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Canadian History XI. Defined in Oxford English Dictionary as follows: Noun 1) A body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to.

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Presentation on theme: "Canadian History XI. Defined in Oxford English Dictionary as follows: Noun 1) A body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to."— Presentation transcript:

1 Canadian History XI

2 Defined in Oxford English Dictionary as follows: Noun 1) A body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed. 2) The basic written set of principles and precedents of federal government in Canada which came into operation in 1867 and has been amended more than 30 times before its repatriation in 1982. (The US constitution came into operation in 1789 and has been amended 26 times since) 3) A decree, ordinance, or law (historical definition) CONSTITUTION

3 A constitution is considered the supreme law of a state's legal system. It is more fundamental than any particular law, and contains the principles with which all other legislation must accord. Any new government elected to the House of Commons that seeks to fulfill its campaign promises by passing new laws usually takes great care to make sure the new law conforms with the precedents set by the constitution. CONSTITUTION

4 Any time a new government fails to account for the legal parameters (the limits and the possibilities allowed) set out by the constitution, the government may find its new laws challenged in court as unconstitutional, or in violation of some other provision laid out in the constitution, like a right or freedom spelled out in the section known as the Charter of Rights & Freedoms. CONSTITUTION

5 If this happens, the government may choose to rewrite the new law so it conforms with the constitution, or it may choose to defend it in court as being within the power of the federal government to make a new law. It is common that such legal challenges will be defended by the government all the way to the Supreme Court. CONSTITUTION

6 Some constitutions are unwritten and are really more a set of customs and traditions that are based on statutes, case law, and conventions (as in the case of United Kingdom). It is more common that a constitution is written down and codified, or arranged according to a specific plan (like the Canadian and US constitutions. CONSTITUTION

7 A country’s constitution usually spells out the rights and responsibilities of 1) persons elected and/or appointed to serve in an official capacity, 2) individual citizens, and sometimes 3) identifiable groups of people. CONSTITUTION

8 Some constitutions are written all at once and then introduced to the people they are meant to govern. Others are written in pieces, with new amendments or laws added over time to an already-existing document. There is no single way a constitution gets written CONSTITUTION

9 The Canadian Constitution is generally understood to be made up of our old governing document, The Constitution Act of 1867 (AKA the British North America Act), and an additional seven-part document, known as the Constitution Act of 1982. Read pgs 187-190, from “The British Constitution” up to the end of “The Charter of Rights and Freedoms”. Make notes on any details of the Constitution’s contents. CONSTITUTION

10 The Canadian Constitution Until the repatriation of the Canadian constitution in 1982, the text of the old document said that any changes to the BNA Act had to be made by the British House of Commons for them to be the law of the land in Canada. When Canada 'brought it home', we finally became able to amend our own constitution without the need for the approval of the British government. CONSTITUTION

11 The BNA or Constitution Act of 1867 -names a new country to be called Canada made up of 1)the Province of Canada (Quebec and Ontario), 2)Nova Scotia, and 3)New Brunswick -lays out the representation of provinces and territories in the Canadian Senate and the House of Commons CONSTITUTION

12 The BNA Act also… - lays out the distribution of powers between the Parliament of Canada in Ottawa and the provincial legislatures. - spells out the applicable civil and criminal laws of the land - the government's use and acknowledgment of French and English as the two founding languages - provides for the admission of Great Britain's other possessions in North America CONSTITUTION

13 In addition to all the things laid out in the BNA act, The Constitution Act of 1982… -lays out the rights and freedoms of individuals and groups in a special part of the document called the Charter of Rights and Freedoms - lays out the rights of Aboriginal peoples CONSTITUTION

14 The Constitution Act of 1982 also… - lays out a formula for equalization, ensuring parts of Canada that are doing well economically share some of their wealth with other parts of the country experiencing lower levels of economic activity. - lays out a process for amending the constitution itself. CONSTITUTION

15 Also… Canada's constitution is more than just these things and any amendments made between the passage of these two documents in 1867 and 1982. Section 52 mentions the more than 30 bits of legislation and orders included are also part of the constitution. These amendments came from the British Parliament, The Parliament of Canada, and from the legislatures of provinces where the BNA act allowed changes. These amendments account for things like provinces brought into confederation between 1867 and 1982, and any changes to the existing wording that govern the relationship between Ottawa and the provincial legislatures. CONSTITUTION

16 Activity: Step 1: With your partner, read over the section of the Canadian constitution provided to you. Step 2: Determine under in which section you think this excerpt is included. Is your excerpt talking about the government and its responsibilities? Or is it talking about citizens and their rights? Step 3: In point form, write down on a sheet of paper what you think the excerpt says about the rights or responsibilities it describes. The text will require careful readings and possibly some discussion between partners about what it means. Do your best to translate the legal language into plain English. CONSTITUTION

17 General Rules of Gov’tGeneral Rules of House of Commons JudicialProvincial Legislative Powers Money Votes & Royal AssentProvincial Executive Power Equalization PaymentsTaxation General Rules of the SenateObligations of Senators Amendment Procedures Property of Canada Aboriginal RightsUnion of Canada Primacy of ParliamentFederal Executive Power The Charter of Rights and Freedoms Admission of other colonies into Confederation Distribution of Powers between Federal & Provincial Gov’ts CONSTITUTION

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