Constitutional Act 1791

From 1896 known as The Clergy Endowments (Canada) Act 1791, the statute passed at Westminster in the 31st year of George III, and itemised as chapter 31 (31 Geo 3 c 31), was commonly known as the Constitutional Act 1791 (French: Acte constitutionnel de 1791).[2] It was an Act of the Parliament of Great Britain.

The Clergy Endowments (Canada) Act 1791[1]
Long titleAn 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.
Citation31 Geo 3 c 31

History

Haut et Bas-Canada2
One person's geographic sketch of governments in Eastern North America after the passage of this Act.

The Act reformed the government of the Province of Quebec (1763-1791) to accommodate, amongst other Loyalists, the 10,000 United Empire Loyalists who had arrived from the United States following the American Revolution. The Province of Quebec, with a population of 145,000 French-speaking Canadians, was divided in two when the Act took effect on 26 December 1791. The largely unpopulated western half became Upper Canada (now southern Ontario) and the eastern half became Lower Canada (now southern Quebec). The names Upper and Lower Canada were given according to their location along the St. Lawrence River. Upper Canada received English law and institutions, while Lower Canada retained French civil law and institutions, including feudal land tenure, and the privileges accorded to the Roman Catholic Church.

The legislative Council for the Affairs of the Province of Quebec, with its subset Executive Council cabinet, was continued and reinforced by the establishment of freeholder-elected legislative assemblies. These elected assemblies led to a form of representative government in both colonies; the Province of Quebec had not previously had a legislative assembly.

The Constitutional Act attempted to create an established church by forming the clergy reserves, that is, grants of land reserved for the support of the (Protestant) Church of England. Income from the lease or sale of these reserves, which constituted one-seventh of the territory of Upper and Lower Canada, from 1791 went exclusively to the Church of England and, from 1824 on in a complex ratio, the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland. These reserves created many difficulties in later years, making economic development difficult and creating resentment against the Anglican church, the Family Compact, and the Château Clique, although it did eventually lead to the growth of an Ottawa neighbourhood known as The Glebe. The act was problematic for both English and French speakers; the French Canadians and the Roman Catholic church in Quebec felt they might be overshadowed by Loyalist settlements and increased rights for Protestants, while the new English-speaking settlers felt the French still had too much power. However, both groups preferred the act and the institutions it created to the Quebec Act which it replaced.

The Act of 1791 is often seen as a watershed in the development of French Canadian nationalism as it provided for a province (Lower Canada) which the French considered to be their own, separate from English-speaking Upper Canada. The disjuncture between this French-Canadian ideal of Lower Canada as a distinct, national homeland and the reality of continued Anglo-Canadian political and economic dominance of the province after 1791 led to discontent and a desire for reform among various segments of the French Canadian populace. The frustration of the French over the nature of Lower Canadian political and economic life in "their" province eventually helped fuel the Lower Canada Rebellion of 1837–38.

Gallery

Constitutional Act 1791.pdf

One photostatted page of the text of the 1791 Act.

Constitutional act of 1791

One person's interpretation of the hierarchy of power under the Constitutional Act 1791.

See also

References

  1. ^ The citation of this Act by this short title was authorised by section 1 of, and Schedule 1 to the Short Titles Act 1896. Due to the repeal of those provisions, it is now authorised by section 19(2) of the Interpretation Act 1978.
  2. ^ Kennedy, William Paul McClure (1918). Documents of the Canadian Constitution: 1759-1915. Oxford University Press. p. 207.

External links

1791

1791 (MDCCXCI)

was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar, the 1791st year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 791st year of the 2nd millennium, the 91st year of the 18th century, and the 2nd year of the 1790s decade. As of the start of 1791, the Gregorian calendar was

11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

Act of Union 1840

The British North America Act, 1840 (3 & 4 Victoria, c.35), also known as the Act of Union 1840, (the Act) was approved by Parliament in July 1840 and proclaimed February 10, 1841 in Montréal. It abolished the legislatures of Lower Canada and Upper Canada and established a new political entity, the Province of Canada to replace them. The Act was similar in nature and in goals to the other Acts of Union enacted by the British Parliament.

Alured Clarke

Field Marshal Sir Alured Clarke (24 November 1744 – 16 September 1832) was a British army officer. He took charge of all British troops in Georgia in May 1780 and was then deployed to Philadelphia to supervise the evacuation of British prisoners of war at the closing stages of the American Revolutionary War. He went on to be Governor of Jamaica and then lieutenant-governor of Lower Canada in which role he had responsibility for implementing the Constitutional Act 1791. He was then sent to India where he became Commander-in-Chief of the Madras Army, then briefly Governor-General of India and finally Commander-in-Chief of India during the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War.

Canada Act 1982

The Canada Act 1982 (1982 c. 11; French: Loi de 1982 sur le Canada) is an act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which was passed (as stated in the preamble) at the request of the Parliament of Canada, to "patriate" Canada's constitution, ending the power of the British Parliament to amend the Constitution of Canada. The act also formally ended the "request and consent" provisions of the Statute of Westminster 1931 in relation to Canada, whereby the British parliament had a general power to pass laws extending to Canada at its own request.

