Presentation on theme: "The Importance of a Constitution Basic framework for a nation’s form of government and legal system A nation’s rule book re: making, amending or revoking."— Presentation transcript:
The Importance of a Constitution Basic framework for a nation’s form of government and legal system A nation’s rule book re: making, amending or revoking laws (which must reflect values) Written or unwritten (Canada has both)
Sources: 1.1. BNA Act/Constitution Act 1867 and Constitution Act 1982 2.2. Unwritten Set of Rules/Conventions ~ become obligatory due to tradition (Parliamentary system, common law) 3. Court Rulings that interpret Written Constitution ~ create precedents 1.82
Canada’s Constitution Canada’s Written Constitution –July 1, 1867 –Canada becomes a new dominion –Federal and provincial powers were divided
Canada’s Constitution Canada’s unwritten Constitution –Prime Minister –Conventions adopted by UK (e.g Cabinet, parliamentary and party systems) Court Decisions –Courts resolve disputes over meaning or intent of law
Components of the Constitution 1. Jurisdictional Powers 2. Parliamentary Democracy 3. Three Branches of Gov’t 4. Legislative Supremacy 5. Constitutional Amendments
Parliamentary Democracy election every 5 years leader of the party with most votes becomes PM and appoints Cabinet Opposing parties = OPPOSITION which exists to promote accountability of gov’t
Division of Powers Section 91: Federal powers –Central matters –Defense, economy, criminal law, trade, property, Section 92: Provincial powers –Matters of interest to the province –Education, health care, environment Section 93: Education –The responsibility for Education across Canada to be available in both languages and to have Roman Catholic education publicly funded.
Question related to section 93: Education Should Canada publically fund all religious schools?
Legislative Supremacy Fed. and Prov. gov’ts retain ultimate authority to make, amend, and abolish laws in Canada Role of Judiciary is to ensure law is applied equally and fairly Since 1982 Courts have been granted more power to declare laws invalid s.33 notwithstanding clause
Amending Constitution requires support of Parliament, Senate, 2/3 of provinces representing at least more than 50% of the population of all the provinces s.38 of Constitution Act 1982 allows provinces to opt out of an amendment (would not apply to that province) constantly changing due to judicial interpretation of Constitution
Timeline of Canada’s Constitution July 1, 1867 British North American Act defines the operation of the Government of Canada. Serves as a base for the Canadian constitution. A nation’s rule book re: legal matters The Act created a
Statute of Westminster, 1931 Canada made it’s own laws British laws no longer applied to Canada Canada was independent of Britain’s foreign policy. WW2 - Canada declared war 6 days after the British and entered the war as an independent nation. Patriation (Homecoming) of the Constitution, 1982 Entrenchment of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Included an amendment formula Quebec did not sign, felt excluded from discussions Country was now fully independent in all areas of law Allowed for all future amendments to be made within country
The Meech Lake Accord, 1987 Recognized Quebec as a ‘distinct society’ 10 provinces agreed Aboriginal voice not heard Provinces started to rethink the idea of Ouebec as a distinct society Accord Failed The Charlottetown Accord, 1992 Attempt to resolve disputes, satisfy Quebec Altered divisions of power: fed/prov/courts Altered status of Aboriginal groups Apprehension to changes and Quebec distinction: Accord Failed Quebec Referendum, 1995 50.56% voted NO to Quebec separating
For more Info… Check out the agenda with Steve Paikin for a look back at the significance of the patriation of the Constitution: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n- PdDjhi_eA