Constitution Act of Canada

(1867)

The Constitution Act of Canada of 1867, at the time called the British North America Act and still informally called the BNA Act, created the federal dominion of Canada and, in conjunction with other documents, continues to form the essence of that nation's constitution, defining Canada's governmental structure, legislature, justice system, and system of taxation. Because the provinces of Canada were British colonies, the Constitution Act of Canada was, in effect, a petition to the British Parliament, which originally enacted the document as law; until 1982 any change in the Canadian constitution had to be made by the British Parliament. In 1982, however, the Constitution Act was “patriated,” a term used in Canadian law, along with “patriation,” to mean that it was made part of Canadian as opposed to British law. In effect, the Canadian constitution was “brought home.” The Constitution Act of Canada represented the coalescence of Britain's North American colonies into a...

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John A. Macdonald (Library of Congress)

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