You Can Now Watch the Liberals Expunge Dominion Day from Canadian History

David Smith, Destroyer of Dominion Day, Brought Down Goliath

CPAC has recently done Canadians a great public service by uploading all the video footage of the proceedings of the House of Commons from its debut in October 1977 to present.

As such, we can now see for ourselves how the Liberals purged Dominion Day from our history.  The damage begins at 3:55 in this video chronicling the proceedings from 9 July 1982.

CPAC provides the following summary of that day’s proceedings:

“The House quickly completes the second reading, in-committee review, and third reading of Bill C-201, a bill to amend the Holidays Act to replace Dominion Day with Canada Day; participating in the debate are Hal Herbert, David Smith, and Mark Rose.”

That’s putting it mildly. Indeed, the House “quickly completed” all stages of debate, minus First Reading, in only 5 minutes. Worse still, the Commons lacked quorum when it did. The video makes it so much worse. The

The video shows what the Debates do not record: namely, the haplessness of  Deputy Speaker Lloyd Francis (Liberal MP for Ottawa-West), who didn’t seem to understand how to preside over the proceedings and simply parroted whatever the clerk whispered to him.

Incidentally, Standing Order 28(1) of the House of Commons still refers to the holiday on 1 July as “Dominion Day.” I wouldn’t be surprised if the Trudeau II government introduced a motion to the Procedure and House Affairs Committee to scrub that overlooked vestige of Dominion Day from history, too. The other two vestiges of the Dominion of Canada that have escaped notice are the Dominion Sculptor and the Dominion Carillonneur.

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Posted in Dorchester Review, History of British North America | Leave a comment

Jacob Rees-Mogg and Jeremy Corbyn Expose the Futility of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act

Andrew Marr Interviews Jeremy Corbyn

Sometimes nerdy political historians and political scientists could be accused of enjoying political shenanigans or borderline constitutional crises, like the Prorogation-Coalition Controversy of 2008, because they’re “interesting.” They are indeed interesting. But they are, more importantly, instructive and revealing.

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Posted in Dissolution, Fixed-Date Elections | 1 Comment

Historical Resources on the Proceedings of the House of Commons and Senate

Bob Rae on 12 December 1979

Recently, two excellent historical resources on the proceedings of the Parliament of Canada have become readily available online. Many of you would join me in finding them useful and interesting.

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Posted in Parliament, Traditions and History | Leave a comment

How the General Election of 2017 Will Occur in Practice

Time’s up.


Earlier today, I was very confused to see that the Westminster Parliament is still sitting and conducting business. After all, MPs voted by a huge margin — well above even the two-thirds super-majority — to go to an early general election pursuant to the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act.

I committed the fallacy of mirror-imaging by presuming that the Mother of Parliaments would proceed with this matter in the same way that her wayward child the Parliament of Canada would. Here when the government loses a vote of confidence in the Commons, the House adjourns itself, and the Prime Minister typically advises the Governor General to dissolve parliament and issue the writs for a general federal election later that same day.

But this is not the case in the United Kingdom. First, I shall review the process of dissolution in the United Kingdom and then delve into the “Wash Up,” the week or two between a loss on a vote of confidence (or, in this unprecedented case, the successful passage of the motion to hold an early general election under the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act) that comes before dissolution and the general election.    

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Posted in Crown (Powers and Office), Dissolution, Fixed-Date Elections | 11 Comments

Presentation to the “Constitution at 150 Conference”

I’m pleased to report that I will present a paper at the upcoming “Constitution at 150 Conference” in Montreal, Quebec, on the morning of May 16th.

The conference runs from 16 to 18 May. I’d encourage those of you who are in a position to attend it to register for it; if you read this blog, then, chances are, you’d find this conference interesting. The conference features an impressive line up, including, but not limited to, Professors Adam Dodek and Peter Oliver of the University of Ottawa, Jonathan Shanks of the Department of Justice, David E. Smith (Professor emeritus of Political Science of the University of Saskatchewan), and Clerk of the Senate Charles Robert.

My paper, “Canada’s Legal-Constitutional Continuity, 1791-1867” demonstrates how the Dominion of Canada is the continuator, or successor polity, to the Province of Canada (1841-1867), which is, in turn, the continuator of Upper Canada and Lower Canada (1791-1841). In a way, I suppose that it could be construed as contradicting the premise of the conference’s name because constitutional government in British North America pre-dates the British North America Act, 1867 itself.

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