The Constitution Act of 1982, which essentially certified Canada’s independence from the United Kingdom, was revealed today as the second stamp in the upcoming Canada 150 set.
Government officials, including Canada’s chief justice and the head of Canada Post, unveiled the new stamp in a sunny, outdoor ceremony at 3:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) on the steps of the Parliament in Ottawa.
The 10 Canada 150 Permanent (first class) stamps — all in the shape of a maple leaf, Canada’s national symbol — will be issued June 1. Canada Post is spending the next month unveiling the stamps in ceremonies. Most of the ceremonies will be live, though a ceremony Thursday for the third stamp will be online. The first stamp unveiled last week features Habitat from Expo 67.
The Constitution Act, signed April 17, 1982, includes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a bill of rights guaranteeing constitutional freedoms. It also includes an Aboriginal Rights clause guaranteeing rights for Native Canadians.
The signing of the act meant that the vision of the fathers of confederation was realized, said Canada Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin at Wednesday’s ceremony. “This signaled Canada’s complete independence from the United Kingdom; Canada had become of age.”
Also taking part in the ceremony were Steven MacKinnon, a member of Parliament, and Canada Post President and CEO Deepak Chopra.
The Constitution Act stamp shows a partial image of the Canadian Coat of Arms and the date “1982,” when the act was signed by Queen Elizabeth II and Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Interestingly, a large section of the British flag has been cut away from the arms image at upper left. Also, part of the lower right of the coat of arms has been cut away for design purposes. The cuts allow most of the Coat of Arms to be shown in the maple-leaf design.
The Canada Coat of Arms includes a traditional shield displaying the arms of England, Scotland, Ireland, and France to symbolize the nation’s founders. Underneath the four quarters, on a white field, is a sprig of three maple leaves to indicate the new nation of many peoples. Originally green, in 1957 the leaves officially became red, a common autumnal color, and thus in accord with Canada’s national colors of red and white. The crest and the shield’s supporters — a lion and a unicorn — are similar to the royal arms of Great Britain. The motto is A Mari Usque ad Mare (“From sea to sea”).