2A constitution provides the basic framework for a nation’s form of government and legal system. Canada’s constitution describes the structure of the federal and provincial governments and allocates powers to each level of government.
3A constitution also sets out the procedures for making laws and defines who will be involved in making them.
4Sources of Canada’s Constitution There are three main sources of Canada’s constitution:The Constitution Act, 1867 and the Constitution Act, 1982.These set out the basic structure for Canada’s government and divides power between the federal and provincial governments.
52) Unwritten set of rules/conventions 3) Court rulings that interpret the written constitution. These rulings become precedents, guides to be used in settling other constitutional cases.
6British North America Act Canada became a country in 1867 when the provinces Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia united under the BNA Act.Changes to the BNA Act had to be passed by British parliament until the Act was patriated (brought home to Canada) in 1982 and renamed the Constitution Act, 1867.
7The Fathers of Confederation adopted a federal structure of government for the new nation, in which power would be divided between a central (federal) government and regional (provincial) government.
9Front Row (left to right): E. Whalen, A. T. Galt, George Brown, J. A Front Row (left to right): E. Whalen, A.T. Galt, George Brown, J.A. Macdonald, Col. J.H. Gray, C. Tupper, .-P. TachM, S.L. Tilley, George-. Cartier, J. McCully, E.B. Chandler, W.H. Steeves, Lt. Col. J.H. Gray. Back Row (left to right): G. Coles, H.L. Langevin, E. Palmer, O. Mowat, J.M. Johnson, A.G. Archibald, C. Fisher, J. Cockburn, J.C. Chapais, W.A. Henry, R.B. Dickey, A.A. Macdonald, W.H. Pope, J.A. Shea, F.B.T. Carter, H. Bernard, J.H. Haviland.
10The federal system would allow the central government to look after issues of national concern, such as defence and economic development.
11Competing interests, such as education, would be handed by the provinces. For example, Quebec and Ontario would want French-speaking and English-speaking schools respectfully.
12Canada’s Unwritten Constitution The Constitution Act, 1867 did not include a prime minister, even though Canada has had a prime minster since Confederation.Conventions are unwritten rules of political conduct.For example, a Cabinet minister must resign if she/he does not agree with a decision reached by the Cabinet.
13Court DecisionsWhen there is a dispute over the meaning/intent of certain phrases, sections or even individual words in the constitution, the courts are called upon to resolve it.Government must comply with these judgments.
14The importance of education Education was important to the Fathers of Confederation because control of the school system meant control of socialization of future generations.In Quebec, provincial control of education meant that French language would be used as the language of instruction and schools would continue to be run by Roman Catholic Church.
16The Municipal LevelThe Constitution Act, 1867 made cities the responsibility of provincial governments.The provinces then enacted municipal acts, which gave cities the authority to provide basic services and to pay for them by property taxes and service charges.The ability of cities to pass local laws is known as bylaws.