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra. Consequently, its population is highly urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near the southern border. Canada's climate varies widely across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons.

British Empire States and dominions ruled by the United Kingdom

The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24% of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

The department was maintained, however, and was used to administer various aspects of government which did not have their own ministry. As well, the Secretary of State for Canada was Registrar General of Canada, responsible as such for the Great Seal of Canada and various functions of state associated with it.

The Registrar General of Canada is responsible for registering all letters patent, commissions, instruments, proclamations, and any other documents that may, from time to time, be issued under the Great Seal of Canada or the Privy Seal of Canada. The current Registrar General is Navdeep Bains.

The Great Seal of Canada is a governmental seal used for purposes of state in Canada, being set on letters patent, proclamations and commissions, both to representatives of the Queen and for the appointment of cabinet ministers, senators, and judges. Many other officials, such as officers in the Canadian Armed Forces, receive commissions affixed with the Privy Seal, not the great seal. It is not for sealing up a document as letters close.

At various times the Secretary of State for Canada was responsible for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the civil service, the Queen's Printer for Canada, administration of Crown lands, governance of Canadian Indians (as they were called) as well as various ceremonial and state duties. Generally, any government role and responsibility which was not specifically assigned to a cabinet minister would be the de facto responsibility of the Secretary of State.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police mounted police force in Canada

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is the federal and national police force of Canada. The RCMP provides law enforcement at the federal level. It also provides provincial policing in eight of Canada's provinces and local policing on contract basis in the three territories and more than 150 municipalities, 600 aboriginal communities, and three international airports. The RCMP does not provide provincial or municipal policing in Ontario or Quebec.

The civil service is independent of government and is also composed mainly of career bureaucrats hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transitions of political leadership. A civil servant or public servant is a person employed in the public sector on behalf of a government department or agency. A civil servant or public servant's first priority is to represent the interests of citizens. The extent of civil servants of a state as part of the "civil service" varies from country to country. In the United Kingdom, for instance, only Crown employees are referred to as civil servants whereas county or city employees are not.

Crown land, also known as royal domain or demesne, is a territorial area belonging to the monarch, who personifies the Crown. It is the equivalent of an entailed estate and passes with the monarchy, being inseparable from it. Today, in Commonwealth realms such as Canada and Australia, crown land is considered public land and is apart from the monarch's private estate.

The department was eliminated in 1993 when the government was reorganized. The position of Secretary of State for Canada was not legally eliminated until 1996 when its remaining responsibilities were assigned to other cabinet positions and departments, particularly the newly created position of Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Minister of Canadian Heritage minister in the Cabinet of Canada

The Minister of Canadian Heritage is the Minister of the Crown in the Canadian Cabinet who heads the Department of Canadian Heritage, the federal government department responsible for culture, media, sports, and the arts in Canada.

The position of Secretary of State for Canada had no relation to that of Secretary of State for External Affairs except for the period from 1909 until 1912 when the Secretary of State for Canada (Charles Murphy under Sir Wilfrid Laurier and William James Roche under Sir Robert Borden) was responsible for the newly created Department of External Affairs.

Charles Murphy (Canadian politician) Canadian politician

Charles Murphy, was a Canadian politician and Liberal MP for Russell (Ontario) in the House of Commons of Canada from 1908 to 1925. He was appointed to the Senate of Canada in 1925.

Wilfrid Laurier 7th prime minister of Canada

Sir Henri Charles Wilfrid Laurier was the seventh prime minister of Canada, in office from 11 July 1896 to 6 October 1911.

William James Roche Canadian politician

William James Roche, was a Canadian politician and Conservative Member of Parliament for the Manitoba riding of Marquette in the House of Commons of Canada from 1896 to 1917.

