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Leaders of the Official Opposition

In the First Parliament, following the general election of 1867, the Members who sat in the House opposite the government of Sir John A. Macdonald did not constitute a party but a coalition of various interests, just as the government did. A number of historians state that John Sandfield Macdonald (Reform Member for Cornwall and the first Premier of Ontario), who had campaigned in alliance with Sir John A. Macdonald in the general election, was appointed Leader of the Opposition by the government.

Other historians hold that Alexander Mackenzie (Lambton) was not formally appointed Leader of the Opposition until March 6, 1873, when he assumed the leadership of the Liberal Party, he was de facto Leader of the Opposition as early as 1869.

(See; Buckingham, W. and Ross, G.W., The Hon. Alexander Mackenzie: His Life and Times, 5th ed., Toronto: Rose Publishing Company (Limited), 1892, pp. 242, 254, 329; 
Courtney, J.C., “Party Leadership Selection in the New Dominion”, Canadian Political Party Systems: A Reader, edited by R.K. Carty, Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 1992, p. 108; 
Creighton, D., John A. Macdonald: The Old Chieftain, Toronto: The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, 1955, p. 4; 
Schull, J., Edward Blake: The Man of the Other Way (1833-1881), Vol. I, Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1975, p. 46; 
Thomson, D.C., Alexander Mackenzie: Clear Grit, Toronto: The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, 1960, p. 103).
 
Source: House of Commons Procedure and Practice - Second Edition, 2009