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Lecture 18

History 2201E Lecture Notes - Lecture 18: Section 33 Of The Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms, Parliamentary Sovereignty

Course Code
HIS 2201E
Linda Sabathy- Judd

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Lecture 18 Part 4 Canadian Constitution
o Trudeau promised a new constitution made in Canada, but warned
that doing this could open Pandora’s Box
Canada had the right to amend its own Constitution since 1931
with the Statute of Westminster
Privy Council in England still making decisions for Canada
Hadn’t been addressed because they knew what the
consequences could be
Amending formula: have to have all the premiers agree on how
the constitution should be amended
Constitutional Amendment Bill
Premiers have to try and agree on an amending formula
You will accept a charter or rights and freedoms along
with the constitution (many opposed this)
Under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, your
individual rights are protected through the judicial
system, not legislative; challenges the superiority of
“Who should have the final say over individual rights
and freedoms?” the major question
Could not get the 10 premiers to agree on anything
When they failed to reach an agreement, Trudeau opted to do it
by himself: unilateral patriation of the British North America
Only Ontario and the federal government agreed, “Gang
of Eight” refused (all other provinces)
Made a pact among themselves, in the Group of Eight
refused to commit to anything without consulting with
each other; if one wanted to leave the group they would
have to explain why
Tried to block Trudeau by taking the issue to the federal
o “Patriating the constitution without consensus of
the provinces was unconventional, but not
illegal. Unanimous agreement of the provinces
was traditional, not a constitutional
Tried one last time to get consensus from the “Gang of
o Levesque persuaded to leave the Gang of Eight
o Finally agreed on an amending formula and a
Charter of Rights and Freedoms, except
Trudeau agreed to a “Notwithstanding Clause
o Premiers agreed to do it, as they got the
Notwithstanding Clause
o Allows a province to ignore the Charter of Rights
and Freedoms on an issue to feels strongly about
o Has not been invoked often, usually by Quebec
over language issue
o Last bit of parliamentary supremacy
3 attorney generals came up with the Constitution,
made all the Premiers sign the document except
Levesque (didn’t wake him up to sign it)
o Had the document on his breakfast plate to sign
the next morning
o Didn’t sign it, still haven’t signed it to this day
o “Night of the Long Knives” – Quebec felt stabbed
in the back
Signed April 1982 by Queen Elizabeth II
Multiculturalism Act 1985/88