A History of Canada - Vol. 2

By Gustave Lanctot; Margaret M. Cameron | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE
REVIEW: POLITICAL ORGANIZATION
1663-1713

Instruments of administration. Functions of the governor and the intendant. Local governments. Municipal organization. The Sovereign Council. Finance: receipts and expenditures. Permanent deficit. Proposed taxes. Import duties. Participation of citizens in government: official consultation, meeting, petitions. Protest demonstrations.

The administrative structure of New France under the royal régime, introduced in 1663, received its final form in 1665 with the appointment of an intendant.

The governor, as personal representative of the King, occupied the highest place in the administration. His first duty was to maintain French sovereignty in the country, and he had exclusive and sovereign jurisdiction in all military matters. He directed the policy of Canada in its intercourse with other colonies, with which he was empowered to contract agreements and treaties, and he was also responsible for Indian affairs including decisions concerning war and peace. In the judicial field, the governor's function was that of an auxiliary to the intendant, but in case of a crisis involving "the service of the King and the public good," his decision was supreme. Financial matters were the responsibility of the intendant, but the annual budget was drawn up in consultation with the governor, who also decided questions relating to military expenses. Moreover, when confronted with an urgent necessity the governor could authorize an extraordinary expenditure, in which case he was required to report at once to the Minister the reasons for his action. In the domain of religion, the governor and the intendant shared responsibility for providing the colonists with facilities for the practice of their religion and for supplying the needs of priests engaged in the work of evan-

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