The Abolition of the Legislative Council of Nova Scotia, 1925-1928
204 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2013
Date Written: December 7, 2011
From 1758 to 1928, Nova Scotia had a bicameral Legislature made up of the House of Assembly and the Legislative Council. In the period following Confederation, the Legislative Council came under increasing fire as unnecessary, expensive, and anachronistic. Yet, for a period of half a century, all efforts to abolish it failed. Following the landslide Conservative victory in the provincial election of 1925, however, incoming Premier Edgar Nelson Rhodes led a crusade to abolish the Legislative Council once and for all, a crusade that ultimately led to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Westminster. Armed with a Privy Council opinion permitting him to dismiss existing members of the Legislative Council and appoint an unlimited number of replacements, on February 24, 1928, Rhodes was able to push through an abolition bill. At the end of the 1928 session, the Legislative Council ceased to exist, its powers devolved upon the House of Assembly and Lieutenant-Governor. This thesis examines the history of this battle, including the nature of the Nova Scotia constitution, Rhodes’ initial push for abolition, his appeal to Ottawa when that proved unsuccessful, the litigation before the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, and the final abolition of the Legislative Council.
Keywords: Legislative Council of Nova Scotia, Edgar Nelson Rhodes, Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Senate Reform, Nova Scotia, Canada, Legal History, History
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