“Peace, Order and good Government”

Strictly speaking, “Peace, Order and good Government” (POGG) speaks to the residual powers of federal government, in Canada’s foundational constitutional document, the 1867 British North America Act.1 The term also figures heavily in the political framework of Australia, New Zealand and formerly South Africa.

For the last century and a half, that section, and the acronym POGG, have been a focus of both ongoing debate among constitutional scholars and of frequent contention by various provincial governments, arguing against definitions of POGG that are too broad.

Another ongoing, and more ironic, usage of “Peace, Order and good Government” is in contrasting its quotidian nature with the stirring invocation of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” in the American Declaration of Independence. This contrast can be seen as between a deferential Canadian view of government and a suspicion of government born out of revolution.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons


  1. CBC Digital Archives, Bringing home the British North America Act.

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