Date of Issue
April 16, 1982
Perforation or Dimension
12 x 12.5
Designed by Friedrich G. Peter.
The Constitution is Canada's supreme law. Much of it originated in the remote past. The mists of time shroud the origins of the monarchy, parliament, courts of law, and other such institutions. The stability and importance of the Constitution make people reluctant to alter it and give added significance to any major changes. Since the first European explorers arrived in Canada, overseas governments have exercised power here. The British North America Act of 1867 did not entirely remedy this situation. Only the British Parliament could amend the Act. In subsequent years Canada slowly gained a greater and greater degree of independence. In 1884, for instance, Canada won the right to negotiate trade treaties with other countries. Canada's Herculean efforts during the First World War hastened the independence process. For example, at the behest of Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden and others, the imperial War Conference of 1917 resolved that a conference should be called after the war to discuss the "constitutional relations" of members of the Empire. The Imperial Conference of 1926 took up the matter and proclaimed Great Britain and the Dominion to be "autonomous Communities..., equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs.". The declaration lacked the force of law but implied that Canada would soon, as an independent nation, be able to amend its Constitution. The Dominion-Provincial Conference of 1927 failed to agree on how this might be done. Consequently, Canadians requested that the British government retain the power to amend Canada's Constitution. This the British did when they passed the Statute of Westminster in 1931, although in all other aspects the Statute freed Canada from the supremacy of the British Parliament. On 5 November 1981, a federal-provincial conference agreed on how to amend the Constitution. At the request of a joint resolution on 8 December 1981 of the Canadian Senate and House of Commons, the British Parliament passed the Canada Act indicating that from now on, Canada's Constitution will be amended in Canada. The Act modifies the Constitution in other ways, most notably by adding a charter of rights and freedoms. Canada, at last, has achieved full independence. To emphasize the unique importance of this issue, the stamp is designed in an unusual horizontal format by Friedrich Peter of Vancouver. The rich, traditional coloration enhances the graphic concept based on pages of history, the right-hand side bearing the simple inscription, "Constitution 1982".
Canada Post Corporation. [Postage Stamp Press Release], 1982.
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