King−Byng affair

June 22, 2017

Lord Byng of Vimy

Lord Byng of Vimy. Patent and Copyright Office, Library and Archives Canada, C-033239


Facing a non-confidence motion in Parliament in 1926, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King asked Governor General Lord Julian Byng of Vimy to dissolve Parliament and call an election. Byng refused because the motion was still under debate and, instead, requested the Opposition form a government under Arthur Meighen. When an election was finally called later that year, the issue of the constitutional powers of the prime minister over those of the governor general were hotly debated. King won that election and, since that time, no governor general has publicly refused the advice of a prime minister.

Each day for 150 days leading up to the opening of the Canadian History Hall, we’re presenting one moment among the many that have shaped our country. Discover more of Canada’s significant historical events in the new Canadian History Hall, opening July 1, 2017.