Are you planning to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation? Will July 1st, 2017, be a regular Canada Day celebration for you? Or do you even celebrate Canada Day at all?
Our first week back blogging introduces the new semester and reminds readers why this project is important to us, the writers, as law students. Each week follows a different theme; Mondays’ posts introduce each one.
A year ago the Law and Social Media team wrote collectively as Ms. Suffragette to celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s voting rights in Alberta. One week was dedicated to the Famous Five women who challenged the meaning of the word “person”. In the spirit of celebrating influential Canadian politicians, next week’s theme is Founding Fathers of Confederation.
Ever the egalitarians, later in the term we will biograph Women of Confederation. We recognize individuals who made history by working hard for what they believed in. Like suffragists who advocated and agitated for political rights, the Founding Fathers and Mothers of Confederation wanted to change the governing structure of early “Canada”.
Some of our posts, like yesterday’s, review the Centre for Constitutional Studies speaking events. The CCS regularly hosts acclaimed legal experts who make constitutional law both informative and fun.
As we wrote last semester, Confederation and the preceding decades did not establish a foundation of equality and independence for indigenous peoples living in British North America. Therefore, as we recognize Canada’s sesquicentenary, we are mindful that it can be problematic to celebrate laws that created a legacy of Indigenous oppression. Reconciliation and healing must be part of our collective future and we will explore this in light of celebrations of the birth of modern Canada as we know it. In the words of Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, “Our future, and the well-being of all our children rests with the kind of relationship we build today.”
Also last semester, we introduced the constitutional division of powers between the federal and provincial governments (sections 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867). These distinctions between duties and powers delegated to the respective levels of government pervade our legal system and case law on jurisdiction. Therefore, we will expand on it further using interesting topics like polygamy, firearms, and even a shout-out to the annual student-run Law Show in February.
The federal Department of Canadian Heritage is promoting nationwide celebration projects. For example, one of the official signature projects focuses on engaging Canadians—coast to coast to coast—in reconciliation. The University of Alberta will host some projects as well; click here to check them out.
Most Canadian cities host events sporadically throughout the year. If you’re in Edmonton (as we are) make sure you check out Ice on Whyte (we will be!). It’s coming up soon to take advantage of the cooler temperatures and features ice carving and other family-friendly activities. Although Ice on Whyte is in its 14th year, this year it also boasts activities to celebrate Canada 150.
Over the next 12 weeks, we’ll keep you posted on more fun and interesting events that help understand the reasons for the BNA Act and why its successor, the 1982 Constitution, is so fundamental to living in Canada. So stay tuned!