July 1st is the 150th anniversary of the British North American Act, or BNA. The BNA is Canada’s DNA. It transformed 650 years of British parliamentary democracy designed for a small island in the old world into a vast new federation in the new one. It needed no high-minded ideals about rights and freedoms because it was understood that Canadians would inherit the great premiums of the Magna Carta: freedom from arbitrary arrest and confiscation; freedom from taxation without representation; freedom of speech, belief, and enterprise; jury trials; an elected Parliament.
As Wilfrid Laurier, our first Franco-Canada prime minister, said, “France gave us life; Britain gave us liberty.”
Let us celebrate these ancient liberties and the prosperity and freedom they have allowed us to enjoy for over a century and a half.