My Teaching This Week

12 11 2009

In my first-year course, the focus was on the 1840s and 1850s. On Monday, I spoke about the achievement of Responsible Government. I showed part of this clip:

On Wednesday, I talked about the advent of the railway in British North America. I stressed the revolutionary impact of the technology on society, the economy, and, above all, politics.I showed the following clip at the end of my lecture:

In my honours seminar on British North America in the period of Confederation, we focused on the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia. We discussed the following readings: Jean Barman, The West Beyond the West: a History of British Columbia (Toronto, Ont. : University of Toronto Press, 1991), 52-98; Chris Clarkson, “Property law and family regulation in Pacific British North America, 1862-1873” Histoire Sociale / Social History 30 (1997): 386-416. Charles C. Irby, “The Black Settlers on Saltspring Island in the Nineteenth Century” Phylon 35  (1974): 368-374

One student gave an excellent presentation on the life of Sir James Douglas. I am including a video about Douglas here:

I’m also including this video about Black settlers in British Columbia.

I also met my graduate student to discuss two readings related to her research project. Edward S. Roger, “Northern Algonquians and the Hudson’s Bay Company, 1821-1890” in Aboriginal Ontario : Historical Perspectives on the First Nations edited by Edward S. Rogers and Donald B. Smith (Toronto : Dundurn Press, 1994), 307-344; J.R. Millers, Skyscrapers Hide The Heavens (Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1989).

Canada’s Constitution

30 09 2009
British North America Act

British North America Act

Does Canada have a written constitution? According to a recent article in the American Political Science Review by James Fink, Canada’s constitution is entirely customary or unwritten. As political scientist Janet Ajzenstat points out, Canada has a written constitution.

I would add, however, that the unwritten parts of the Canadian constitution are more important than the written documents. This is probably what Fink meant to say.