It was raining on Parliament Hill as Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau signed the Proclamation of the Constitution Act on April 17th, 1982. Marks left by the raindrops as they smudged the ink can still be seen as physical reminders of the rich history of the act.
The signing of the Proclamation in 1982 was the result of over 100 years of Canadian political progress, beginning with the signing of the British North America (BNA) Act in 1867, which formed the Dominion of Canada.
Through the 20th century, Canadians worked to gain political independence and sovereignty from Britain, and by 1982, Canada had all the elements of an independent nation except authority over its Constitution.
After much political debate and negotiation in Canada, the British Parliament passed the Canada Act in March 1982. This act replaced the BNA Act and transferred all legislative authority to Canada, including the power to make changes to the Constitution.
The Constitution not only outlines Canada's system of government, laws, and civil rights, it also guarantees fundamental rights and freedoms of all Canadians through the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Proclamation of the Constitution Act is a fundamental document for all Canadians, as it symbolizes Canada's journey from colony to independent nation.