A brief  History lesson from England to British North America

 I promise not to be long winded and dusty. I have compacted things as best I can



    Meet King John, He was your typical King of his time but a lot slimier than others. He is the same guy in the Robin Hood story and when King Richard The Lionheart died he took the throne. Johnny relied upon his Barons to keep him in power through strength of arms but he had a bad memory about that. He had the tendency to treat them poorly as well as the peasants which made up the lion's share of the army in times of war.  One day the Barons got together they finally had enough of him and his bad attitude. They banded together and drafted a list of entitlements and rights that were to be respected . They Entered the City of London  on June 10 1215. The City was sympathetic to their cause and opened the gates of the City to the Barons and their troops. They, and many of the moderates not in overt rebellion, forced King John to agree to the "Articles of the Barons", to which his Great Seal was attached in the meadow at Runnymede on June 15, 1215. In return, the barons renewed their oaths of fealty to King John on June 19, 1215. A formal document to record the agreement was created by the Royal Chancery on July 15: this was the original Magna Carta.

        The most significant clause for King John at the time was clause 61, known as the "security clause", the longest portion of the document. This established a committee of 25 barons who could at any time meet and over rule the will of the King, through force by seizing his castles and possessions if needed. This was based on a medieval legal practice known as distraint, but it was the first time it had been applied to a monarch. In addition, the King was to take an oath of loyalty to the committee. Well as you guessed it this nasty fellow said "No freakin way!!! I am your King and I will do what ever to who ever I want when I want, how I want." With Papal approval John was released from the Magna Carta. To which the Barons said "OH YEAH??" So up they rose. England was plunged into civil war. King John did not survive the war. He died from dysentery his nine year old son  Henry III ascended the throne. His Reagents re-issued the Magna Carta but an abbreviated version of it. omitting clause 61. However the most important aspect of the Magna Carta is that it brought the King/Crown under the rule of law; before this event King John would literally say "The law is in my mouth" he would not be the last king to believe he was the law; subsequent kings would be at odds with this limitation placed upon them by the law




        Hitting the "next" scene button.. In the years passing from 1225 the Counsel of Barons slowly developed into the Parliament you know of today.  It was a very Rocky development with war and bloodshed over it..Enter King Charles I King of England, Scotland, and Ireland (1625-49). Like many Kings did not like Parliament very much, he believed that as King he would not be dictated to by Parliament. Parliament on the other hand believed it was their right to dictate to the King.(classic power struggle here) Well Charlie decided he would start ignoring them or simply tell  them (Parliament) to pound salt.  Long story short Parliament raised an army and Retired King Charles permanently. They won the Civil War arrested the King and tried him for Treason then executed him.  England became a Republic for a short time and finally agreed upon a new king. Charles's son Charles; he became king who ruled no differently than his father more acrimony between him and Parliament he died before any wars could be started leaving his brother James to become King James II. There was a fly in the ointment however Jimmy was a Catholic and most of the English were Protestant..You may wonder what that has this to do with anything? Back then Religion and Politics were one and the same. Entire wars were fought over it. James II began making laws against Protestants kicking them out of work, forbidding them arms, seizing their lands and property. All under the guise of "Toleration" which could be simply termed an affirmative action program. While favouring people of his own faith  pretty much making life hell for Protestants. Parliament being made up of mostly Protestants said enough is enough.

                 So Parliament went to a Dutch Prince Named William of Orange, being the spouse of Mary the sister of James II and eager to be a King himself he jumped on the opportunity  and brought his troops over and deposed King James. Parliament not wanting to repeat their actions drafted a document outlining the crimes and grievances held against the erstwhile King. William agreed and  became King he Married James's sister Mary, who became Queen Mary in what became known as "The Glorious Revolution of 1688. The English Bill of Rights 1689 was proclaimed into Law by the King and Queen  This is still in force today among other British constitutional documents. It is by section 129 of the Constitution Act  As you can see for yourself that there is a footnote link; the footnote defines what changed after the Act of Westminster 1931. Proof of the constitutional status of the Bill of Rights can be found here


        Governments whether they be Kingdoms or Democracies. Must have limits placed upon them. That  power must always lie in the hands of the people. We need to remember history and how it effects our present circumstances and how it can shape our futures. Respect the wise words "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

England comes to North America


        British North America has been around for a while, about 400 years. The first colonies established way back in 1585 in Virginia. It did take time to establish a sizable presence in the Americas,  England was competing with Spain in this endeavor. Over time and war England had established plantations in Virginia tobacco being a primary crop and source of income for the new world colonies. (as an aside even then there were people condemning smoking as a filthy habit.) Over the next 150 years the colonies grew, France was also competing with England for lands. There was also a lucrative fur trade in the north. Each Country competing for the hearts and minds of the natives(not really they wanted them to bring them furs in exchange for cheap hardware and of course huge tracks of land)

        We fought wars with the French and their Indian allies. England even helped their Indian allies exterminate their Indian enemies. In time we had colonies all up and down the coast of the Americas and when we finally beat the French and the Dutch we had colonies into what we now call Canada.  Late in the 1700s King George III (he was a German by the way) was going a bit loonie due to an illness. He had done some things to really cause resentment toward England among our cousins in the 13 Colonies. The Colonies formed a militia and commenced to give the English the boot. King George was mad with illness his judgment was impaired. Instead of sending English Troops he sent German mercenaries. This proved to be a grave error on his part. Historically mercenaries are a catch 22 situation, mostly because they would like to live to get paid. In the end of it George III lost the 13 colonies and was left with the Canadian colonies. Fleeing Loyalist moved into the Remaining English lands . They were very much British to the core and loyal to the Crown.                                                                                      



