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LAC Collection on Politics and Government


Speech from the Throne, First Session, Twentieth Parliament, September 6, 1945


Speech from the Throne, First Session, Twentieth Parliament, September 6, 1945

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In Canada, the Governor General is the representative of the Crown and acts as head of state. Governors in the British North American colonies historically were the head of the colonial government, but the Governor General's responsibilities regarding the governance of Canada since Confederation have mainly been symbolic. As the Crown's representative, the Governor General is responsible for ensuring continuity of government in Canada, acts as the Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces, and presents a number of medals and honours, including the Order of Canada.

Library and Archives Canada holds the records of the Office of the Governor General of Canada, which document the functions and responsibilities that Governors General have carried out since Confederation, as well as the personal papers of numerous former Governors General.

Archival Collection about the Crown

Published Resources about the Crown

Archival Collection about the Crown

Public Records

This is a very voluminous body of records dating from 1765. The Office of the Governor General was established in 1878, reflecting the lessening role of Britain in Canadian administration. Prior to Confederation, the functions of the Governor General were carried out by Governors-in-Chief and Lieutenant Governors. Many of these earlier records are included in the Office of the Governor General fonds. In 1947, a new letters patent delegated the powers of the British monarch in Canada to the Governor General.

Within this fonds, several series document the changing role of the Governor General in domestic and foreign relations, along with many other matters illustrating the role of the Governor General, including:

Private records

LAC holdings also include the private fonds of all but a few of the individuals who held the post of Governors General from Confederation in 1867 until 1990. (Individuals who served as Governors General after this point may have their records on deposit at LAC, but these records have not been formally acquired and are not available to researchers at this time.) Restrictions may apply to all other private records held by LAC.

Published Resources about the Crown

Published Materials

As a national catalogue, AMICUS not only shows the published materials held at Library and Archives Canada but also those located in over 1300 libraries across Canada. AMICUS contains over 30 million records for books, magazines, newspapers, government documents, theses, sound recordings, maps, electronic texts, as well as items in braille and large print.

Using the Advanced Search option in AMICUS and selecting "Publication Type", you can limit your search to "Government publications – Federal/national" or "Government publications – State, prov., terr. etc." You can also narrow your search by language and date, as well as format. Specifying "Web documents" in the latter will limit the search to full-text electronic publications.

Here are some sample Subject Keyword searches:

  • Buchan, John
  • Monarchy
  • Executive power – Canada
  • Canada – Kings and rulers
  • Governors general – Canada
  • Lieutenant governors – Canada