samedi 4 juillet 2009


This week, commenting on my post about Canada Day, Rosaria asked wether Canada had an Independance Day. I answered that we did not have one. That question has been bugging me ever since. Why does canada have no Independance Day?
After much thinking and mulling over recollection of various sources, I guess I have worked out a suitable explanation. F
For most former colonies, Canada began as a French colony and morphed, in 1763, into a British colony, independance came through a violent process called war. The American Independance War is a prime example. The end of that war marked the beginning of independance, thus Independance Day.
In Canada, independance came bit by bit over some 400 odd years. The first native born French governor of New France was the initial step. The 1791 Act of the British parliament that recognized the right of Catholics, in Canada, to hold public office without renouncing their faith was another one. Then gradually we evolved toward representative government that process culminating in the 1867 British North America Act creating the Confederation of Canada. But that newborn coutry still relied on the British parliament for it's foreign policy and it's laws could be annuled by the Lords.
Another stepping stone was the 1931 Statute of Westminster that recognized Canada's jurisdiction over it's foreign policy and created the Dominion of Canada, a sovereign country within the British Commnwealth of Nations, but the constitution remained under British authority. In 1982, Under Prime Minister Trudeau, Canada got it's very own Constitution adopted by our parliament and 9 out of 10 provinces, Québec holding out it's signature. Nevertheless, Queen Elizabeth II signed it in Ottawa on Canada Day 1982. Why Québec held back from signing ? Well that will be another post.
Now, 86 % of Quebecers and 66% of other Canadians seem to be in favor of severing ties with the British monarchy when Queen Elizabeth abdicates or die. That would eradicate of the last colonial vestige or reminder.
As I believe to have demonstrated Canadian independance was not a brutal event that can be tied to one date or treaty. It has been a slow process and it is still ongoing in some ways. As I previously wrote, despite real obstacles, Canada is a work in progress and well worth keeping workint at.