Hey, Jim! Where’s My Constitution?

I read in the current issue of the American Political Science Review that Canada does not have a written constitution. I am astounded! Where have I been living all these happy years?

Here’s the statement: “Relatively few countries today have unwritten constitutions – most notably the United Kingdom, Israel, and Canada.”

The author is James Fink and he has written what appears to be an engaging article entitled, “The Language of Liberty and Law: James Wilson on America’s Written Constitution,” APSR Vol. 103, No. 3 August 2009.

He points out that “even these exceptions [the United Kingdom, Israel, and Canada] have partially codified their constitutions.” I am not mollified.

Friends we haven’t been doing a good job at getting out the news! The Americans do not know about the British North America Act (1867).

It is true that in 1982 we changed the name of our founding document. (It’s now the Constitution Act, 1967.) That’s no excuse.

The APSR is arguably the world’s premier journal of political science. Articles are read by three referees. All must strongly approve. Fink thanks no fewer than ten colleagues for their comments and suggestions. The editors of the Review looked it over; in the preface to this issue they write about the article briefly but do not mention Canada.


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