Canadian Politics: Treaties and Act

The Seven Years’ War/ British conquest over France. The Seven Years’ War is a conflict that is considered to be one of the most serious military conflicts of the early modern period. It involved the great powers of the whole of Europe. The war was divided into several conflicts that followed different purposes. Thus, the British conquest over France was a conflict called the North American or the French and Indian War. The struggle was between Britain and France for the domination of the colony lands. France was defeated by Britain in 1759. This day is remembered as a battle on the Plains of Abraham, at Quebec. The result of this conflict was the Treaty of Paris.

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The Treaty of Paris was a treaty signed on 10th February 1763. This treaty ended the French and Indian war and was considered as the end of the Seven Years’ War. The main terms of the document were as follows. France renounced its claims to Canada, Nova Scotia, and all islands of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence. At the same time, France surrendered all the territory on the eastern riverside of the Mississippi except for New Orleans and the territory of the Ohio Valley.

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was published on the 7th of October by English King George III. The Proclamation was a result of the Treaty of Paris when Britain got many new lands. The Proclamation was aimed at settling down great new British lands in North America and stabilizing relationships with Indians using the regulation of fur trade, colonization, and purchase of the lands on the western border. One of the purposes of the Proclamation was also the assimilation of the French population in Canada. However, the main goal was to make Canada a British colony. This Proclamation is also known as the Indian Bill of Rights or Magna Carta for Indian affairs.

The Quebec Act, 1774. It was an act proclaimed by the Parliament of Great Britain. It was directed at the procedures of governance in the Canadian Province of Quebec. The Quebec Act defined the territory of the province and stated its boundaries. Religious affairs were settled and the Catholic religion was confirmed as the official one. The law issues were confirmed and the French law was used for civil matters, while the British law was used to settle criminal cases. This act was very important for the Province of Quebec and the Thirteen Colonies. English speaking immigrants from Britain and southern colonies declared against most of the terms and considered those as the restriction of their rights. French-speaking Canadians were divided in opinion. Landowners and priesthood were satisfied with the law.

US Declaration of Independence & Revolution. The United States Declaration of Independence is considered to be one of the main documents of the country which has a great historical meaning for the USA until now. It should be stated that the American Revolution was the main event that made it possible for signing up for the declaration. The main purpose of the American Revolution was to get rid of British influence and unite to become the United States of America. The Declaration of Independence states that the USA is a country that unites the colonies as a federal entity and does not depend on any other state.

The Constitutional Act, 1791. This act is also known as An Act to repeal certain parts of an Act, passed in the fourteenth year of his Majesty’s Reign, intituled, An Act for making more effectual Provision for the Government of the Province of Quebec, in North America; and to make further Provision for the Government of the said Province. This act proclaimed the change of the ruling in the Province of Quebec. The main purpose of this change was to settle numerous English speaking colonists there. The province was divided into two parts, Upper Canada (with English law and institutions) and Lower Canada (with French laws and institutions). Furthermore, the procedure of province governance was changed. Still, this act was considered as a step ahead in the comparison with The Quebec Act of 1774 in many aspects, one of which is the creation of a separate province for Canadians (Lower Canada). Still, this division created several misunderstandings which lead to the rebellion in Lower Canada in 1837-1838.

1837-1838 Rebellions in Upper & Lower Canada. The Lower Canada Rebellion was the armed conflict between the citizens of Lower Canada and the British government. The refusal to provide political reforms and to create a responsible government in the province was the main reason for the rebellion. The Upper Canada Rebellion followed the Lower Canada Rebellion and was directed against the Upper Canada oligarchy. These two rebellions were defeated; still, they had some indirect influence on the British government and led to the settlement of some claims. Upper and Lower Canada were united in 1840 and the British government created the responsible government in the province in 1848.

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Lord Durham’s Report or The Report on the Affairs of British North America is a document which was written by the British Whig politician John George Lambton (the 1st Earl of Durham) in 1838. John George Lambton was sent to the Province of Quebec to consider the economic and cultural situation in the region after the rebellions. The recommendations Lambton made after the analysis of the situation in the province influenced not only the population of the country but also impacted outside of Canada. Thus, the report made advice to unite Upper and Lower Canada, to create a responsible government, to encourage immigration to Canada, etc. This report became a Magna Carta for other British colonies who wanted a sort of self-governance.

