While British Columbia has changed considerably since the province first entered confederation in 1871, many of its political institutions remain intact. This thesis explores the evolution of one of these institutions—the political executive—in order to better understand contemporary politics in British Columbia. The research presented herein suggests that British Columbia has evolved from a traditional executive, when the province entered confederation, to a departmentalised executive in the 1960s and 1970s. The mid to late 1970s brought about an institutionalised executive while, more recently, British Columbia has moved towards a first minister centred model of government. The study concludes by examining some of the implications of a first minister centred executive. In particular, the thesis suggests that first minister centred government poses challenges to the conventions of responsible government. First minister centred government may also be detrimental to the customary relationship between the political executive and the public bureaucracy.
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