By: Mike Anderson
Ontario is a step closer to proclaiming June 15 as Magna Carta Day, after Bill 201 received a second reading at Queen’s Park on September 17.
If passed the Magna Carta Day Act would commemorate one of the English-speaking world’s most important constitutional documents.
It would also pay tribute to the late Julia Munro, former MPP for York-Simcoe, who originally introduced the private members bill in July, 2014, before retiring from politics.
“It signifies that no one, not even the crown is above the law,” Julia Munro said at the time.
Unfortunately, the bill did not pass a third reading.
Ms. Munro, a former history teacher and the longest serving female member of the Ontario Legislature, died of cancer at the age of 76 on June 12, 2019.
Well regarded on both sides of the Legislature, she was often referred to as Lady Munro, in part, because of her non-partisan nature and commitment to democratic principles.
Indeed, a copy of the Magna Carta hung on her office wall at Queen’s Park.
“Julia Munro was passionate about the constitution and proper governance. She recognized the importance of the Magna Carta in our democracy, which is why she first introduced the Magna Carta Day Act on July 23rd, 2014,” said Burlington MPP Jane McKenna.
“Six years later, I’m proud to introduce her Bill again, this time in her memory, as the longest serving female member of the Ontario Legislature.”
The Magna Carta, which means ‘The Great Charter’, was signed by England’s King John in 1215, and established the principles of equal justice for everyone, freedom from unlawful detention, and the right to a trial by jury. It is considered the basis for English common law, and, by extension, Canada’s constitutional monarchy.
“Before entering politics, Julia taught high school history for 24 years. She recognized the importance of the Magna Carta as the foundation of our democracy. For this reason the Magna Carta Day Act is a fitting tribute,” said York-Simcoe MPP Caroline Mulroney, who paid tribute to Munro in the Legislature.
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