Canada and the Canadian Question

By Goldwin D. C. L. Smith | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION

IN dutiful imitation of that glorious Constitution of the mother country, with its division of power among kings, lords, and commons which, though it really died with William III, still exists in devout imaginations, the Constitution of the Canadian Dominion has a false front of monarchy. The king who reigns and does not govern is represented by a Governor-General who does the same, and the Governor-General solemnly delegates his impotence to a puppet Lieutenant-Governor in each province. Everything is done in the names of these images of Royalty, as everything was done in the names of the Venetian Doge and the Merovingian kings; but if they dared to do anything themselves, or to refuse to do anything that they were told to do, they would be instantly deposed. Religious Canada prays each Sunday that they may govern well, on the understanding that heaven will never be so unconstitutional as to grant her prayer. Like their British prototype,

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1
The Canadian Constitution is to be studied in the British North America Act of 1867, on which abundant commentaries have appeared by Messrs. Todd, Bourinot, O'Sullivan, Watson, and Doutre. To the works of these learned and eminent writers the reader is referred for such details as do not come within the scope of this very general sketch. The debate on Confederation in the Canadian Parliament ( Quebec, 1865) may be consulted by the diligent reader. Extracts from the principal speakers are given in Colonel Gray's work on Confederation.

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