Proclamation of the Constitution Act – Library and Archives Canada
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Proclamation of the Constitution Act – Library and Archives Canada

October 15, 2019

Library and Archives Canada preserves
thousands of key documents of Canadian history, governance and political culture, most notably the Proclamation of
the Constitution Act of 1982. On a rainy April 17th in 1982
on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Queen Elizabeth II signed the proclamation
allowing Canada to make changes to its Constitution and giving the country
political independence from Britain. The Act accompanying the proclamation
also established a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, guaranteeing Canadians political and civil rights. Written in Canada’s two official languages, this was the first British Act of Parliament
to be passed in French since the Middle Ages. In 1983, disgruntled with the federal government’s decision to allow U.S. missile testing in Canada, Toronto artist Peter Greyson
entered Ottawa’s National Archives and poured red paint over
the second original copy of the proclamation. A grapefruit-sized stain
still remains on the document. 

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