MegaConstitutional Politics

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22 Apr 2012
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November 28th Government of Canada
MegaConstitutional Politics
Victoria Charter 1971 Trudeau wants a pan-Canadian attitude.
1969: Trudeau is PM, gets a sense of how he will do constitutional reform
No extra powers for provinces, charter of rights, pan-Canadian attitude
Reshaping federal institutions: equality for both languages, reform
institutions: senate/court/strengthening the federal government
Agreement: some provision for a Charter of Rights,
Bill of Rights cornerstone with language rights
Role for provinces SC Appointments
Amending Formula
QC denied greater power gets very little in regard to changes in powers.
Becoming a modern state, wants more powers terms of family, youth
“gets nada”.
Any province with 25% of the population got a veto on any constitutional
amendment
Spending Power explicitly recognized in charter
November 1976 election of a PQ government committed to a referendum
“North American European Union” – Quebec & the rest of Canada
o Trudeau government responds “time for action”, reform: Senate,
federal government, charter, no switch in federal powers
o Decentralization from Canada to Quebec
o Supreme Court rules federal government can’t unilaterally change the
character of the Senate
o 1980 Referendum with Rene Levesque. Trudeau loses 1979, Joe
Clark. 60% no, 40% yes..
o February/March: Clark introduces budget, loses the vote in the House
has to resign.
o Everyone of trudeau’s constitutional proposals was to reform the
federal government
Originally was told the Constitution needed changes not strong enough
o What starts in 1980-1981 in the const negotiations we as citizens
take ownership of the constitution most significant changes in the
constitutional culture of Canada
Trudeau/his people brilliant marketers
o No constitution prohibition about the federal government unilaterally
going to London
Constitutional convention need provincial consent to do so
Gang of Eight only two provinces on his side were
Ontario/New Brunswick
Night of the Long Knives: meeting of 9 provinces,
negotiations without Quebec have to accept all this:
notwithstanding clause, provincial formula 7 provinces
representing 50% of the population,
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