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News Release

The Magna Carta in Canada for its 800th Anniversary

The Great Charter and its companion, the Charter of the Forest, will tour four cities in Canada, June 12 to December 29, 2015

February 17, 2015 – Ottawa – Department of Canadian Heritage

Canadians will have the opportunity to see and learn about the Magna Carta, the document that set the groundwork for our democracy, justice and human rights. This was announced today by the Honourable Pierre Poilievre, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister of Democratic Reform, on behalf of the Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, and all members of the House of Commons.

The Magna Carta, or Great Charter, was created in 1215. It was the first document in English jurisprudence to state the monarch was not above the law and it became the basis for freedom, democracy and rule of law in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, including Canada.


Quick Facts

• The 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta will be marked in 2015.

• The Government of Canada is providing $500,000 to Magna Carta Canada to bring the Great Charter and its companion, the Charter of the Forest, to four cities in Canada from June 11 to December 29, 2015.

• The two documents will tour Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg and Edmonton.

• Magna Carta Canada will also create lesson plans and educational materials about democracy, the rule of law, civil rights, women’s rights and the use of the environment.

• The Charter was created by the barons of King John, led by Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton, because they wished to curb the sovereign’s spending and power.

• Over many years, the document was refined into four key points: nobody is above the law; all are entitled to freedom from unlawful detention (habeas corpus); all have the right to a trial by jury; and widows could not be forced into marriage and give up their property—an early first step in women’s rights.



“When the Fathers of Confederation came together at the Québec Conference in 1864, they were unanimous the new country should remain a constitutional monarchy based on the concepts expressed in the Magna Carta: freedom, democracy and the rule of law should be the birthright of every citizen. This year, when we mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, we will celebrate everything that makes Canada strong, proud and free.”

—The Honourable Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages


“As a free and democratic nation, Canada has evolved based on the process that flowed from the Magna Carta in England. As proud bearers of the democratic concepts expressed in the Magna Carta, Canadians are the heirs to a tradition of freedom and stewards of a legacy that was centuries in the making.”

—The Honourable Pierre Poilievre, Minister of Employment and Social Development and Minister of Democratic Reform


“We are extremely grateful for the generous support of the Government of Canada in helping us bring the Magna Carta and its companion document, the Charter of the Forest, to Canada. This support helps us to provide Canadians with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience these groundbreaking historical documents, which lie at the heart of our democratic values, and to learn about how integral they have been to the development of governance and the rule of law in Canada.”

—Len and Suzy Rodness, Co-Chairs, Magna Carta Canada


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For more information (media only), please contact:
Marisa Monnin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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