        There was only one Canada it stretched from the Maritimes all the way to the Great Lakes.  2 portions Upper Canada (aka Ontario) and Lower Canada (aka.Quebec). But not all was cool in Upper Canada instead of representative government like we are all used to there was a growing Oligarchy. ( An Oligarchy is government by a ruling class or clique.) One such Clique gained power and influence they were called the Family Compact. They were wealthy well connected elites, they believed that only they should have power and control of the government. They slowly did get just that. They fixed it that only they and people they saw fit could vote in elections. Now all this time you thought Canadian history was boring.  We see the same thing happening today by default. Why ? because of VOTER APATHY  (I will address that  later).  There was a growing foul mood growing in Upper Canada. There is a marked difference between people day and back then, we can vote. Many back then could not.  The average Canadian of the day worked bloody hard to build his home and clear his land in order for his family to live. I don't suggest that we don't work hard today it is just that back then everything was done by hand.

        Some of The press was controlled by the ruling class the media outlets were largely in favour of the current state of affairs. William Lyon Mackenzie's news paper was a lone voice of dissent against the Family Compact and the Government. When MacKenzie's printing press was thrown in the river others stepped in to get his paper printed. Rebellion was in the air, the people needed to be rallied. Leaders of this rebellion emerged they were Robert Thorpe, Joseph Willcocks, Robert Gourlay, and especially, William Lyon Mackenzie. They challenged the establishment about taxes, land policy, the privileges of the Anglican Church and the Family Compact, appropriations, and freedom of the press. They claimed that all citizens and not just the enfranchised were entitled to a voice, but they did not form a political party; there were no parties. In 1831 the Tories expelled MacKenzie from the Assembly, and the conflict escalated. Their brief armed rebellion  in 1837 failed, the rebellion failed largely due to poor communication, a lack of arms, mistakes were made that undermined their effort. It did see trials and executions of the rebels however McKenzie did escape that fate. In the interest of staving off boredom I won't go any further on details and the minusia of arguments. What is also interesting is that at the same time a rebellion in Lower Canada had errupted. (Lower Canada Rebellion) Eventually We got on track and headed toward the formation of the Dominion of Canada.


Our Birth Pains

        As you can tell from what I wrote that Contrary to popular belief We Canadians had our labour pains and Canada was not born as peacefully as we are sometime lead to believe.  England did seek to avoid the mistakes made in the old 13 colonies re:radical democratic thought. 1837 was not the only rebellion we had even after Confederation.  BNA Act did however come to us peacefully we did not have to fight for our independence like our cousins in the U.S. We still loved Mum (Good Queen Vic) and we liked being apart of the largest Empire in history. In the Territory Known as Ruperts Land which was not yet a province there was deep concern among the Metis, concerning their long held rights. Ottawa was not willing to deal with them. Lead by Louis Riel and Gabriel Dumont the Metis rose up and resisted Ottawa. A war was fought, The Metis were put down and Louis Riel was tried and hung for his leadership of the rebellion. ( a much more in depth version of the Rebellion can be found Here...)

        Our first Constitution was the British North America Act of 1867 and with it came every right that an Englishmen had including the English Bill of Rights of 1689. Unlike England our Constitution was written which means it is in black and white  written ink not pencil in English. The Original 4 were Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario. Each of us has a set date as to what laws and rights are in force at the time of Confederation For Ontario the date is 1791. This is important to remember because our laws and RIGHTS came from Britain. There is a recurring theme in all of this, our elected officials unwillingness to respect the rights of the people. Favouring their own interests, in lieu of protecting ours.

Give us Liberty or Dief


        The Right Honourable John Diefenbaker. I both love and hate this guy. I  hate him for what he did with Avro Arrow which is another sad story.  I love him because he gave Canadians the Bill Of Rights. Which Sadly many Judges ignored simply because it included a line about rights to property. None the less The Canadian Bill of Rights 1960 is still in force in Canada and has not been repealed nor superseded  by The Charter of Rights and Freedoms as you can see in the Constitution Acts of 1867 to 1982. Having said all this I have to tie it all up in one neat package. A charter of rights, a bill of rights is not something the Government grants the people. These rights have always existed since the dawning of Man. When we began to form societies we didn't give them up we deferred them in the interest of peaceful co-existence. We hammered out rules that we could live with. These Bills or Charters were not limits on you or I, but limits placed on YOUR GOVERNMENT !!!!!! If you do not know your rights you will always be the subject to elected tyrants. You are the CITIZEN the Government exist for your pleasure not the other way round. You dictate to them. As it stands now our democracy in Canada and in particular Ontario can be compared to the analogy of "2 wolves and a sheep voting on what is for dinner tonight" Guess who the sheep is? Sir Winston Churchill another loathsome creature once said that "the best argument against democracy is a 5 minute conversation with a voter" Funny how this resonates so true in Canada. The average Joe or Jane is either apathetic or miserably uninformed on issues leaving a minority of people who do vote. They elect your government. an example " You don't vote  but five of your neighbours do, you have let your neighbours decide what is best and right for you" Consider do you really  like your nieghbours that much? They are nice enough. but,, Would you leave important decisions in their hands?