Secretary of State for Canada

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The position of 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 the Dominion of 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.

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 responsible for the Great Seal of Canada and various functions of state associated with it.

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.

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.

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.

Secretaries of State[edit]

# Secretary of State Prime Minister Tenure
1. Hector Louis Langevin Macdonald July 1, 1867 – December 7, 1869
2. James Cox Aikins Macdonald December 8, 1867 – November 5, 1873
3. David Christie Mackenzie November 7, 1873 – January 8, 1874
4. Richard William Scott Mackenzie January 9, 1874 – October 8, 1878
5. James Cox Aikins Macdonald October 19, 1878 – November 7, 1880
6. John O'Connor Macdonald November 8, 1880 – May 19, 1881
7. Joseph-Alfred Mousseau Macdonald May 20, 1881 – July 28, 1882
8. Joseph Adolphe Chapleau Macdonald July 29, 1882 – June 6, 1891
Abbott June 16, 1891 – January 24, 1892
9. James Colebrooke Patterson Abbott January 25, 1892 – November 24, 1892
10. John Costigan Thompson December 5, 1892 – December 12, 1894
11. Arthur Rupert Dickey Bowell December 21, 1894 – March 25, 1895
12. Walter Humphries Montague Bowell March 26, 1895 – December 20, 1895
* Joseph Aldéric Ouimet (acting) Bowell December 21, 1895 – January 5, 1896
* Thomas Mayne Daly (acting) Bowell January 6, 1896 – January 14, 1896
13. Sir Charles Tupper Bowell January 15, 1896 – April 27, 1896
as PM May 1, 1896 – July 8, 1896
14. Richard William Scott Laurier July 13, 1896 – October 8, 1908
15. Charles Murphy Laurier October 9, 1908 – October 6, 1911
16. William James Roche Borden October 10, 1911 – October 28, 1912
17. Louis Coderre Borden October 29, 1912 – October 5, 1915
18. Pierre Édouard Blondin Borden October 6, 1915 – January 7, 1917
19. Esioff Léon Patenaude Borden January 8, 1917 – June 12, 1917
* Albert Sévigny (acting) Borden June 13, 1917 – August 24, 1917
20. Arthur Meighen Borden August 25, 1917 – October 12, 1917
21. Martin Burrell Borden October 12, 1917 – December 30, 1919
22. Arthur Lewis Sifton Borden December 31, 1919 – July 10, 1920
Meighen July 10, 1920 – January 21, 1921
23. Sir Henry Lumley Drayton Meighen January 24, 1921 – September 20, 1921
24. Rodolphe Monty Meighen September 21, 1921 – December 29, 1921
25. Arthur Bliss Copp King December 29, 1921 – September 24, 1921
26. Walter Edward Foster King September 26, 1925 – November 12, 1925
* Charles Murphy (acting) King November 13, 1925 – March 23, 1926
* Ernest Lapointe (acting) King March 24, 1926 – June 28, 1926
27. Guillaume André Fauteux Meighen August 23, 1926 – September 25, 1926
28. Fernand Rinfret King September 25, 1926 – August 7, 1930
29. Charles Hazlitt Cahan Bennett August 7, 1930 – October 23, 1935
Fernand Rinfret (second time) King October 23, 1935 – July 12, 1939
* Ernest Lapointe (acting – 2nd time) King July 26, 1939 – May 8, 1940
30. Pierre-François Casgrain King May 9, 1940 – December 14, 1941
31. Norman Alexander McLarty King December 15, 1941 – April 17, 1945
32. Paul Joseph James Martin King April 18, 1945 – December 11, 1946
33. Colin William George Gibson King December 12, 1946 – November 15, 1948
St. Laurent November 15, 1948 – March 31, 1949
34. Frederick Gordon Bradley St. Laurent March 31, 1949 – June 11, 1953
35. Jack Pickersgill St. Laurent June 11, 1953 – June 30, 1954
36. Roch Pinard St. Laurent July 1, 1954 – June 21, 1957
37. Ellen Louks Fairclough Diefenbaker June 21, 1957 – May 11, 1958
38. Henri Courtemanche Diefenbaker May 12, 1958 – June 19, 1960
* Léon Balcer (acting minister) Diefenbaker June 21, 1960 – October 10, 1960
39. Noël Dorion Diefenbaker October 11, 1960 – July 5, 1962
* Léon Balcer (acting minister – 2nd time) Diefenbaker July 11, 1962 – August 8, 1962
40. George Ernest Halpenny Diefenbaker August 9, 1962 – April 22, 1963
Jack Pickersgill (second time) Pearson April 22, 1963 – February 2, 1964
41. Maurice Lamontagne Pearson February 2, 1964 – December 17, 1965
42. Judy LaMarsh Pearson December 17, 1965 – April 9, 1968
* John Joseph Connolly (acting minister) Pearson April 10, 1968 – April 20, 1968
43. Jean Marchand Trudeau April 20, 1968 – July 5, 1968
44. Gérard Pelletier Trudeau July 5, 1968 – November 26, 1972
45. James Hugh Faulkner Trudeau November 27, 1972 – September 13, 1976
46. John Roberts Trudeau September 14, 1976 – June 3, 1979
47. David MacDonald Clark June 4, 1979 – March 2, 1980
48. Francis Fox Trudeau March 3, 1980 – September 21, 1981
49. Gerald Regan Trudeau September 22, 1981 – October 5, 1982
50. Serge Joyal Trudeau October 6, 1982 – June 29, 1984
Turner June 30, 1984 – September 16, 1984
51. Walter McLean Mulroney September 17, 1984 – April 19, 1985
52. Benoit Bouchard Mulroney April 20, 1985 – June 29, 1986
53. David Crombie Mulroney June 30, 1986 – March 30, 1988
54. Lucien Bouchard Mulroney March 31, 1988 – January 29, 1989
55. Gerry Weiner Mulroney January 30, 1989 – April 20, 1991
56. Robert de Cotret Mulroney April 21, 1991 – January 3, 1993
57. Monique Landry Mulroney January 4, 1993 – June 24, 1993
Campbell June 24, 1993 – November 3, 1993
58. Sergio Marchi Chrétien November 4, 1993 – January 24, 1996
59. Lucienne Robillard Chrétien January 25, 1996 – July 12, 1996

See also[edit]