Secretaries of State for Canada

   Liberal Party of Canada
  Historical conservative parties: Liberal-Conservative, Conservative (historical), Unionist, National Liberal and Conservative, Progressive Conservative
No.PortraitNameTerm of officePolitical partyMinistry
1 HectorLangevin23.jpg Sir Hector-Louis Langevin July 1, 1867December 8, 1869 Liberal-Conservative 1 (Macdonald)
2 James Cox Aikins.jpg James Cox Aikins December 8, 1869November 5, 1873Liberal-Conservative
3 DavidChristie23.jpg David Christie November 7, 1873January 8, 1874 Liberal 2 (Mackenzie)
4 Sir Richard William Scott.jpg Sir Richard William Scott January 9, 1874October 8, 1878Liberal
(2) James Cox Aikins.jpg James Cox Aikins
(Second time)
October 19, 1878November 7, 1880 Conservative 3 (Macdonald)
5 John O'Connor.jpg John O'Connor November 8, 1880May 19, 1881Conservative
6 Joseph-Alfred Mousseau.jpg Joseph-Alfred Mousseau May 20, 1881July 28, 1882Conservative
7 Joseph-Adolphe Chapleau.jpg Sir Joseph-Adolphe Chapleau July 29, 1882June 6, 1891Conservative
June 16, 1891January 24, 1892 4 (Abbott)
8 James Colebrooke Patterson.jpg James Colebrooke Patterson January 25, 1892November 24, 1892Conservative
9 John Costigan.jpg John Costigan December 5, 1892December 12, 1894Conservative 5 (Thompson)
10 Arthur Rupert Dickey.jpg Arthur Rupert Dickey December 21, 1894March 25, 1895Conservative 6 (Bowell)
11 Walter Humphries Montague.jpg Walter Humphries Montague March 26, 1895December 20, 1895Conservative
Joseph-Aldric Ouimet
December 21, 1895January 5, 1896Conservative
ThomasMayneDaly23.jpg Thomas Mayne Daly
January 6, 1896January 14, 1896Conservative
12 TupperUniform.jpg Sir Charles Tupper January 15, 1896April 27, 1896Conservative
May 1, 1896July 8, 1896 7 (Tupper)
(4) Sir Richard William Scott.jpg Sir Richard William Scott
(Second time)
July 13, 1896October 8, 1908 Liberal 8 (Laurier)
13 Charles Murphy.jpg Charles Murphy October 9, 1908October 6, 1911Liberal
14 William James Roche.jpg William James Roche October 10, 1911October 28, 1912Conservative 9 (Borden)
15 Louis Coderre.jpg Louis Coderre October 29, 1912October 5, 1915Conservative
16 Pierre Edouard Blondin.jpg Pierre Édouard Blondin October 6, 1915January 7, 1917Conservative
17 Esioff-Leon Patenaude.png Esioff-Léon Patenaude January 8, 1917June 12, 1917Conservative
Albert Sevigny.jpg Albert Sévigny
June 13, 1917August 24, 1917Conservative
18 Former PM Arthur Meighen.jpg Arthur Meighen August 25, 1917October 12, 1917Conservative
19 Martin Burrell.jpg Martin Burrell October 12, 1917December 30, 1919 Unionist 10 (Borden)
20 Arthur Lewis Watkins Sifton.jpg Arthur Sifton December 31, 1919July 10, 1920Unionist
July 10, 1920January 21, 1921 National Liberal and Conservative 11 (Meighen)
21 Henry Lumley Drayton.jpg Sir Henry Lumley Drayton January 24, 1921September 20, 1921National Liberal and Conservative
22 Rodolphe Monty September 21, 1921December 29, 1921National Liberal and Conservative
23 Arthur Bliss Copp December 29, 1921September 24, 1921 Liberal 12 (King)
24 Walter Edward Foster.jpg Walter Edward Foster September 26, 1925November 12, 1925Liberal
Charles Murphy.jpg Charles Murphy
November 13, 1925March 23, 1926Liberal
Ernest Lapointe.jpg Ernest Lapointe
March 24, 1926June 28, 1926Liberal
25 Guillaume-André Fauteux August 23, 1926September 25, 1926 Conservative 13 (Meighen)
