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Sept. 25, 2012.docx

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Carleton University
Political Science
PSCI 2003
J Malloy

September 25, 2012 The Crown Continued Pro Con  Historical and traditional symbol; part  Outdated, elitist, British-only heritage of our heritage  Queen lives far away, rarely visits, and  Queen and Governor General as has questionable heirs unifying symbolic head of state. Non-  Uneven Quality of GG's partisan.  Governor General as “constitutional  Reserve powers are vague, even fire-extinguisher” dangerous Is Change Possible?  Courts and legal system based on embedded “invisible Crown” so everything would require a complete overhaul  Would require provincial unanimity and popular support  Australia attempted to do the same in 1999 and the referendum failed with 55% against because there was no clear idea of what would replace the idea of the crown  Who would be the head of state? Would they be appointed or elected?  Would threaten provincial and federal equality because the Governor General and Lieutenant Governor answer to the “crown” currently, and demoting the position of the Lieutenant Governor to answer to the Governor General would not be in the best interests of provincial powers  Would affect relations with Aboriginal Nations, because the Royal Proclamation that gave Aboriginals rights to their land involved a relationship to the crown and not the federal government The Constitutional Odyssey Amendment  How can a constitution be amended?  Unwritten conventions can evolve naturally by consensus and incremental change  Written ones need an amending formula  USA: Congress, President and 3/4 of States approval are needed to change constitution  British North America Act was an ordinary act of the British Parliament in London (technically doesn't need an amending formula because another act of legislation by British Parliament could easily overturn it, but it did require Canada asking British Parliament to pass legislation in order to change it) Patriation & Amendment  Gradual British-Canadian equality came about ◦ 1926 Balfour Declaration ◦ 1931 Statute of Westminster ◦ Canada and its constitution were no longer under direct British Control  But there was no Canadian amending formula  Main issues ◦ Do all provinces have to agree to changes? ◦ A majority? ◦ Any?  Temporary Solution ◦ Until there is agreement on a formula, all constitutional changes will still be made by Britain and only after unanimous federal and provincial agreement  Burkean: “Change is incremental & pragmatic; consent is implicit and informal”  Lockean “The constitution is a covenant among a sovereign people on how they are to be governed”  Question for a written amending formula and patriation from Britain took Canadians on a Lockean path  1960s-1990s: Era of “Mega-constitutional politics” or “Constitutional Odyssey”  Animated particularly – but by no means exclusively – by growth of Quebec separatism  Constitution making became a test of Canada itself Patriation: “Bringing the constitution home”  Near agreements in 1964 and 1971  1964: Federal approval + 2/3 provinces constituting 50+% of the population  1976: Quebec elects a separatist Parti Quebecois government  1980: Quebec Referendum #1, failed with 40% to 60% vote  Trudeau government promises renewed federation  1980-1981 negotiations ◦ At one point, Trudeau gets frustrated and tries to amend constitution without provincial consent ◦ Supreme C
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