Dominion Day 2002/ Golden Jubilee Address
(Wth apologies to the Authors of The 1774 Quebec Act -upon which it is based)
TEXT OF CANADA DAY ADDRESS
1 July 2002
In commemoration of the 135th year of the Confederation of Canada, and;
In celebration of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, and;
In great anticipation of the Royal Visit to Canada,
BY THE QUEEN, A PROCLAMATION
Whereas Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada has noticed a degree of popular and media displeasure and feelings of general disappointment in Canada’s governments’ activities;
And whereas She has been informed of a lack of active engagement in governance and policymaking on the part of the citizenry, verging on mistrust and disgust;
And whereas She plainly sees that no member or official in government is actively searching for a solution to this unfortunate state of affairs;
And whereas the Provisions in the 1982 Constitution Act have made any amendments to the current governance model virtually impossible to be ratified within Canada;
And whereas The Queen is in the unique position to “do something about it”;
Therefore, notwithstanding any common or speculative misunderstandings of Our Sovereignty, Authority and Executive Power within Canada, We have taken into Our Royal Consideration, the extensive and valuable nature of Our Canadian Subjects; and being desirous that they avail themselves with all convenient Speed of the great Benefits and Advantages which must accrue from their Commerce, Manufactures and Navigation, We have thought fit to issue this Royal Proclamation hereby to publish and declare to all Our loving Subjects, that we wish to correct a imperfection and oversight in the Constitutional Provisions that had been thought a “can of worms” not fit for public discussion in years past. For the more perfect Security and Ease of Minds of the Citizens and residents of Canada it is hereby declared,
That from this day forth there will be an unilateral transfer of the responsibilities, honours, powers and duties of the Crown of Canada from the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, unto the Citizens of the Dominion of Canada, collectively.
This grant of sovereignty over the country, together with the Crown’s interest in its “fee simple” real property and Her authority over the government comes with one painless, yet practical condition, namely, Her Majesty insists that you preserve the tradition established in the Royal Proclamation of 1763, that all Acts and actions of the government be performed in the name of the Monarch. This condition is both painless and practical because it means not one aspect of the current Canadian law, nor one governmental practice or nor the wording of one document need be changed.
This Proclamation by Her Majesty is a magnanimous gesture meant to complete the process of making Canada a self-governing state. The fact that Her Majesty acts, individually, signifies two important things at once.
Firstly, She acts alone, as Monarch of Canada, without advice and/or consent of any person, because “No Act” of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons assembled in any Parliament of the United Kingdom after April 17, 1982 “shall extend to Canada as part of its law”, and
Secondly She acts individually, to bring contemporary recognition to the 1867 Prerogative power of the Governor General (Section 12) that though rarely exercised, can never be spent due to desuetude.
Her Majesty extends warmest well wishes to all Canadians and hopes that a few words of advice at this time will show the heart-felt thought that has been required to present this gift in its purest form.
Her Majesty wishes to extend a hearty invitation to every Canadian to obtain a copy of the Constitution Acts 1867-1985, as amended – it is the rule book that will guide your path through the future as it has guided you to this point. Pity the poor individual who has tried to play “the game” thus far without “knowing the rules”.
Her Majesty further wishes to explicitly mention the reasons and bring forward some implications of Her actions so that no person or body may mis-interpret or “read-in” an unintended meaning.
Notwithstanding anything quickly assumed by reading this Proclamation:
1. Canada is still NOT a democracy, NOR a republic, it should henceforth be thought of exclusively as an “extremely-limited” Constitutional-Monarchy.
2. “The Executive Government and Authority” as outlined in section 9 of BNA 1867 remains vested in the Crown. The simple difference now is that the concept of “Crown” is transformed – no longer embodied in an individual across the Atlantic Ocean, but part of each and every citizen.
3. The “One Parliament for Canada, consisting of the Crown, an Upper House styled the Senate, and the House of Commons”(Section 17) remains unchanged, except now at the top of the heirarchy sits the citizenry. Responsibility to the Crown is unchanged, but with new meaning – easier to grasp, for both voter & office holder.
