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Week Four.doc

Course Code
CRIM 135
Graeme Bowbrick

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TOPIC #4 – THE CANADIAN CONSTITUTION (foundation of all laws)
(PART 1)
I. Introduction
1. The Purpose of a Constitution
Constitution: should typically do 4 things
Set out basic structures of government: Executive, judicial, legislative branch
Set out the various branches of government (set out the power of those branches)
Place limitations of power on the government
Set out a process by which allows amending for the constitution when necessary (should not be often)
2. The Colonial Origins of Canada’s Constitution
-Canadian Constitution: Colonial Origins
oCame from one of the many British colonies
oThe beginning constitutions of Canada: was the simple British statues that spell out the authority of the
colonies to make laws for themselves
oCanada gets law making authority from Britain (Colonial power)
Colonial laws of Validity Act 1865
British statues passed from British parliament
Could make laws (make sure they’re local in nature- ex: feeding ducks in pond) as long
they didn’t contradict laws made in the British parliament
British North America Act of 1867
It is the main document that established the structures of government, and the political
and legal structures and sets out the powers of those institutions
Statues of Westminster 1931
Represented British parliament giving up their power over some of the self governing
dominions (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland)
oBritain would no long pass any laws affecting these colonies
oMore of a formality (they weren’t passing many laws before that)
Constitution act of 1982 does not replace the previous one, it adds to it
II. Pre-1982 Constitution: The Constitution Act, 1867
-Known as the British North America Act of 1867
-It is the main document that established the structures of government, and the political and legal structures
and sets out the powers of those institutions
1. The Preamble
-Introduction to a statues, explain the significance of the statues
-Don’t use it for all statues
-Only used for big and important, complex statues
-Sets out the purpose of the statute and what it wants to achieve
(a) The Purpose of a Preamble
(b) The Implied Bill of Rights
-Bill of Rights: a constitutional document that sets out fundamental principles, the basic principles of
freedom (freedom of expression, religion, right to vote etc.)
-Charter of Rights is an explicit Bill of Rights between 1867-1982 our rights weren’t explicitly stated in our
-Arises from a interpretation from the Preamble: with a Constitution similar in Principle to that of
the United Kingdom
oIf we’re to have one similar to the UK’s, we must have the same rights and freedoms that Britain
had as of 1867
There was freedom of speech, right to vote etc. in Britain in 1867, they should also have
these constitutional principles in Canada (implied that we should also have these rights too)
-Implied Bill of Rights has imported 4 fundamental principles into the Canadian Constitution
oBasic democratic rights (not voting)
oThe Basic 4 democratic rights
1) Freedom of Speech
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