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First Orders: Department Heads

Photograph of executive administrators including Lord Strathcona, Governor General, seated at left, and Sir William Mulock, Postmaster General, seated second from left, 1899

Photograph of executive administrators including Lord Strathcona, Governor General, seated at left, and Sir William Mulock, Postmaster General, seated second from left, 1899
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Title page of book, DISCOURS PRONONCÉS PAR L'HON. G.E. CARTIER EN PRÉSENTANT LE BILL DE MILICE ET LES RÉSOLUTIONS CONCERNANT LES FORTIFICATIONS, published in 1868

Discours prononcés par l'Hon. G.E. Cartier en présentant le bill de milice et les résolutions concernant les fortifications, published in 1868
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In this section:

On July 1, 1867, having appointed Canada's first provincial lieutenant-governors, the next order of business for members of the new federal Cabinet was to identify their individual responsibilities as ministers of the Crown. The thirteen "Heads of Departments" affirmed by order-in-council would address executive imperatives such as the Privy Council presidency and abiding national concerns such as Finance, Fisheries, Agriculture, Militia and Justice. As has been the case in every Canadian Cabinet since that time, the individuals assigned to these roles were themselves representative of the nation's regional and cultural interests. They spanned the four diverse provinces of Canada in 1867 and included such prominent figures as Samuel Leonard Tilley (1818-1896) of New Brunswick (Minister of Customs), George-Étienne Cartier (1814-1873) of Quebec (Minister of Militia), Adams George Archibald (1814-1892) of Nova Scotia (Secretary of State for the Provinces) and John A. Macdonald (1815-1891) of Ontario (Minister of Justice and Attorney General).