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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Nelson Wiseman

Lecture 1 “The constitution and constitutional change” 9/9/2013 st 1 term: Government/ Institutions 2 term: Political/ Identity issues Canada is a Federal government: Separated into a main parliament and provincial parliaments. Professor: Interested in power, not the democratic aspects of Canada. Constitution  Supreme law of Canada  A legal code, operates within a geographical area (mainly in Canada, subject to foreign laws in different countries)  Defines a political community, provides legitimacy  Only governments/institutions were covered by the constitution until 1982  Entrenches laws, hard to change o All laws must be consistent with the constitution  Once can only act against places that are constitutionally regulated/governed  Constitutions don’t guarantee those rights o Can have additional rights through ‘common law’, laws that were not in the constitution  Before the Canadian Supreme court, there was only a British one in Canada, called JCPC (Judicial Committee of the Privy Council)  A constitution is like a free, living organism o Continuously grows and changes  Wasn’t created due to a popular movement, or looked up to o But it previously confirmed Canada’s colonial relation with Britain  The founders wanted a system of responsible government o This means whoever serves has to have the confidence of the popularly elected house of commons  People who signed the constitution: 3 Quebecers and the British Queen o The constitution applies to Quebec o Quebec behaves according to the constitution, but doesn’t necessarily accept its legitimacy  The constitution is flexible, for example Canada became independent from Britain by transforming its constitution  Only areas under federal jurisdiction can be effected/changed by the federal government  Constitutions reflect relations among government and citizens, within governments, and be
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