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CRIM135, TOPIC #4 - The Canadian Constitution (Part 1)

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Simon Fraser University
CRIM 135
Graeme Bowbrick

TOPIC #4 – THE CANADIAN CONSTITUTION (PART 1) I. Introduction 1. The Purpose of a Constitution 1) Set out basic structure/branches of government 2) Define/set out power of government 3) Place limitations on power of government 4) Set process by which changes can change into constitution 2. The Colonial Origins of Canada’s Constitution  Colonial Laws Validity Act of 1865 o passed through British parliament, stated the colonial legislature could make laws as long as it did not contradict with laws made by British parliament  Constitution Act of 1867 (formerly known as British North America Act of 1967)  Statute of West Minster of 1931 o Represented British parliament giving up power of certain dominions/colonies (including Canada) II. Pre-1982 Constitution: The Constitution Act, 1867 1. The Preamble  Like an introduction to a statute (a) The Purpose of a Preamble  Purpose is to introduce and explain significance of statute (b) The Implied Bill of Rights  Bill of Rights: Constitution document that sets out fundamental principles  Canada originally did not have Bill of Rights until 1982, but still had those rights because of Implied Bill of Rights implies that we had those rights  Arises from interpretation of preamble  “ with a constitution similar in principle to that of the United Kingdom” o If we were to have a constitution similar in principle to that of united kingdom, we must have, then, the same rights and freedom, same fundamental principles, as Britain has as of 1867  Imported 4 fundamental elements into Canadian constitution 1. Basic democratic rights. Include i. Freedom of speech ii. Freedom of the press iii. Freedom of assembly (form group, protest) iv. Freedom of association (associating with people you’ll never meet. i.e., a union, club, party) 2. Doctrine of Parliamentary Supremacy  Britain had kings and queens that had absolute power, people rejected.  This doctrine says that people have the right to govern themselves and no one has divine right to govern them 3. Doctrine of Responsible Government  Accountable to the people; election 4. Doctrine of the Rule of Law 1  Only way people can exercise power is under law  Law applies to ever
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