National Newswatch
National Opinion Centre

It was a milestone moment for the evolution of Canadian law and government on this date in 1982 with the passage of the Canada Act by the British House of Commons.  This meant that British MPs officially approved the patriation of Canada’s Constitution with its new Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It also marked the end of any form of any last vestiges of British colonial rule in Canada.

A few weeks later, on March 25, the British House of Lords also placed its stamp of approval on the Act.  Queen Elizabeth II signed the proclamation in Ottawa on April 17, 1982, on Parliament Hill.  The constitutional changes that Her Majesty the Queen officially signed-off on – including firmly cementing Canada as a constitutional monarchy by making it almost impossible to remove the Crown from Canadian Life – changed our nation forever, by ending British legislative jurisdiction over Canada.

Queen Elizabeth, at the patriation ceremony, in April 1982, signing the Constitution Act.  (From left to right: Gerald Regan, Minister of Labour; Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Prime Minister; Her Majesty the Queen; Michael Pitfield, Clerk of the Privy Council; Michael Kirby, Secretary to the Cabinet for Federal-Provincial Relations and Deputy Clerk of the Privy Council)

Arthur Milnes is an accomplished public historian and award-winning journalist.  He was research assistant on The Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney’s best-selling Memoirs and also served as a speechwriter to then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper and as a Fellow of the Queen’s Centre for the Study of Democracy under the leadership of Tom Axworthy.  A resident of Kingston, Ontario, Milnes serves as the in-house historian at the 175 year-old Frontenac Club Hotel.

The views, opinions and analyses expressed in the articles on National Newswatch are those of the contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the publishers.
Click here for more political news headlines
🔔 We're about to launch our newsletter make sure you don't miss a beat. Sign up for our newsletter