This week in Kanadian History brought to you by Wikipedia's Constitution of Canada Entry:
Constitution Act, 1982
Endorsed by all the provincial governments except Quebec's, this was an Act by the Canadian Parliament requesting full political independence from Britain. Part V of this Act created a constitution-amending formula that did not require an Act by the British Parliament. Further, Part I of this Act is the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which outlines the civil rights and liberties of every citizen in Canada, such as freedom of expression, of religion, and of mobility. Part II deals with the rights of Canada's Aboriginal peoples.
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
As noted above, this is Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982. The Charter is the constitutional guarantee of collective and individual rights. It is a relatively short document and written in plain language in order to ensure accessibility to the average citizen. It is said that it is the part of the constitution that has the greatest impact on Canadians' day-to-day lives, and has been the fastest developing area of constitutional law for many years.
Vandalism of the paper proclamation
In 1983, Toronto artist Peter Greyson entered Ottawa's National Archives (known today as Library and Archives Canada) and poured red paint over a copy of the proclamation of the 1982 constitutional amendment. He said he was displeased with the federal government's decision to allow U.S. missile testing in Canada, and had wanted to "graphically illustrate to Canadians" how wrong the government was. A grapefruit-sized stain still remains on the original document. Specialists opted to leave most of the paint intact fearing attempts at removing it would only do further damage.
Constitution Act, 1982
The Constitution Act, 1982 (Schedule B of the Canada Act 1982 (UK)) is a part of the Constitution of Canada. The Act was introduced as part of Canada's process of "patriating" the constitution, introducing several amendments to the British North America Act, 1867, and changing the latter's name in Canada to the Constitution Act, 1867.
To the present day, the Government of Quebec has never formally approved of the enactment of the Act, though formal consent was never necessary. The Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords were designed to secure approval from Quebec.