Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Canadian Constitution Quiz: Increase Your Constitutional Knowledge 64%!

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Constitutional law can be a real bore sometimes, so to spice up the topic for myself and others, I created a Canadian Constitution Quiz! Besides, with Iggy sounding the separatist clarion and going on about recognizing the Quebec nation, it might be time to re-examine our good old Constitution's contents.
Much thanks goes to the late Senator Eugene Forsey's text, How Canadians Govern themselves, freely available from the Library of Parliament.
This also relates to this old boring text I wrote on our Canadian Parliamentary System, for those of you who want some background reading...

Answers to the quiz are at the end. It's late and I haven't proofread this thoroughly, so if you see any direct quotes from the Forsey text that are uncredited, please let me know and I'll correct the error.

Question 1) If a minority government is defeated on a motion of censure, the Cabinet then has the following option:
a) ask for a motion of confidence b) attempt to defeat the motion in the Senate c) resign in favour of the opposition d) Sunbathe in the buff at 24 Sussex drive

2) The Constitution Act, 1867 (aka the British North America Act, 1867 or BNA Act), guaranteed separate schools for:
a) Atheist minorities throughout Canada b) the Protestant minority in Acadia c) Protestant and Roman Catholic minorities in Ontario and Quebec d) Atheist minorities in Ontario and Quebec

3) The Constitution Act, 1867 did which of the following with regards to French-Canadian law?
a) Guaranteed the Civil Code of Quebec b) Imported the Napoleonic code to bring French Canadian law up to date c) Guaranteed Quebec could maintain its civil law d) Agreed to long-standing requests to incorporate Roman Catholic dogma into the civil law

4) The Canadian Constitution is composed of, amongst others:
a) the BNA Act and the Clarity Act, 1996 b) the Constitution Act, 1982 and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms c) the Constitution Act 1982 and the Act Respecting Canadian Prime Ministers and the Privy Council of Her Majesty, the Queen in Right of the United Kingdom, the Dominion of Canada, the Dependancy of Gibraltar and of the British Commonwealth d) the Constitution Act, 1982, the Charter, the CCQ, plus other texts and unwritten conventions

5) True or False:
a) The Prime Minister's position was created by the Constitution Act, 1867
b) the Federal Parliament can legislate to enforce an international treaty on education
c) Canada's Constitution recognizes two types of aboriginal people: Indian and Metis

6) The main formula to modify the Constitution requires:
a) Parliament to spend at least 6 months debating the proposed amendments b) the Queen to be present during at least 51% of the debates in the Senate c) 50% of the Provinces to agree to the amendment, and these provinces must account for at least 70% of Canadians d) 70% of the Provinces to agree and these provinces mst represent 50% of Canadians

7) The reason why Canada originally chose to have a Senate was:
a) to give an equal voice in Parliament to less populous provinces b) to placate Quebec, which wanted something similar to the Chambre Haute the French had instituted c) John MacDonald was caught drunk with George Cartier's wife and had to make amends d) to placate Upper Canada

8) The ex-Attorney General of Canada whose signature is on the repatriated Constitution Act is:
a) Sir Denning b) Jean Chretien c) Claude Ryan d) Irwin Cotler

9) Our Constitution guarantees that a certain number of Supreme Court Justices will be from Quebec. How many?
a) 3 b) 2 c) 1 d) None, that's not actually part of the Canadian Constitution

10) "Certain limited rights," to use a phrase from Forsey's text, are guaranteed equally to the:
a) English and French procedural systems in Parliament b) English and language and Roman Catholic Sistine civil tradition c) English and Garlic languages in Parliament and the courts d)
English and French languages in Parliament and the courts

Answers: 1) c 2) c 3) c 4) d 5) F It's really a sort of convention F this sort of thing has been ruled beyond the scope of its powers, or in fancy constitional legalese, ultra vires F (Indians, Inuit and Metis are recognized) 6) d 7)a 8) b Yes, Jean Chretien was our Attorney General at one point, believe it or not 9) a 10) d

For those of you who paid attention to the introduction, I'd like to point out just how strongly our Constitution already defends Quebec's particular nature. There are provisions on religious rights, language rights, education powers for the provinces, protection of the civil law tradition. Recognition of Quebec's distinct character is definitely there in our Canadian Constitution. It's just being outside of the country for 30 years doesn't give you the chance to really appreciate it...
As to the 64%, well, I didn't make any claims as to my math skills! (64% is an arbitrary number I picked.)

Edit: Anyone else notice an FLQ cell sending a communique to the newspapers that it would act on February 15th? Quebec's leading separatist magazine says it gets them twice a year and dismissed it, according to La Presse, but it seems a little worrisome to me personally. Probably 'cause I'm what Jacques Parizeau's dirty "ethnic voters." (The 15th is important to Quebec separatists in commemoration of the Patriote rebellions in 1838-39

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