User guide

On the argument that we would be well-served by drafting something similar to New Zealand’s cabinet manual, James Bowden notes that Lester B. Pearson’s government drafted something similar in 1968.

Most crucially, those calling for the creation of a “Canadian cabinet manual” have overlooked the existence of the Manual of Official Procedure of the Government of Canada, which the Privy Council Office produced under Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson in 1968. At the time of its production, no other Commonwealth country had ever produced a handbook on constitutional conventions of the Manual’s breadth and depth – a staggering 1,500 pages over two volumes. Sadly, as the Public Policy Forum pointed out in one of its reports, the Manual  has since been “shrouded in secrecy and kept from all but a few senior officials.” It was likely kept in cabinet confidence until at least 1988 and never generated much interest, until the wake of our latest cycle of minority parliaments.

Better still, James has copies of the manual and its appendices (note: those are large pdf files).