Annexed as Schedule B to the act is the text of the Constitution Act, 1982, in both of Canada's official languages (i.e. English and French). Because of the requirements of official bilingualism, the body of the Canada Act itself is also set out in French in Schedule A to the act, which is declared by s. 3 to have "the same authority in Canada as the English version thereof".

Canada under British rule

Canada was under British rule beginning with the 1763 Treaty of Paris, when New France, of which the colony of Canada was a part, formally became a part of the British Empire. Gradually, other territories, colonies and provinces that were part of British North America would be added to Canada, along with land through the use of treaties with First Peoples (for example, see the Post-Confederation or Numbered Treaties).

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 enlarged the colony of Canada under the name of the Province of Quebec, which with the Constitutional Act 1791 became known as the Canadas. With the Act of Union 1840, Upper and Lower Canada were joined to become the United Province of Canada. Later, with Confederation in 1867, the British maritime colonies of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were joined with the Province of Canada to form the Dominion of Canada, which was subsequently divided into four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. A number of other British colonies, such as Newfoundland and British Columbia, and large territories such as Rupert's Land, initially remained outside the newly formed federation. Over time, the remaining colonies and territories of British North America were joined to Canada until the current geographic extent of the country was reached when Newfoundland and Labrador joined Canada in 1949.Although confederation in 1867 led to an enlarged Dominion with increased autonomy over domestic affairs, Canada still remained a colony within the British Empire and was thus subordinate to the British Parliament, until the enactment of the Statute of Westminster in 1931. This statute recognized Canada as an independent peer coequal with the United Kingdom and thus provided the Parliament of Canada with legislative sovereignty over all federal matters except the power to change the constitutional laws of Canada, which remained under the purview of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Canada's final vestige of legislative dependence on the United Kingdom was terminated in 1982 with the enactment of the Canada Act, subsequently providing Canada with full legal legislative sovereignty independent of the United Kingdom.

Canadian Bill of Rights

The Canadian Bill of Rights (French: Déclaration canadienne des droits) is a federal statute and bill of rights enacted by the Parliament of Canada on August 10, 1960. It provides Canadians with certain quasi-constitutional rights at Canadian federal law in relation to other federal statutes. It was the earliest expression of human rights law at the federal level in Canada, though an implied Bill of Rights had already been recognized in the Canadian Common Law.The Canadian Bill of Rights remains in effect but is widely acknowledged to be limited in its effectiveness because it is a federal statute only, and so not directly applicable to provincial laws. As to Canadian federal law, the Bill of Rights has subsequently acquired through judicial interpretation a quasi-constitutional status through the paramountcy doctrine. These legal and constitutional limitations were a significant reason that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was established as an unambiguously-constitutional-level Bill of Rights for all Canadians, governing the application of both federal and provincial law in Canada, with the patriation of the Constitution of Canada in 1982. Since patriation, its usefulness at federal law in Canada is mostly limited to issues pertaining to the enjoyment of property, as set forth in its section 1(a)]—a slightly-broader "life, liberty, and security of the person" right than is recognized in Section Seven of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Canadian Human Rights Act

The Canadian Human Rights Act (the Act) is a statute passed by the Parliament of Canada in 1977 with the express goal of extending the law to ensure equal opportunity to individuals who may be victims of discriminatory practices based on a set of prohibited grounds such as sex, sexual orientation, race, marital status, gender identity or expression, creed, age, colour, disability, political or religious belief.

Canadian constitutional law

Canadian constitutional law (French: droit constitutionnel du Canada) is the area of Canadian law relating to the interpretation and application of the Constitution of Canada by the courts. All laws of Canada, both provincial and federal, must conform to the Constitution and any laws inconsistent with the Constitution have no force or effect.

In Reference re Secession of Quebec, the Supreme Court characterized four fundamental and organizing principles of the Constitution (though not exhaustive): federalism; democracy; constitutionalism and the rule of law.

Constitution of 1791

Constitution of 1791 may refer to:

Constitution of May 3, 1791, adopted by the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth

French Constitution of 1791, adopted on 3 September 1791

Constitution of Canada

The Constitution of Canada is the supreme law in Canada; the country's constitution is an amalgamation of codified acts and uncodified traditions and conventions. Canada is one of the oldest constitutional democracies in the world. The constitution outlines Canada's system of government, as well as the civil rights of all Canadian citizens and those in Canada.The composition of the Constitution of Canada is defined in subsection 52(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982, as consisting of the Canada Act 1982 (including the Constitution Act, 1982), all acts and orders referred to in the schedule (including the Constitution Act, 1867, formerly the British North America Act, 1867), and any amendments to these documents. The Supreme Court of Canada has held that the list is not exhaustive and includes a number of pre-confederation acts and unwritten components as well. See list of Canadian constitutional documents for details.

