1791 – The Constitutional Act
THE ARRIVAL OF THE LOYALISTS
After the American War of Independence, many Loyalists settled north of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie (in an area that is located in what is now known as the province of Ontario). They profoundly transformed the face of Canada. The Loyalists had a different language (English), a different way of life (townships), and different political beliefs (they wanted a House of Assembly). It was for these reasons that Britain passed the Constitutional Act in 1791.
TERRITORY AND LANGUAGE
The Constitutional Act divided the province of Quebec into two parts: Upper Canada (southern Ontario), where the majority of the population were English, and Lower Canada (southern Quebec), where the majority of the population were French. In Lower Canada, some English speakers settled in Quebec City, Montreal, and the Eastern Townships.
THE RIGHT TO VOTE
Thanks to the Constitutional Act, the population of Lower Canada now had the right to vote. They voted for their members of parliament. The members of parliament then received the right to run the colony. This was the beginning of democracy in Canada. However, the elected members of parliament quickly understood that the colony was still ruled by England. They had limited power to make decisions for the colony.
Author : Léon Robichaud. RECITUS. Translated by LEARN.