Background Defines the political structure of the country Outlines the relationship between government and the people
Outlines structure of government Canada is a monarchy Provides a parliament of which the H of C is most important part Establishes two levels of government, federal and provincial Establishes three branches of government, legislative, executive, judicial
What is it based on? Rule of Law = guarantees all Canadians both justice and equality before the law No one is above the laws of the land Governments power is limited by the laws of the land
History of Constitution Royal Proclamation of 1763 Quebec Act of 1774 Constitutional Act of 1791 Act of Union 1840 British North America Act 1867 Constitution Act 1982
Royal Proclamation 1763 Confirmed British control of Great Lakes area and St Lawrence. Declared that English Laws and institutions as well as English language would prevail in politics of Quebec French language and Catholicism tolerated
Quebec Act of 1774 Emphasize that English criminal law would be emphasized in colony Restored the use of Civil Code which is still in use in Quebec French speakers could hold positions in public office
Constitutional Act 1791 Divided Quebec into two parts, Upper and Lower Canada Lower Canada = English Criminal Law and French Civil code Upper Canada = English Criminal Law and English Common Law
Constitutional Act cont’d… All colonies of North America granted representative government Only male property owners could vote Frustration grew over the lack of power the elected officials had One of major causes of rebellions of 1837 and 1838
Act of Union 1840 Was recommended that two Canada’s be reunited Under reunification both would be represented equally in the Senate and elected assembly French was widely used in proceedings Late 1840’s responsible government came into being
Responsible Government Executive branch of government is answerable to and must act on the decisions of the legislative branch.
British North America Act 1867 By 1860’s colonies becoming dissatisfied with political structure In 1867, confederation occurred between the Canada’s, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Known as the BNA Act of 1867 Divided Canada into Ontario and Quebec Four provinces in confederation
BNA Act continued…. Made up of 147 sections divided into eight categories: 1.) Terms of Union 2.) Executive Power 3.) Legislative Power 4.) Judicial Power 5.) Revenue and Taxation 6.) Provincial Institutions 7.) Distribution of Legislative Power 8.) Admission of other colonies into Confederation
Amendments to BNA Amending formula = method by which changes could be made to BNA Who has right to suggest changes? Struggle between responsibilities of federal government and provinces. Traditionally done by Britain making Canada not really sovereign.
Changes to Constitution Many federal-provincial arguments during the 1960’s and 1970’s The Quiet Revolution in Quebec marked the beginning of a period of Change for the Canadian constitution. Quebec began to consider separation To persuade Quebec, Prime Minister Trudeau and his government offered a new constitutional arrangement Trudeau…in his prime - - ->
Change to Constitution Constitution Act 1982 included: 1) Charter of Rights and Freedoms to protect Quebec’s interests 2) Amending formula = 7 of 10 provinces representing 50% of population of Canada