Constitutional history of Canada

The constitutional history of Canada begins with the 1763 Treaty of Paris, in which France ceded most of New France to Great Britain. Canada was the colony along the St Lawrence River, part of present-day Ontario and Quebec. Its government underwent many structural changes over the following century. In 1867 Canada became the name of the new federal Dominion extending ultimately from the Atlantic to the Pacific and the Arctic coasts. Canada obtained legislative autonomy from the United Kingdom in 1931, and had its constitution (including a new rights charter) patriated in 1982. Canada's constitution includes the amalgam of constitutional law spanning this history.

History of Quebec

Quebec has played a special role in French history; the modern province occupies much of the land where French settlers founded the colony of Canada (New France) in the 17th and 18th centuries. The population is predominantly French-speaking and Roman Catholic, with a large Anglophone minority, augmented in recent years by immigrants from Asia. The political alienation of the Francophones from the Anglophones has been a persistent theme since the late 19th century. Tensions were especially high during the First World War. Historically, British merchants and financiers controlled the economy and dominated Montreal. The Catholic Church, in close cooperation with the landowners, led a highly traditional social structure in rural and small town Quebec. Much of that changed during the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s. Quebec's separatists, calling for an independent nation, gained strength but were narrowly defeated in two referenda. Quebec imposed increasingly stringent laws favouring the French language; many Anglophones left, as did many of the national and international corporations that had been based in Montreal.

Implied Bill of Rights

The Implied Bill of Rights (French: Déclaration des droits implicite) is a judicial theory in Canadian jurisprudence that recognizes that certain basic principles are underlying the Constitution of Canada. Invoked more often before the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was enacted, it is nonetheless important when questions of parliamentary supremacy and the override power come into play.

Law of Canada

The Canadian legal system has its foundation in the English common law system, inherited from being a former colony of the United Kingdom and later a Commonwealth Realm member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The legal system is bi-jurisdictional, as the responsibilities of public (includes criminal) and private law are separated and exercised exclusively by Parliament and the provinces respectively. Quebec, however, still retains a civil system for issues of private law (as this domain falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the provinces).

Both legal systems are subject to the Constitution of Canada. The federal government has jurisdiction over certain exclusive domains which are regulated exclusively by Parliament, as well as all matters and disputes between provinces. These generally include interprovincial transport (rail, air and marine transport) as well as interprovincial trade and commerce (which generally concerns energy, the environment, agriculture). The criminal law is an area of exclusive federal jurisdiction, and has its origins in the English common law. Prosecutions of most criminal offences are conducted by the provincial Attorneys General, acting under the Criminal Code.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is a government ministry of the Canadian province of Ontario that is responsible for Ontario’s provincial parks, forests, fisheries, wildlife, mineral aggregates and the Crown lands and waters that make up 87 per cent of the province. Its offices are divided into Northwestern, Northeastern and Southern Ontario regions with the main headquarters in Peterborough, Ontario.

Royal Proclamation of 1763

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued by King George III on October 7, 1763, following Great Britain's acquisition of French territory in North America after the end of the French and Indian War/Seven Years' War. This proclamation rendered all land grants given by the government to British subjects who fought for the Crown against France worthless. It forbade all settlement west of a line drawn along the Appalachian Mountains, which was delineated as an Indian Reserve.

Exclusion from the vast region of Trans-Appalachia filled people within various colonies with indignation. Discontent would later arise during the American Revolution.

The Royal Proclamation continues to be of legal importance to First Nations in Canada. The 1763 proclamation line is similar to the Eastern Continental Divide's path running northwards from Georgia to the Pennsylvania–New York border and north-eastwards past the drainage divide on the St. Lawrence Divide from there northwards through New England.

Succession to the Throne Act 1937

The Succession to the Throne Act (1 Geo. VI, c.16) (the Act) is the act of the Canadian parliament that ratified the Cabinet's consent to His Majesty's Declaration of Abdication Act 1936, an act of the United Kingdom parliament that allowed Edward VIII to abdicate and pass the throne to George VI. However, it was the Canadian government's request and consent, and not the Succession to the Throne Act, that gave the British Act of Parliament effect in and made it part of the law of Canada, as per section 4 of the Statute of Westminster 1931, which allowed the British parliament to legislate for the Dominions only with their agreement.

Treaty of Paris (1763)

The Treaty of Paris, also known as the Treaty of 1763, was signed on 10 February 1763 by the kingdoms of Great Britain, France and Spain, with Portugal in agreement, after Great Britain's victory over France and Spain during the Seven Years' War.

The signing of the treaty formally ended the Seven Years' War, known as the French and Indian War in the North American theatre, and marked the beginning of an era of British dominance outside Europe. Great Britain and France each returned much of the territory that they had captured during the war, but Great Britain gained much of France's possessions in North America. Additionally, Great Britain agreed to protect Roman Catholicism in the New World. The treaty did not involve Prussia and Austria as they signed a separate agreement, the Treaty of Hubertusburg, five days later.

Unsuccessful attempts to amend the Canadian Constitution

Since the Constitution of Canada was patriated, in 1982, only ten minor Amendments to the Constitution of Canada have been passed. There have, however, been a number of unsuccessful attempts to amend the Constitution in accordance with its amending formula.

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