The “1867 As Year Zero” School of Canadian History

James Bowden's Blog

John Boyko’s Book on John A. Macdonald

Historian John Boyko appeared on The Agenda with Steve Paikin on 30 May in order to promote his new book, Sir John’s Echo: The Voice for a Stronger Canada. Boyko presents this warmed over case for Macdonald’s centralized view of federalism and his initial support for a “legislative union” (i.e., a unitary state) of amalgamating the various British North American colonies into one new colony with one order of government. Boyko therefore focuses on the division of powers contained in sections 91 and 92 of the British North America Act, 1867, and emphasizes his own support of the principle in the POGG Clause in section 91 that non-enumerated, residual authorities fall within the competence of the Parliament of Canada and not the provincial legislatures.

He subscribes to what I call The 1867 as Year Zero School of Canadian history: for him…

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