Thursday, February 08, 2007

Does Canada still belong to the United Kingdom?

Who's asking: An anonymous Google searcher


If countries have personalities, Canada is careful and polite, while the U.S. is pushy and loud. When the U.S. decided to separate from England, we did it in five years of bloody warfare; when the Canadians decided to do it, it took 115 years of diplomacy, and the parting could not have been more amicable.

Canada Day, July 1, celebrates the British North America Act of 1867, which granted the Canadians home rule. The BNA Act created the Dominion of Canada by uniting the Province of Canada (modern Ontario and Quebec), the province of New Brunswick, and the province of Nova Scotia. Home rule was not absolute; the Dominion got its own Parliament, but its decisions still needed to be affirmed by the U.K. Parliament. Manitoba joined the Dominion in 1870, followed by British Columbia (1871), Prince Edward Island (1873), and Saskatchewan and Alberta (1905). Newfoundland and Labrador gave up its own claim to nationhood to join Canada in 1949. (The Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon remain territories, not full provinces.)

The Statute of Westminster, in 1931, finally removed the U.K. Parliament from Canada's legislative process. It was not until the Canada Act of 1982, however, that the U.K. relinquished its authority to amend the British North America Act (then renamed the Canada Act). Theoretically, then, until 1982 the U.K. could have said, "Sorry, just kidding -- we're repealing the BNA, you have to go through us now."

Canada maintains strong ties to its mother country. Queen Elizabeth is still the Queen and head of state under Canada's constitution, and a Governor General (currently Michaelle Jean, a Haitian-born woman) represents the Crown in Canada. Canada is also still a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, a group of 53 countries with historical or constitutional ties to the former British Empire.


JIM LAMB said...

Interesting piece on Canada. I met a lot of Canadians on this recent trip. Super people. Makes you want to wonder what they did to deserve us for neighbors, or maybe they just want to behave better than the trash that moved in next door.

At one point, I was wondering if anyone was left in Canada to mind the store, but I guess that if you live that far north, the Caribbean is a good place to spend January.

Wandering Mick

Anna said...

I'd like to stick up for Americans (those from the US) for just one second. I've spent a lot of time outside the country and I have found Americans on the whole to be the kindest, friendliest, most generous people in the world. Every time I come back to the US I breath a sigh of relief and thank God that I was part of the lucky sperm club and was born here. We give more, allow more and ask for less than most other countries do to their people. Our government may not always be led by someone we like, but I believe this is the best country in the world and, far from being trash, I consider myself, like our neighbors to the north, to be careful and polite, along with the vast majority of my countrymen!

Phew! I feel better now!

AnswerGirl said...

I didn't mean to say "Canada, good, US bad." If we're assigning personality traits to countries -- which is always indefensible -- Canada, though polite and careful, is also smug, self-righteous, resistant to change and a little plodding. The U.S., in comparison, is energetic, warm-hearted, generous and constantly reinventing itself.

But we're loud and pushy, too.

Running from my House said...

question -

Is it wrong to have girl hope for valentines day? or are we sucked into commercialism?

AnswerGirl said...

Now, THAT is a good question. Watch this space on Monday.

Anonymous said...

America is also who everybody would really like to be. I mean, who hasn't seen somebody bully their way to the front of a long line at the airport aad think to themselves both "What an ass!" and "Man, I wish I could let myself get away with that"?

And the great part is that every good thing Anna said about the basic Americaness of American is true. So the loud pushiness is often deployed for the common weal.

-- Ed

mcclements said...

Let me say it, then. Canada good, America bad. Canadians nice but boring, Americans rude and stupid. Canadian beer mediocre, American beer frightful. Canada too French, America too American.
As viewed by an outsider.

AnswerGirl said...

OW! And of course, both countries inherited those traits from our loving Mother England: the nation that brought us colonialism as an art form, soccer hooligans and Marmite. My mom could give a 50-minute lecture on how all of the world's current political problems are directly traceable to the British Empire.

Then again, they gave us Shakespeare and The Beatles... nobody's ALL bad.

Josh said...

I think both sides of this coin are ignorant of common sense. To deem an entire country negatively because of any one person’s limited experience is ludicrous and asinine. Canada is a great nation and so the is the United States. I have been to both sides of the border and found that other than political differences both peoples are loving, kind and generous. Regardless, of my point of view I would never infer anyone else would experience what I have thus far. Additionally, both countries have had negative spots within their records that each nation is less than happy about. As do ALL NATIONS.

I would like to add that if you have had negative experiences on either side of the border I would look in the mirror and try to identify why. I am sure the issues start closer to home then on either side of the Canadian/American border. I have traveled to many nations where I am told they hate America and in each occasion I only met polite, intelligent, warm hearted people. I will be the first admit that I don’t agree to their politics and I know some of them didn’t agree to mine, but they were still great people nonetheless.

AnswerGirl said...

This is all very silly, and let's please put an end to it. My original comment was tongue-in-cheek, and I did then say that any kind of generalization about national temperament is indefensible. Get that? Indefensible. Meaning, let's not waste our time here.


AnswerGirl said...

I. Do. Not. Allow. Anonymous. Comments. On. This. Blog. I'm deleting all the anonymous ones right now.

Sign your posts, people.

God & Army said...

I have traveled to Russia and Ecuador and both places were nice to visit but when I stepped off that plane in the USA, it didnt matter that I was still 300 miles from my home in TN it was still home and it was a wonderful feeling.
Some people have NO clue how wonderful this country is and I wish those people were sent elswhere so they could understand what the word FREEDOM really means. All I can say is get out if you can't stand for our flag when it is raised.

Nicholas said...

"My mom could give a 50-minute lecture on how all of the world's current political problems are directly traceable to the British Empire. "

What was better? The UK micro managing other countries, or America causing wars every other week?

The British Empire had many bad traits, but a lot of good came of it. The hard working spirit of colonial Britain pretty much built the foundations for life as the world knows it now.

There will always be one problem or another in anything. You never please everyone.

Jim Hawkins said...

Interestingly enough, there are 2 island near Newfoundland that are officially still part of France. They are Saint-Pierre & Miquelon Islands

jeff S said...

Wow, heck of a small world-view you've got there. And frightful beer? Well, it seems the choices you've made in beer are about as poor as the choices you've made in which US Citizens to interact with. Rude? Stupid? Bad beer? You've certainly never seen the America I know.

Let me guess, you took a trip to Dallas, TX where you drank Budweiser and went to a Pat Robertson rally? You should have gone to Chicago, drank some Goose Island ales, and visited a muesum.

AnswerGirl said...

O - kay! Since people aren't seeing the tongue I had in my cheek when I posted this however many years ago, I'm closing the comments now. National stereotypes = bad, United States = gorgeously diverse. Everybody clear?

For the record, I've visited 44 of the 50 states, and drunk beer in most of them.