British North America Act

The constitution of the Dominion; the Act

by which the scattered colonies of British North America were united in

one Confederation. Drafted at the Quebec Conference, 1864; discussed and

passed in the form of resolutions, in the Legislature of Canada, 1865;

put in final shape at the Westminster Conference, 1866; passed by the

Imperial Parliament, and proclaimed, 1867. The essential feature of this

Act, and that which d
stinguishes it most clearly from the Constitution

of the United States, is the provision that all matters not specifically

assigned to the provinces belong to the Dominion, the reverse being the

case under the United States Constitution. Broadly speaking, the Act

gives the Dominion exclusive jurisdiction over the regulation of trade

and commerce, the postal service, customs and inland revenue, military

and naval service, navigation and shipping, currency and coinage,

banking, weights and measures, patents and copyrights, naturalization,

Indians. To the provinces it gives exclusive jurisdiction over direct

taxation, management and sale of public lands, timber, provincial

prisons, hospitals, asylums, etc., municipal institutions,

administration of justice, education. =Index=: (Sir John A Macdonald era) Conference in

London--Macdonald's letter to Tilley, 125-126; the sixty-nine

resolutions passed, 126; draft bill drawn up--completed bill submitted

to House, and received royal assent, March 29, 1867, 127; royal

proclamation fixes July 1 as date upon which it should come into force,

127; opposition develops in Maritime Provinces, 129; provides for

Intercolonial Railway, 151; and acquisition of North-West Territories,

156; question of legislative union, 245; federal system introduced by,

250; provincial rights under, 253; the franchise, 258. (Sir Georges E. Cartier era) Delegation

sent to London to see it through Parliament, 67; proposal to amend it in

the interests of the New Brunswick Roman Catholics, 77, 82; strained

relations of Macdonald and Cartier over terms of, 102-103. (Joseph Howe era) Passed by

Imperial Parliament, 192; opposed by Joseph Howe, 192; its repeal sought

by Nova Scotia Anti-Confederates, 204. (Tilley era) Quietly received in New

Brunswick, 127. =Bib.=: Bourinot, Constitution of Canada; Houston,

Constitutional Documents; Doutre, Constitution of Canada; Munro,

Constitution of Canada; Ashley, Constitutional History of Canada;

Gooch, Manual of the Constitution of Canada; Howland, The New Empire;

Confederation Debates, 1865; Pope, Confederation Documents.