The Magna Carta is on display for all to see in England. The American Declaration of Independence is on display at the National Archives in Washington D.C. But the British North America Act, a document no less important to the founding of Canada, remains in London, England. It’s time we fixed that. It’s time our founding document came home to Canada once and for all. It’s time to Bring Back the Act.
"Canada needs its constitution," says Ian Wilson, Canada’s former National Archivist. "The British North America Act, 1867, also known as the Constitution Act, 1867, sets out the vision and hopes of the Fathers of Confederation."
A grassroots movement, BringBackTheAct.ca is an offshoot of The Canadian Experience
initiated by publisher Lori Abittan, and supported by over 70 print and online publications in 24 languages. The Canadian Experience
) is a yearlong series of articles on Canada’s history, politics, geography and culture. The series is written by our country’s foremost historians under the editorship of Jack Granatstein and sponsored by Multimedia Nova Corporation. The realization that the BNA Act was resting on foreign soil prompted Abittan, President and CEO of Multimedia Nova, to launch the campaign to bring it to Canada.
To make this truly national project a reality, organizers of BringBackTheAct.ca are calling on all Canadians to lend their voices to the chorus asking Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, and the British government to allow the original BNA Act to be given to Canada where it will be properly displayed for the country to see.
"Having this most important icon from our history accessible here in our own country would have inestimable value in helping bring our history alive for Canadians," says historian Granatstein.
The ultimate goal is to have the Act in Canada by 2014 — in time for the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown and Quebec City constitutional conferences that set the groundwork for Confederation. The document would then become part of a cross-country exhibition on Canada’s constitutional history before finding a permanent home in Ottawa in time for Canada’s 150th birthday on July 1, 2017.
"It is on this document that Canadians have built our country," says Wilson. "Each generation needs to understand this story, complex as it may be, in order to continue to develop our constitution and our society."
is enlisting the help and support of all Canadians from the eminent to the unknown, from all political parties and places, and from all walks of life to make this project a success that Canadians will own together.
Join now! Sign up at BringBackTheAct.ca and say how you want to and can help.
"This is an important project for our country," says Abittan. "We are proud Canadians and while many of our readers were born somewhere else, we have all chosen Canada as our home.
It is why we decided to undertake The Canadian Experience and why we have dedicated ourselves to bring the BNA Act home for all Canadians. We all need to understand our country’s history and foundations to truly appreciate how wonderful and unique Canada really is."