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Reform Bill of 1936

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Watson

Governor-General Douglas Watson.

The Reform Bill of 1936 was an act passed by the Grand Council of the Confederation of North America and signed into law by Governor-General Douglas Watson in 1936. The act served to amend the Second Britannic Design by creating the office of Council President to serve as the designated successor to the Governor-General.

The Reform Bill was created in response to the succession crisis created by the death in office of Governor-General Henderson Dewey on May 10, 1929. The Grand Council was not in session at the time of Dewey's death, so that no successor could be immediately selected. Although the Second Design stipulated that the Viceroy was to serve as Acting Governor-General in the interim before the Grand Council could select a new one, this did not happen after Dewey's death, though Sobel does not say why. Instead, Majority Leader John Jenckinson became the de facto Acting Governor-General, holding a press conference to announce that the Grand Council's Liberal caucus would meet the next day and not adjourn until a new Governor-General had been selected.

The Reform Bill created the office of Council President, who would be chosen by the Grand Council at the start of its term. In addition to presiding over the Grand Council, the Council President would succeed to the Governor-Generalship in case of the death or incapacitation of the Governor-General, and fill out the remainder of his term. Under the Reform Bill of 1936, Council President James Billington succeeded Bruce Hogg after the latter's death on September 16, 1950. The Reform Bill apparently does not come into play when the Governor-General resigns or is removed from office, since Perry Jay's successor was chosen by the People's Coalition caucus after his resignation on September 2, 1966.

Sobel's source for the Reform Bill of 1936 is John Deak's The Britannic Design in the Twentieth Century (New York, 1959).

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