POL214Y1 Lecture Notes - Canada Act 1982, Privy Council Of The United Kingdom

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Published on 1 Aug 2012
School
UTSG
Department
Political Science
Course
POL214Y1
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POL214 LECTURE 1
2012-05-15
Constitutional Foundations of Canada
- 1867 Confederation is settled
oAimed to bring together colonial legislatures of Ontario, Quebec, New
Brunswick and Nova Scotia
oGoal of Confederation
Fend off military threat and economic expansion of the US
Overcome deadlock in colonial legislatures
Provide financial foundation for Western expansion
Bridge religious and linguistic gaps
- Three Central Challenges of Confederation
oHow to design a national government to unite existing colonies of NB,
NS to Canada
o How to forge a federal system linking national government to the newly
created provinces
oHow to create a new relationship to the British crown as Canada
changed from colonial status to domino to independent nation
Most of the challenges were resolved with the Constitution Act
1867
- What Constitution Means?
oA constitution is (usually) a document outlining the basic governmental
structure of a country and the elemental values and principles on which
the country is founded
oSome constitutions are more written that others
Britain
Unwritten constitution
Legal documents of the British Constitution exists but not
in a single document
Constitutional development occurred over time
Documents are scattered
America
Written constitution
One single well known document that contained all laws,
etc and was is an easy reference
Canada
A mixture of written and unwritten documents
- Constitution Act 1867
oCreation of parliament with two legislatures on elected house of
commons and appointed senate
oA governor general (appointed by the British Crown) whose consent
must always be required before any bill passes before the two chambers
to become law
oAfter 1867 additional provinces and territories were added
oDespite new institutions the British Privy Council (our current Supreme
Court) was overseeing issues on Canadian soil
- 1931 the Statue of Westminster
oBritish parliament passed new law allowing Canada to govern much of
itself
oBritish crown did not want to interfere with another Constitution
oReforms implemented during Trudeau era
- 1982 Canada Act
oRepatriation of Canadian Constitution
oPassed by British Parliament
oCanadian Constitution returned to Canadian soil as it was always located
in Britain
oBritain will never again pass an amendment to change the Canadian
Constitution
oGovernments are formed in the House of Commons
Prime Minister and Cabinet must come from the legislation
The only way they can continue to govern is if they have the
majority of consent from the MPs of the House of Commons
oBNA Act
- Federalism
oAt the time was a revolutionary concept
oFederalism pervades all out institutions
Powers of reserve/disallowance (centralizing powers) eroded over
time
Governor general less spying for PM on provinces
oMeans that power is divided upon federal and local governments
Provincial government takes care of local matters
Federal government takes care of the bigger global matters
Today the most important issues are now being handled by
provincial governments not federal

Document Summary

1867 confederation is settled: aimed to bring together colonial legislatures of ontario, quebec, new, goal of confederation. Fend off military threat and economic expansion of the us. Most of the challenges were resolved with the constitution act. What constitution means: a constitution is (usually) a document outlining the basic governmental structure of a country and the elemental values and principles on which the country is founded, some constitutions are more written that others. Legal documents of the british constitution exists but not in a single document: constitutional development occurred over time, documents are scattered. America: written constitution, one single well known document that contained all laws, etc and was is an easy reference. Canada: a mixture of written and unwritten documents. Prime minister and cabinet must come from the legislation. The only way they can continue to govern is if they have the majority of consent from the mps of the house of commons.