26 Fernand Rinfret.png Fernand Rinfret September 25, 1926August 7, 1930 Liberal 14 (King)
27 Charles Cahan August 7, 1930October 23, 1935 Conservative 15 (Bennett)
(26) Fernand Rinfret.png Fernand Rinfret
(Second time)
October 23, 1935July 12, 1939 Liberal 16 (King)
Ernest Lapointe.jpg Ernest Lapointe
(Acting - Second time)
July 26, 1939May 8, 1940Liberal
28 Pierre-François Casgrain May 9, 1940December 14, 1941Liberal
29 Norman Alexander McLarty.jpg Norman Alexander McLarty December 15, 1941April 17, 1945Liberal
30 Paul Martin Sr. April 18, 1945December 11, 1946Liberal
31 Colin W. G. Gibson December 12, 1946November 15, 1948Liberal
November 15, 1948March 31, 1949 17 (St. Laurent)
32 Frederick Gordon Bradley March 31, 1949June 11, 1953Liberal
33 Jack Pickersgill June 11, 1953June 30, 1954Liberal
34 Roch Pinard July 1, 1954June 21, 1957Liberal
35 Ellen Fairclough June 21, 1957May 11, 1958 Progressive Conservative 18 (Diefenbaker)
36 Henri Courtemanche May 12, 1958June 19, 1960Progressive Conservative
Léon Balcer
June 21, 1960October 10, 1960Progressive Conservative
37 Noël Dorion October 11, 1960July 5, 1962Progressive Conservative
Léon Balcer
(Acting - Second time)
July 11, 1962August 8, 1962Progressive Conservative
38 Ernest Halpenny August 9, 1962April 22, 1963Progressive Conservative
(33) Jack Pickersgill
(Second time)
April 22, 1963February 2, 1964 Liberal 19 (Pearson)
39 Maurice Lamontagne February 2, 1964December 17, 1965Liberal
40 Judy LaMarsh December 17, 1965April 9, 1968Liberal
John Joseph Connolly
April 10, 1968April 20, 1968Liberal
41 Jean Marchand.jpg Jean Marchand April 20, 1968July 5, 1968Liberal 20 (P. E. Trudeau)
42 Gérard Pelletier July 5, 1968November 26, 1972Liberal
43 Hugh Faulkner November 27, 1972September 13, 1976Liberal
44 John Roberts September 14, 1976June 3, 1979Liberal
45 David MacDonald June 4, 1979March 2, 1980 Progressive Conservative 21 (Clark)
46 Francis Fox March 3, 1980September 21, 1981 Liberal 22 (P. E. Trudeau)
47 Gerald Regan September 22, 1981October 5, 1982Liberal
48 Serge Joyal October 6, 1982June 29, 1984Liberal
June 30, 1984September 16, 1984 23 (Turner)
49 Walter McLean September 17, 1984April 19, 1985 Progressive Conservative 24 (Mulroney)
50 Benoît Bouchard April 20, 1985June 29, 1986Progressive Conservative
51 Crombie1983.jpg David Crombie June 30, 1986March 30, 1988Progressive Conservative
52 Bouchardimg229us-signed.jpg Lucien Bouchard March 31, 1988January 29, 1989Progressive Conservative
53 Gerry Weiner January 30, 1989April 20, 1991Progressive Conservative
54 Robert de Cotret April 21, 1991January 3, 1993Progressive Conservative
55 Monique Landry January 4, 1993June 24, 1993Progressive Conservative
June 24, 1993November 3, 1993 25 (Campbell)
56 Sergio Marchi November 4, 1993January 24, 1996 Liberal 26 (Chrétien)
57 Lucienne Robillard January 25, 1996July 12, 1996Liberal

See also

Secretary of State for the Provinces was an office in the Cabinet of Canada, active from 1867 to 1873. The office was superseded by the Minister of the Interior on May 3, 1873.

The Minister of the Interior was the member of the Canadian Cabinet responsible for federal land management, immigration, Indian affairs and natural resources extraction. The position was created in 1873 to replace the Secretary of State for the Provinces and was superseded by the following ministries in 1936:

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