POL214 Canadian Politics w/1 September 14
What is a constitution? Three pillars of canadian constitution. Differentiate between the big C
constitution and the small c constitution.
Constitution:Outlines divisions of power between levels of government.Abody of fundamental
principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is
acknowledged to be governed. Supreme law of the land in a given territory.
1867; constitution act; British NorthAmericaAct (BNAAct). 1982; changed to the constitution
ConstitutionAct 1982; does not replace the BNAact, it adds to it. It says about the constitution:
section 52 of the constitution act the constitution. of canada is the supreme law of canada and
any law that is inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution is to the extent of the
inconsistency that law has no force or effect.
Part of constition; Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In 1982 people became part of the
constitution. Constitutionalized rights; before the only right had that couldnt be taken away was
free of charge of crime to plead case in english or french.
Violated Section 8; everyone has right to be safe against unreasonable search and seizure.
Anyone whos rights and freedoms are denyed, they can apply to a court for revenue
Constitution establishes and defines political community. Defines what canadian values are.
19 Century, constitution referred to the parliament; held by the parliament. The rights currently
had, were whatever parliament gave you. Is no longer just the structures of governmental
powers, incoroporates feminine rights and freedoms and individuals and groups. Not so much in
the United States. Language groups have certain rights, as do aboriginals in canada.
Both the federal and provincial levels can argue in protecting fisheries theres an environmental
concern. Every constitution deals with issue of who should rule. Because the constitution
includes charter of rights, doesnt mean theyre being protected.
In U.S constitution treated like a sacred text.
1988: Malroney: the constitution of canada is not worth the paper its written on.Aconstitution is
something shared by a society.Documents that link past present and future Essence of a
constitution is not whats written down. Its what we think the constitution is; our imagination of
it. Government is whoever governor general allows. Constitutional convention: unwritten
constitution, but its understood and obligatory. If government loses the confidence of the
people, they must dissolve.
87% of canadians believe violent crime in canada has gone up in the last 10 years.
Developing countries have higher homicide rates. Toronto has 5mil people, 100 homicides.
www.notesolution.com Number one media covered crime is homicide.
Strengths of UCR Data
Standardized reporting practices that permit comparisons over time and place.
Centralized reporting agency
Revised ucr helps us better understand where and ywhen crime takes place
Crime trends analysis can identify emerging problems and contribute to policy development.
Non reporting of crime. Most criminal incidents become known when civilians make a report to
the police. Unfortunately most crimes are not reported.
When institutional reporting practices change, as they did under safe schools act, the rates for
cetrain types of crimes will appear to increase.
Changing legal definitions can make it hard to track trends. Cases screened as unfounded. Ucr
reports often vary with respect to accuracy and completeness.
Only the most serious crime is recorded.
Unofficial crime data:
Self report surveys
Combined victimization self report survey
Public opinion surveys ask questions about fear of crime, attitudes, towards the police, courts
POL214 w/2 Tues Sept 21
What is the constitution?
3 Constitutional Pillars
Big C vs small c Constitutions
Responsible government 1848
Charter of Rights 1982
Pairing: Matching up of a negative and a positive vote to cancel out if one member should not be
present the day of the vote.
In responsible government; whoever was in the government had to maintain the confidence of
the popularly elected legislature.
Federal system for canada, vast country, vast languages. Canadians subject to two parliaments;
federal and provincial. In constitution act,Canadians are asking british to give them a constitution
www.notesolution.com similar to the UK (Responsible government)
Bifurcated Parliamentary supremacy
At bifurcated parliamentary, divided. One level of government can sue another level. Canada
wanted a constitution similar, but the UK doesnt have a written constitution. Canada had to spell
out what is the federal and provincial parliaments responsible for?
Eduction covered by provinces.
Charter in 1982l we included not just parliament federal and provincial, we included anyone.
Everyone is referred to in the charter. Move from parliamentary supremacy to bifurcated
parliamentary in 1982, full blown constitutional suprmacy. What this means: parliament cant
violate other things in constitution. Section 1-34 of the charter of rights and freedoms.
The charter limits parliamentary supremacy; parliament cannot do anything it wants. Doesnt
eclipse it though. The charter has qualified charter supremacy. Constitutional supremacy does
not mean the federal principle is gone. Powers that provinces have; over property and civil
Difference between big C constitution and c constitution.
Big C constitution: the formal texts of the constitution. They are what is written down. The two
most important documents are the constitution act of 1867(BNA) and of 1982 (Charter). Not
everything is there, read section 52: schedule thats attached.Alist of other things part of
contitution like the ontario boundaries act.
Formal amendments over time. Some are acts of parliament.Alberta act, etc. Things parliament
didnt pass that are part of constitution. Counsil refers to cabinet. PEI came into confederation in
1873. Negotiated terms of union with the federal cabinet without canada having a vote on it.
Constitution is entrenched. Is supreme court of canada part of constitution? Dispute. The BNA
says federal parliament can create a general court for canada. If they can create it, cant they get
rid of it now?
To change big C constitution, very hard harder than regular laws.
Small c constitution?
Constitution of canada includes things that are not written. It refers to all the constitutional rules
such as some acts of parliament, some orders and counsel and judicial decisions about the
constitution. Nowhere does it say you cant discriminate under section 15 on certain grounds.
Another part is the constitutional voncentions, understood rules. If a party wins majority of seats
in house of commons, leader should be called upon to be the prime minister. Whats the purpose
of these conventions?
Supreme court said:
www.notesolution.com Many canadians be surprised to learn, important parts of canadian constitution which they are
very familiar with, are nowhere to be found in the law(written) part of constitution. Ensure the
legal framework will be operated with the prevailing constitutional values of the period. If
someone violates a convention you cannot go to court. You can get the media to make a fuss and
go to the Governor general. Public opinion will decide when the electorate goes to vote.the
consequences of not upholding are political, not legal.
Constitution of canada includes judicial decisions, constitutional conventions, customs (pairing,
When quebec moved to have a referendum in the 1990s, and it almost passed, the government
put a question to supreme court; (reference question) ask the court for an opinion on something.
In U.S it has to be specific. The court doesnt have to give one.
1) under constitution of canada, can the national assembly, legislature or government of canada
affect the government of canada unilaterally?(Can Quebec leave on its own?)
2)Can it do this under the laws of the constitution of canada? (nowhere procedure for leaving?)
Constitution is more than a written test? It embraces the entire global system of rules and
principles which govern the exercise of constitutional authority. Asuperficial reading of selected
provisions of readings without more may be misleading. Its necessary to make a more profound
investigation. Underlying principles that animate/give life to the whole of the consitution, must
investigate: principle of democracy, federalism constitutionalism and the rule of law. Lastly,
Respect for minorities. (anglophone and aboriginals in quebec)
Municipalities only have whatever powers the province gives them. Section 95; concurrent
powers; federal and provincial have power over immigration.
Ultra Vires:Acting outside of the parliamentary powers.
Intravires: acting within it.
Competing constitutional visions
Federal provincial ensemble
Pan Canadian view: Pierre Trudeau in terms of defining what is canada and who speaks for
canada and what is the national interest. This was the rational behind trudeaus argument when
the federal government under trudeau wanted to patriate the constitution/bring it back in a way
so that britain had nothing to do with it, without referencing to the provinces. Trudeau said
we(federal) parliament speaks for canada, as the one institution we all share as canadian
citizens. Only body shared by all canadians. Trudeaus charter of rights ended up in constitution;