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Before 1982, Canada could only change its Constitution by asking the British Parliament
to do it for Canada. The way Canada had resolved this issue, was by introducing a formula that
Britain, the Federal and Provincial government could all agree on. This was the amending
formulas that had been listed within s.38 to s.49 of the Constitution Act 1982. It is this amending
feature within the Canadian constitution that holds the most fundamental values for our nation,
which essentially allows our country to grow and flourish in harmony. In saying this, there are
issues that can arise out of the general, unanimous and other amending formulas.

The general formula is considered to be the standard way to change the constitution and
the only way the general formula cannot be used, is if the constitution states otherwise. In
saying this, one of the major problems with this formula, is the fact that it is heavily protected.
For example, in order for the general formula to succeed, it needs approval from the federal,
senate, minimum number of provincial legislature, minimum number of seven provinces, in
which 50% of Canadian population must be represented. Therefore, in order to change the
constitution, it can be very time consuming. The problem that can occur out of this issue, is the
fact that amending the constitution should have some leeway and should be flexible to not
allowing it to be protected at all cost. The reason for this, is because our values change
overtime, and therefore so should the constitution in accordance to the social values that society
has allowed to be accepted. Therefore, since it is time consuming, what society may accept
now might change overtime.


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As for the other amending formula, changes to the constitution that do not affect all
provinces can only be resolved by the provinces that it does affect. For example, if it is a
change to a provincial constitution, only that province needs to agree to the change. Or, if there
is a situation where multiple provinces are being affected by an issue that needs to be resolved,
then it will only be those provinces that are being affected need to agree to the change. The
problem with this, is that it does not require direct approval by the people of Canada. Its a
problem, because Canada is a democratic society, in which they should have a right to vote on
issues that can potentially affect them. In saying this, there have been some positive
approaches that have been taken. For example, Alberta, with the Constitution Referendum Act,
RSA 2000 and British Columbia, with the Constitutional Amendment Approval Act, RSBC 1996,
have now passed laws that require that a referendum must be held before there can be any
approval to make a change to the constitution.

In regards to the unanimous formula, this is where all governments need to agree to
make a change to any issue that may be of concern to them. For example, one of the issues
that may be of concern is the changing of the role of the King or Queen, or perhaps changing
the use of English and French in Canada. The problem that can potentially arise out of this
issue, is the fact that all governments must agree in order for the any problem to be resolved.
Therefore, because all governments need to agree on these sort of issues, it is very unlikely that
those changes will ever be made.


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In conclusion, even though there is a lot of debate in regards to the formulas for
changing the Canadian Constitution, the end result is that the main purpose of Canadas
amending formulas is to make sure that the constitution is always being protected.