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PSCI 2003 Study Guide - Final Guide: Constitution Act, 1982, Responsible Government, Flag Of Canada

Political Science
Course Code
PSCI 2003
J Malloy
Study Guide

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PSCI 2003 Terms and Concepts Review Sheet
Chapter 1 Historical Foundations
1) What is a constitution? Underlying rules and norms of a society or organization basic
framework for the whole political system.
There are three types of constitutions: written, unwritten and partly written
There are two types of constitution making styles: Burkean traditional, organic,
evolving ex. United Kingdom unwritten constitution like the magna carta and
Lockean contract, one-time agreement ex. USA written constitution
Canada has a partly written constitution because it has written constitutions such
as the Constitutional Act of 1867 and the Charter if Rights and Freedom and it has
unwritten conventions such as responsible government. It has key documents
which are important, but also has unwritten norms.
2) Canada as a historic accident:
Country came about arbitrarily there was no set plan for Canada and how it was
created. British had to figure out how to stabilize globalization and did this trough two
key moves, which were the:
1763 Royal Proclamation: created the British colony of Quebec. It was the first
distinctively Canadian constitutional document, a document that laid down the rules for
governing the British North American colonies that comprised the territory of what
would later become Canada. It set out guidelines for European settlement of Aboriginal
Treaties. It also laid down legal rules about how future settlers in the British North
American colonies were to acquire land from Aboriginals via formal treaties. These
treaties protected aboriginal land and guaranteed aboriginal rights.
and the Quebec Act of 1774: more tolerant approach towards French Canadians giving
them complete religious freedom and restored the French form of civil law. It established
a council to advise the governor in the colony of Quebec.
-pragmatic deals to keep indigenous and French people on Canada’s side by giving and
protecting their rights.
3) 1839 Durham Report Responsible Government 1948: provided a blue print for
solving the problems of assembly executive relations, recommending that the principle
for responsible government be implemented with respect to local affairs so that the
executive branch would govern only as long as it retained the confidence of the elected
assembly. Said two things: that the government should be responsible and that Lower and
Upper Canada united as one to assimilate the French. Responsible government remains a
sacred principle of Canadian government. Responsible government came to Nova Scotia,
New Brunswick, and the colony of Canada in 1848, and three years later to PEI. A
responsible government was established, which permitted the confidence of the
legislative assembly so that the legislative assembly has some control and make the
government more accountable. In the case that the government does not retain the
confidence of the elected legislature, it must resign or call an election. During this period
in time the legislative assembly was undemocratic in the sense that it was represented by
solely rich white men.
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4) Reasons for Confederation: pragmatic approach, rather than a set of ideas for mutual
benefit or advisory act of idealism? After achieving responsible government came the
1864 Charlottetown and Quebec conferences
1) Canada West: Rep-by-pop more seats, more power
2) French-Canadian fears looking for a new deal
3) British pressure British were very powerful
4) American threat civil war
5) Maritime union Canadians preluded the idea of confederation
6) Western expansion expanding into the west and building a railway
5) Constitution Act, 1867 is a major part of Canada’s constitution and was passed by the
British Parliament. This legislation created Canada as a new, domestically self-governing
federation, consisting of the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and
Quebec, on July 1, 1867. This did not directly advance the cause of Canadian
independence, but was one of the contributing factors. It divided the powers that were
already being exercised in Canada between a new central government and the provincial
governments and British control still existed in many forms.
6) Ties with Britain formed as a dominion in the British Empire meaning Canada was
still mostly part of Britain. Everyone in constitution are subjects of Britain. How did
Canada’s ties diminish with Britain?
a) Foreign policy: ministry of foreign affairs was not thought about because Canada did
whatever Britain decided
WWI 1914 Britain declared war on Germany therefore Canada got
carried along w/ British Empire
Many Canadians questioned why they don’t declare their own war and
realized that maybe Britain doesn’t always have Canada’s best interest in
mind to make all decisions Canada wanted independence
1st treaty signed between Canada and the US without British permission
1923 Halibut Treaty
1931 Statute of Westminster recognized the equality of Britain and
dominions independent nation with its own foreign policy
1939 Britain declared war and Canada declared war a week after them due
to having their own foreign policy.
1956 Suez crisis Canada opposed was when Britain went to war with
Egypt and Canada came in as peacekeepers instead.
b) Citizenship 1947 - should be Canadian citizens, not British subjects
c) Courts judicial committee of the Privy Council was the highest court finally Canada
decided that the highest court should actually be in Canada (1949)
d) Flag changed Canadian flag in 1965
e) Patriating refers to 1982 amending formula brought BNA back to Canada and made
it the constitution purely Canadian document
f) Head of state share a head of state with Britain (the crown-the queen)
7) The Crown Pros and Cons:
crown = collectively of executive powers exercised by or in the name of the
Canada is a constitutional monarchy because it has a head of state
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Queen local representation who is the GG
Pros: historic and traditional symbol and is part of Canadian history, unifying and
symbolic head of state Queen w/ GG as local rep., GG and reserve power acts
as “constitutional fire extinguisher” can use this power if necessary in order to
make decisions
Cons: outdated and British only heritage so it shouldn’t be modern institution,
queen lives far away and rarely visits the GG, reserve power is vague and can be
dangerous if it abuses its power.
8) Changing the Crown: getting rid of the crown can we actually get rid of it? Who
would replace the queen? Would this affect indigenous peoples? Would it affect the
equality of federal and provincial governments?
-it is hard to get rid of the monarchy because it is the underlying concept of the entire
government it would therefore threaten the equity of the federal and provincial govt. It
would affect indigenous peoples because they feel an important direction to the crown
through the proclamation. It would be difficult to decide on who would replace the queen
and become head of the state and it would be difficult to determine if they would be
elected or appointed. There has been no major Canadian republican movement to change
abolish the crown there was an attempt in Australia, however, it failed. This is
something that would require provincial unanimity and popular support.
Chapter 2 The Constitutions and Constitutional Reform
9) Constitutional amending formula: constitution are the underlying rules of a political
system the amending formula allows for changes to be made to the Constitution and
requires the approval of the senate and the HoC and of the legislative assemblies of at
least 2/3 of the province with at least 50% of the population of al provinces
Key documents of Canada partly written constitution include the written portion -
Constitution Act 1867 (BNA act) and Constitution Act 1982 (Charter) and the
unwritten portion responsible government outlining the requirement of
confidence of the HoC
Without amending formula, it was difficult to change constitutions
10) Patriating Reference
Gradual legal equality with Britain
1926 Balfour Declaration the imperial conference of 1926 ended with a
proclamation of the complete equality in the status of the United Kingdom and the
dominions in the internal, international, and imperial affairs. The Dominions of
the British Empire were autonomous and equal in stature with each other and with
England. A new association was created that was called the British
Commonwealth of Nations.
Gave Canada complete autonomy in all policy fields and has implications for the
position of the GG as it would not be an agent British govt, instead a personal
representation of the crown
Arrangements of the Balfour Declaration were refined and constitutionalized
through the Statute of Westminster in 1931. Essentially, it confirmed Canada’s
independence from Britain and established them as equals. There were a number
of anomalies that disguised this fact ex. The head of state.
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