Acheivement of the constitution act of 1982 and the failure of the Meech Lake accord

Essay by julienlalandeUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2003

download word file, 8 pages 3.7 1 reviews


The creation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867 with the British North America Act (now known as the 1867 Constitution Act) produced a government replicating the British parliamentary system and established the British sovereign as Canada monarch. In 1981, the Supreme Court of Canada acknowledged the "anomaly that although Canada has international recognition as an independent, autonomous and self-governing state ... it suffers from an internal deficiency in the absence of legal power to alter or amend the essential distributive arrangements under which legal authority is exercised in the country, whether at the federal or provincial level."

Patriation is "the process by which the power to amend the Canadian constitution would be transferred from the Parliament of the United Kingdom to Canada" . Pierre Elliot Trudeau and his liberal government revised the 1867 Constitution Act in the 1970s, eventually producing the Constitution Act of 1982, which established patriation and added a Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Later, his successor, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, endeavored to confirm Québec's consent of the new constitution in 1987 with the Meech Lake accord. Said accord necessitated the undisputed acquiesce of all Canadian provinces and territories within three years. Nevertheless, the settlement was never sanctioned, primarily due to issues concerning official languages and apprehension surrounding the viewpoint of the province of Québec as a "distinct society". The following shall analyze and explain how the Constitution Act of 1982, with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, was achieved. Additionally, this essay shall speculate as to whether or not the Meech Lake Accord of 1987, if ratified, would have built upon or detracted from the achievement of 1982.

The Constitution Act of 1867 & Federalism in Canada

As a former colony of the British Empire, Canada inherited the principle of legislative supremacy from the...