How much do people really know about The British North America Act, 1867 (BNA Act), the founding document and first Constitution of our country? The answer is often “not very much”. We are generally aware that Canada was established in 1867, and may know the name of the document, but we have little to no understanding of what that document contains and how it has and continues to affect our society. Before studying it in law school, I certainly didn't. This project, leading up to and during the 150th anniversary of this historic document, will hopefully change that for some people.
My name is Alexander Brophy. As a second year law student at the University of Alberta I have chosen to enroll in the Law and Social Media class that will be writing this blog. I'm excited to be a part of this because I understand the value of ensuring that people have legal knowledge. My interests skew towards matters of criminal law and civil rights, where it is so important that everyone in our society have as much knowledge as possible. This project will give me good experience writing about the law in an accessible and hopefully engaging way. I look forward to this opportunity to engage with and educate the public.
The BNA Act might seem dry at first, especially compared the more talked about American Constitution. As a document it is primarily concerned with division of powers between the Federal Government and the Provinces, as well as other structural issues such as courts. Most people really don't have much knowledge about how important such structural issues are in their lives. I plan to put my educational background in History to work this year. A lot of my output will be sharing stories with you. The various provisions of the BNA Act have affected many important events in the last 150 years, and continue to have an effect today. Liquor laws (and soon, marijuana laws), obscenity, the FLQ crisis, wartime emergencies, and even something as banal as whether one can believe that margarine is butter have all related in some way to the BNA Act. I hope that readers will come away feeling that they know a bit more about why things in our country are the way they are.