4. The Governor General and the Lt. Governors are now returned to their intended places of great importance and power (Section 12 as above, plus Sections 55-57 and Sections 65 and 90) since no other person will hold any higher Canadian Constitutional positions, save God (also entrenched in 1982, preamble to Part 1).
In future, the individual appointed to these offices will be vested with a full, informed mandate to exercise the Prerogative Powers to Assent, withhold Assent or reserve a Bill for the Signification of the Crown’s Pleasure. It is thought that the selection of Canadians for appointment to these offices will likely require more and different thinking than at the present time, but no new laws.
5. The re-established Governor General may choose to reverse Order-in-Council (PC 1940-1121) an innovation of the late Rt Hon William L Mackenzie King (during the darkest days of early WWII) that merged the Office of Clerk of the Privy Council with a new office now-referred to as Secretary of the Cabinet. By merging the “Heads” of the Privy Council Office and the Prime Minister’s Office, the two organizations functionally became one. Placing the whole of the government and the administration under the control of the Prime Minister, a situation never intended and indeed a situation that was intended to have been made impossible.
The Privy Council was established by Section 11 in Part III, Executive Power, of the BNA Act to “aid & advise in the Government of Canada” and to be “chosen and summoned by the Governor General” (i.e not by the Governor-in-Council) to be the Vice Regal’s independent pool of advisors.
The merger of the Privy Council Office with the Prime Minister’s Office has created the unfortunate loss of one integral double-check on the House of Commons. The supervisory role of the Treasury Board and the other committees of the Governor General’s Privy Council no longer exists due to the current Prime Minister’s custom of appointing all of his Cabinet members to almost all of the posts on the Privy Council Committees – they now double-check (some would say rubberstamp) their own policies, programs and expenditures.
6. It is hoped that widespread study of the Constitution will also elevate the Senate by re-directing the political energy expended on equalizing the representation for your blatantly unequal provinces into realizing that a principal purpose of the Senate was to represent the propertied class – the Senate is the only office in the Constitution with property-ownership and “net worth” qualifications. Perhaps seasonally-adjusting 1867’s $4,000 value for net worth would also change the Senate’s composition.
Not to belabour the point, but to re-inforce how much has been forgotten, in earlier times the Senate was described as “a bulwark against the clamour and caprice of the mob” (Sir James Lougheed) and “to protect the regional interests and also a power of resistance to oppose the democratic element” (George-Etienne Cartier). A similar quote from Cicero is carved in the oak frieze of the Senate Speaker’s chambers “It is the duty of the nobles to oppose the fickleness of the multitude”.
7. Without the self-imposed pressure of being “top gun” of your One Parliament, it is hoped that the House of Commons can take its proper place and devote itself to advancing and considering all the views, of all Canadians. Perhaps the political parties will relax the hold they have placed on backbench Members – after all they will be elected by the “Crown”.
8. Ministerial Responsibility will take on a meaning similar to the United Kingdom. With this transfer of power We have limited Ourselves to the same position We hold with your parliamentary brothers and sisters in Westminster – We will always grant Assent to Bills presented to Us in exchange for the agreement that if a Canadian Minister gives Us bad advice s/he will resign, taking the responsibility.
For further clarity, since very few Bills will actually be presented for My Personal Assent, this limitation will not apply to My Governor General or Lt Governors. We specifically wish that an Executive Double-check remain in place,and be utilized in Canada. The Governor General and Lt Governors may withhold Assent, individually, and may reserve signification until they, individually, are satisfied that the Bill is supported by the “new” Canadian Crown.
8. It is believed that Canada will be a better place to be alive -in many ways. Citizens will value their citizenship since it represents ownership – newcomers will clamour to be real “members” of this wonderful “club”. As “proprietors” of the land and its resources, it will not surprise Us if a new attitude of preservation, conservation and real, sustainable development flows from the “owners” to the “stewards” of the land, the waters and their bounty.
Canada, the 21st Century just might “belong” to you if all of you just work in concert to make it so. With this initiative We have tried Our best to stimulate the minds of all Canadians, with the hope that new motivation will make the work more enjoyable.