Back in 1864, when the fathers of confederation met in Charlottetown to draft the papers officially forming our Nation, Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley of Prince Edward Island was the originator of the term “Dominion of Canada”. The Fathers of confederation had been discussing what to prefix Canada with and during morning devotions, Tilley read Psalm 72:8, which states “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth”. It was the ambition of the founding fathers to stretch the new nation of Canada to the Pacific Ocean and from the St Lawrence River all the way to the North Pole so this Biblical inspiration worked perfectly.
The term “Dominion” was first used in the Bible in Genesis 1:26, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” KJV
The word dominion means “rule or power over.” God has sovereign power over His creation and has delegated the authority to mankind.
With the authority to rule comes the responsibility to rule well – to properly manage. There is an inherent accountability in the command to “subdue” the earth. Man has a duty to exercise his dominion, be the steward of, only under the authority of the One who delegated it.
It was the Liberal government of Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent who eliminated of the term “dominion” when referring to Canada. On November 8, 1951 he declared: “I can say at once that it is the policy of this government when statutes come up for review or consolidating to replace the word ‘dominion’ with the word ‘Canada.'” The last “Dominion Day” celebrations were held on Canada’s centennial July 1, 1967.
The prefix “Dominion” fit perfectly for Canada back in 1867. We will be celebrating Canada’s 150 year 2017 and along with the importance of environmental stewardship combined with the phrase every politician uses, “from sea to sea to sea” it seems very fitting to return the moniker “Dominion” even if only for Canada’s sesquicentennial celebration.