Canada officially became a sovereign country in 1867;

-The Dominion of Canada was established with the passing of the British North American Act on July the 1st, 1867. This document would be Canada’s Constitution until 1982.

-The British North American Act was later named the Constitution Act.British-North-American-Act-1867

-The new government wanted to preserve Canada’s link with Britain, while at the same time develop into its own unique system.

-Confederation was the name of the event by which the federation of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick formed one country.

-A strong federal union would not only solve internal political difficulties, it would provide a better defense against the Americans.

It was decided that different levels of government would be formed, each with different responsibilities:

1. Federal Government – had the most power: taxes, criminal law, trade, foreign affairs and defense.

2. Provincial Government – education, health care, civil law.

Parliament would be 2 houses. The lower branch, ‘The House of Commons’ was elected on the basis of population. The upper branch, ‘The Senate’ was to have equal representation and serve a ‘sober second thought’ to the decisions made by the House of Commons.

The Last 100 days: World War I

Statute of Westminster (1931)

-Before this statue, any laws passed by the Canadian government had to be approved by the British government.Statute-of-Westminster

-Canada was continually moving toward full independence from Britain.

-In 1931, Canada could now change/ make laws without British influence.

Canada Act (1982)

-Although Canada could make its own laws, it still was unable to change its Constitution without Permission of the British parliament.

-In 1982, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and Queen Elizabeth signed an Act that enabled Canada to own its Constitution (bring it home to Canada and separate from British influence).

Key Terms

Citizenship – members in a political community, such as country, including rights, duties and responsibilities.

Government – a system by which a group of people makes the laws that are enforced to guide the affairs of a community, such as a country, province, or municipality.

Society – a group of interacting people who share a community.

Authoritarian – a form of decision making or a government system in which one person or a small group holds all power.

Democratic – a form of decision making in which all group members have a vote.

Consensus – a group decision reached through discussion to which all members agree.

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Politics – a human activity in which apposing individuals or groups mobilize support to obtain power to government.

Power – the ability of an individual or group to get what it wants.

Common good – that which benefits all (or most) people in a community or society.

Levels of Government

Level: Federal

-Makes decisions related to the matters of nationwide importance.
-They collect income taxes, the goods and services tax and excise taxes.

-Responsibilities the federal government has is foreign trade and relations, currency, defense, postal service, immigration, communications, unemployment, criminal law, Aboriginal peoples.

Level: Provincial

-Can collect income tax, sales tax, and ‘’sin taxes’’ on alcohol and tobacco products.

-Responsible in areas such as agriculture and environmental protection, property and civil rights, marriage licenses, health and welfare, education.

Level: Municipal

-They are created by provinces or territories to govern local communities, including cities, towns, villages, and Aboriginal bands, or settlements.

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