The Act of Union, 1840. This document was confirmed in July 1840 but was proclaimed on 10th February 1841. The main purpose of this document was to announce the union of the Upper and Lower Canada and the creation of a new political entity, the Province of Canada. Still, the hidden goal of the document was the elimination of the French cultural presence in North America using domination of the fast growing English-speaking Upper Canada over slowly developing French-speaking Lower Canada. However, The Act of Union did not reach this purpose. As opposed to scattered English speaking part of the province, French-speaking citizens of Canada tried to hang together that guaranteed their presence in the legislative assembly. Still, this did not reduce the conflicts in society and lead to the creation of the Canadian Confederation in 1867.

Responsible Government is a notion used to denote government accountability in some countries with a constitutional monarchy. The report announced by John George Lambton advised the British Empire to create a responsible government on the territories of Upper and Lower Canada to reduce the tension in the region and eliminate the possibility of further rebellions. The main purpose of the responsible government in the Province of Canada was to govern the province according to the rules of the elected colonial assemblies which will British-appointed governors had to bow to.

The British North America Act, 1867. This is the first and the most important Act (one of the series) that founded the federal dominion and offered the terms and norms on the Constitution of Canada which are used until now. 147 articles were presented. The main points which were considered in this act were as follows, the territory, the taxation system, the process of Canada government, the justice system, and the Federal Structure. The terms devoted to the Government of Canada identified the House of Commons and the Senate. The federal dominion consisted of four British colonies, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. Further, the document was renamed the Constitution Act, 1867.

What is the Constitution?

There are several definitions of a Constitution. On the one hand, a Constitution is a set of legal norms which identifies the highest bodies of the state, the procedure of their formation and functioning, their interrelationships and concept, and also the principal position of the individuality n relation to the state power. On the other hand, a Constitution is a central law of the state, a legal act of the highest effect of a state or another formation in a federal state, which defines the basis of the political, legal, and economic systems of the state of formation, the basis for the legal status of a personality.

Unitary system of Government (+ devolution). A unitary system of government is a form of state structure when its parts are subnational entities and do not have the status of the state formation. As opposed to the confederation, the unitary state has integrated higher organs of power, the central justice system, and the constitution. The subnational entities have some elements of autonomy. But, this autonomy is mostly delegated by the central government. Devolution is a division of some rights and freedoms of the central government to the local jurisdiction.

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Federalism (including BNA Act – Sections 91-95). Federalism is considered to be the type of political system where the parts of the country are united together by the covenant ruled by the governing representative head. Federalism is a system that creates federation using sharing the power to govern between national and state governments. The Constitution Act of 1867 states the distribution of powers in the region (sections 91-95). The maters of the federal jurisdiction are presented in the 91st section. 92nd section proclaims the jurisdiction of the provinces. 93rd section dwells upon the provincial responsibilities devoted to renewable resources and education. It is possible to change the property law and civil rights under the 94th section of the act. The problems of power influence on agriculture and immigration are discussed in section 95.

Different kinds of federalism: centralized, decentralized, asymmetrical. Centralized federalism is a type of federalism when the parts of the federation have to compete for the federal money to use for the benefit of the underprivileged. One of the greatest examples of the centralized federation may be considered the implementation of a set of domestic programs in the USA by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Decentralized federalism is defined as the shifting of the local states from the central government. An example of this kind of federalism in Canada and its provinces which became too decentralized after the Rebellion in 1960. Asymmetrical federalism is the system when different entities of the federation possess different levels of power. For example, both Quebec and the federal government can collect three types of taxes while in some other provinces the local government can collect only two types.

A confederal system of government is a system that unites sovereign states under one specific goal. The main purpose of such confederation treaties is to unite the power of several states in some specific areas. The unanimous agreement of all members of the confederation is obligatory. Moreover, there is no state on the top of the members of the state. For example, the Constitution Act of 1867 proclaimed the Canadian Confederation with three Provinces.

The Rule of Law is the notion which states that all people in the world are subjected to the law. No person can be immune to it. The same is with the states. Even being the sovereign independent states, they should follow some specific rules. It has been accepted that the rule of law is the central concept that defines the quality government in the state. It is possible to state that the countries which follow the Rule of Law are highly developed countries where all the actions and processes are legally conducted.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, March 19). Canadian Politics: Treaties and Act. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/canadian-politics-treaties-and-act/

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