Amending the Constitution The Meech Lake Accord represented the first test of Canada's new amending formula, found in Section V of the Constitution Act, 1982. Instead, they proposed placing the final decision for nominating individuals with others, beyond the provincial premiers. The purpose of this article is to provide a general introduction to the Meech Lake Accord, including the substance of the agreement and an overview of why it failed to be ratified. Although the Charlottetown Accord received a majority of votes in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, and the Northwest Territories, it was opposed by the other provinces, particularly Quebec. The following section provides an overview of the positions taken by pro and anti-Meech forces on specific sections of the Accord: Distinct Society Clause The heart of the Meech Lake Accord, the distinct society clause was by far the most contentious feature of the constitutional agreement. As events unfolded, it became clear that the provinces of Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland would each play a key role in determining the Accord's fate.
While the exclusion of the general public in the negotiation process irreparably damaged public opinion of the Accord, the amending formula adopted by the federal government was even more detrimental to Meech Lake. Sections 40 to 42 of the Constitution Act, 1982 are repealed and the following substituted therefor: 40. New provincial governments elected in New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Manitoba meant Premiers in power that never signed the original Accord and now expected to be able to negotiate terms before pledging their support. Furthermore, federal officials emphasized that the Meech Lake Accord was merely the first phase of a process of constitutional renewal; issues of importance to other groups, such as Senate reform and Aboriginal self-government, would be negotiated in later rounds. The Meedh Lake Accord was a package of proposed amendments to the Constitution of Canada in 1987. As the deadline approached, the Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs came with the aboriginal concern to Elijah Harper, a member of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly.
The Fate of the Meech Lake Accord Despite efforts to reach a consensus, the constitutional agreement unravels, as Manitoba and Newfound fail to ratify the Meech Lake Accord before the June 23 deadline. Overview of the Meech Lake Accord Summary of the main features of the Accord The Meech Lake Accord consisted of amendments to the Canadian Constitution. A reference to the Constitution Act, 1982, or a reference to the Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982, shall be deemed to include a reference to any amendments thereto. These discussions, however, led nowhere. Mulroney threatened that if Meech Lake failed, then Quebec's separatist movement would gain strength and possibly break up the country. The Newfoundland legislature, under the government of Richard Hatfield, had ratified the Accord.
Furthermore, there was no threat to long-established programs of importance to Canadians, such as health care, since the provision would apply only to new shared-cost programs. Some academics and constitutional experts, however, argued that the distinct society clause did not give Quebec any special powers. The Prime Minister of Canada will lay or cause to be laid before the Senate and House of Commons, and the first ministers of the provinces will lay or cause to be laid before the legislative assemblies, as soon as possible, a resolution, in the form appended hereto, to authorize a proclamation to be issued by the Governor General under the Great Seal of Canada to amend the Constitution of Canada. Ontario was not alone in reacting negatively towards Quebec, however. The ambiguity of such a highly symbolic and potentially powerful statement led to accusations and resentment from both sides.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Queen's Printer for the Province of Manitoba. The federal government agreed to give Manitoba a three-month extension if Newfoundland and Labrador ratified the Accord by the 23 June deadline. The Government of Canada shall, at the request of the government of any province, negotiate with the government of that province for the purpose of concluding an agreement relating to immigration or the temporary admission of aliens into that province that is appropriate to the needs and circumstances of that province. The mechanism of bundling the additions into a separate document allowed government officials to claim the Meech Lake Accord itself had not been amended, even though some of the language in the companion resolution — regarding issues such as Senate reform and the creation of new provinces — clearly contradicted what was written in the Accord. However, the defeat of this constitutional amendment, along with the subsequent defeat of the Charlottetown Accord in 1992, forever changed the ways in which the reconcilement of Quebec and the relationship of the aboriginal peoples of Canada with the Crown would be conducted: excluding the First Nations of Canada the aboriginal people from constitutional discussions was rendered virtually impossible.
There was no legal requirement for these newly elected governments to hold a vote on the Accord in their respective provincial legislatures. Section 61 of the said Act is repealed and the following substituted therefor: 61. Thanks to Elijah Harper, a Manitoba First Nations Legislator, who started a filibuster to stop this vote in Manitoba Legislature. Designed to address the concerns of the Accord's opponents, the companion resolution contained several 'add-ons' to the original Meech Lake agreement. Outside the legislature, the members of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs were delayed and almost denied entry to the public galleries for that day. Later on it was realized that the Accord would never come to fruition. As an interim measure, the Accord further committed the Prime Minister to fill Senate vacancies from a list of nominees provided by the provincial governments.
This amendment may be cited as the Constitution Amendment, 1987. The Canadian Constitution, originally known as the British North America Act, had been proposed in 1867, when Canada was still under British Rule. Entrenching this commitment in the Constitution ensured that an agreement could not be changed without the consent of both governments, and could not be overridden by Parliament. Immigration The sections of the Meech Lake Accord dealing with immigration were designed to clarify the role of the federal and provincial governments in this area, and to provide constitutional recognition of existing immigration agreements previously struck between the federal government and Quebec. The Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau initiated talks with the 10 provinces in 1980, aiming to gain constitutional independence. Ever since this minute in Canadian history, we are all unsure about Canada? The negotiating procedure used to create the legislation and the amending formula chosen for ratification guaranteed that the Accord would fail, regardless of the substance of the Accord itself.
Ottawa refused and the Accord died after its deadline for ratification passed without support from Manitoba or Newfoundland and Labrador. It was the first attempt to amend the Constitution under the new rules for constitutional change set out in the Constitution Act, 1982. Original website design and artwork created by. It would also have recognized Quebec as a distinct society within Canada. Sections 46 to 48 of the Constitution Act, 1982 apply, with such modifications as the circumstances require, in respect of any declaration made pursuant to subsection 95C 1 , any amendment to an agreement made pursuant to subsection 95C 2 or any amendment made pursuant to section 95E. As an interim measure, the Accord further committed the Prime Minister to fill Senate vacancies from a list of nominees provided by the provincial governments.
A Cree member of the Manitoba Legislative Assembly — Elijah Harper — filibustered against it, because it failed to provide for Aboriginal consultation. Immigration The sections of the Meech Lake Accord dealing with immigration were designed to clarify the role of the federal and provincial governments in this area, and to provide constitutional recognition of existing immigration agreements previously struck between the federal government and Quebec. In order to be enshrined in the Constitution, the Meech Lake Accord would need to be ratified by Parliament and all ten provincial legislatures within three years. Under the terms of Confederation, Senate seats are regionally distributed, with a specific number of seats designated to each province. After the fundamental law was changed, many Quebeckers still rejected it because they felt their rights were still non met. Harper and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.