A blupete Essay

Constitution Act, 1791, Part 7 to blupete's Essay
"The Canadian Constitution, A History Lesson"

The American revolution drove thousands of loyalists into the remaining British provinces of America. While the eastern territory, now defined as the Province of Quebec, got its share of loyalists, most headed to the western territory which we have come to know as the Province of Ontario. The Constitution Act of 1791, opposed by the British inhabitants of that part which was to become Lower Canada, divided Canada into two parts; with the intended effect of creating harmony. The French would be left in the majority in the one province, Lower Canada; and the English would be left in the majority in the other province, Upper Canada. "The British parliament reserved to itself the right of providing regulations, imposing, levying and collecting duties, for the regulation of navigation and commerce to be carried on between the two provinces, or between either of them and any other part of the British dominions or any foreign country."

The Constitution Act of 1791 did not have the intended effect, especially in Lower Canada. Disharmony between the French and English populations continued, and was further soured by those political problems naturally arising when a representative government is coupled with an irresponsible executive. This acerbity was "aided by the want of good municipal institutions; and the same constant interference of the imperial administration in matters which should be left wholly to the provincial governments."6


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Peter Landry

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