Monday, December 11, 2006

Anniversary of the Statute of Westminster mentions that today is the 75th anniversary of the Statute of Westminster, one of the most important documents in Canada's constitutional history.

I had posted about this last year on Library Boy:

In 1926, the Balfour resolution was adopted at an Imperial Conference. According to that resolution, Great Britain recognized that the Dominions were autonomous communities within the British Empire, "equal in status, in no way subordinate to one another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations".

There still remained the matter of who was allowed to amend the Canadian constitution, which was after all a piece of British legislation. A Dominion-Provincial conference in 1927 considered this issue but the provinces rejected the proposals of the federal government. There was thus no consensus on how to bring back or patriate the Constitution from the UK. The paralysis lasted another 55 years.

In other words, the Statute of Westminster granted independence to Canada except in relation to the amendment of the constitution. As we all know, the patriation of the Constitution happened in 1982, but without the Quebec government signing on to it.
All together now: Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you...

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:40 pm


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