A blupete Essay

British North America Act, 1867, Part 9 to blupete's Essay
"The Canadian Constitution, A History Lesson"

Thus, the stage was set for the British North America Act, 1867, (B.N.A. Act), a primary piece of legislation under which Canadians have been working, and living with, ever since.7 It did nothing but split up the areas of governmental responsibilities, as was required under a federal system. It did not establish a new constitution for Canada, and, it is not correct to refer to the B.N.A. Act as Canada's constitution. Canada had a constitution before the B.N.A. Act and the B.N.A. Act did nothing to change it. The B.N.A. Act amalgamated the individual provinces into one country, and, of necessity, under a federal system.8 Essentially, all the B.N.A. Act did was to divvy up the departments of government between two levels, one being the central or federal government and the other consisting of the provincial or territorial governments. The B.N.A. Act spelled out this division of powers in sections 91 and 92; all done, in order "to protect the diversified interests of the several provinces, and secure efficiency, harmony, and permanency in the working of the union." The B.N.A. Act, set up a general government, "charged with matters of common interest to the whole country," and local governments for each of the provinces, "charged with the control of local matters in their respective sections."9

Four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, came together at the passing of the B.N.A. Act, in 1867. The people of the Red River, Manitoba became part of Canada in 1870; British Columbia in 1871; and Prince Edward Island in 1873. Thus, Canada, by 1873, consisted of these seven provinces, together with Rupert's Land and the Northwest Territories. By 1905 the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta were created, and in 1949 Newfoundland joined in.


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Peter Landry

2011 (2019)