Constitution, Charter of Rights and Freedoms signed 40 years ago

Constitution, Charter of Rights and Freedoms signed 40 years ago
Justin Trudeau/Twitter

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Canadian Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“Forty years ago today, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was adopted with the signing of the Proclamation of the Constitution Act, 1982 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and my father, Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement.

“The spirit of the Charter should inspire us all as we build a more equal and fairer country for everyone. As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we know there is still much work to do to help many Canadians overcome the barriers they face to social and economic participation. This includes confronting painful truths about our history and taking meaningful action to combat all forms of hatred and discrimination.”

The signing of the Constitution on April 17, 1982 marked the moment Canada became an independant country, instead of a British dominion.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the first section within the Constitution Act, 1982.

Before the signing of the Constitution, Canada had the authority to act like an independant country due to the Statute of Westminster, 1931, which gave Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Irish Free State, and Newfoundland legal and equal standing with England.

Newfoundland did not join as a Canadian province until 1949, which is why it was included as part of the Statute of Westminster, 1931.

Now, on the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution, many are reflecting on the work that has been done in the country.

“But the work did not end 40 years ago. We are still, all of us, striving to create a truly equal country, one where diverse communities are treated with respect and understanding. Where we all have equal opportunities for success. Where we can all contribute to reconciliation, which is not one single piece of legislation, nor an undertaking with an end date,” said Mary Simon, Governor General in a statement.

“As we mark this important anniversary, let us reaffirm our commitment to acting and working together to create a more inclusive society and world, regardless of the challenges we may face.”

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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