Our affiliated campaign, Bring Back the Act, is continuing to spark attention, interest and discussion. (If you haven’t signed the online petition, you can click here to access it.) It’s satisfying to see people speaking up and taking the time to post a comment, telling us not just how they feel about the campaign but how they feel as Canadians. (You can read some of the commentary by clicking here.) In fact, this past Wednesday, The Honourable Justice Frank Iacobucci, Retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, weighed in on the campaign and reaffirmed the importance and context of the BNA Act of 1867 and its connection to all Canadians. We believe his comment is worthy of also posting here for our Canadian Experience readers.
I wish to applaud Lori Abittan and those who put forward the proposal to bring to our country, the original British North America Act of 1867, the foundational constitutional document of Canada. Although the British North America Act begins with references to the desire of the four founding provinces to form our country, the Constitution of Canada is designed for and belongs to the people of Canada. In delineating the nature of our democracy, our Constitution is at the same time both the supreme law of the land and the articulation of our aspirations to live harmoniously and respectfully with one another no matter where we come from and who we are.
Since its beginning, our Constitution has provided the framework to create the civility, decency, and enlightenment for which Canada is admired throughout the world. There is nothing that greater symbolizes the bond that every Canadian has with his or her country than our Constitution. Every Canadian owns it yet every Canadian shares it with all other Canadians.
In 1981-82, Canada in a magnificent moment of our history patriated our Constitution so that its legal home is Canada. I hope we can patriate the document that is the British North America Act so that it can also find its home in Canada. To celebrate that achievement in 2017 could not be a finer 150th birthday present for the people of Canada, including its future generations.
Frank Iacobucci, C.C., Q.C. Retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada