Friday, January 07, 2011

What's in the BNA Act?

The other day the new Republican leadership in the US House read aloud the Constitution of the United States -- but only the parts they like, as Dalia Lithwick describes. The Republicans may be constitutional originalists, but there were quite a few of the words of the Founding Fathers they preferred to skip, apparently.

'Tseems in American procedure, everything that ever was in the constitution stays in the constitution. Technically the text of the constitution includes both the prohibition of alcohol and the repeal of prohibition, both the endorsement of slavery and the abolition of slavery, both votes for men only and votes for women too.

Which raises the question: does it work that way in Canadian constitutional amending?  If you want the official Constitution Act, do you get all the amended bits or not? Have the amendments made over the years actually removed the non-longer-operable clauses, or are they all there together?  Anybody?

If we follow the American procedure, it might be possible to make the case, I guess, that the name of the constitution is both the British North America Act (the original) as well as the Constitution Act (new amended title).
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