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.
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