This text contains Professor Benoît Pelletier's speech presented as a
plenary at the British Association for Canadian Studies 35th Annual
Conference, Democracy as a Work in Progress: The Intellectual and Cultural
Dynamics of the Canadian Idea, University of Cambridge, 6–8 April 2010.
Further updating of the text occurred prior to going to print (December
2010). Benoît Pelletier reminds us that, since its creation in 1867, Canada
has provided a part of the answer to one of the major challenges
confronting us today, which is the challenge of managing interdependence
and enhancing diversity. The author also examines some of the
components of Canada's identity. Among these are federalism, constitutional
monarchy, parliamentarianism, constitutionalism and the rule of
law, the independence of the judiciary, the constitutional and quasi-constitutional
protection of human rights and freedoms, a cumbersome
constitutional amendment procedure and democracy.