10 August 2015

William Johnson: A return to Meech Lake’s constitutional fairy tales


So Quebec provincial Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard wants to lead us back to the bogs and quicksands of Meech Lake. Non merci.
Couillard, like Robert Bourassa before him, thinks blackmail will serve Quebec’s ends. On Saturday, in concluding a party meeting, Couillard promised: “A [Quebec] government that I lead would not participate in a conference dealing with Senate reform until that agenda contains explicitly the recognition and the discussion of the five historic conditions of Quebec.”
The five constitutional amendments of the 1987 Meech Lake accord included the recognition of Quebec as a “distinct society,” with that distinctiveness to be promoted by the Quebec government. It offered Quebec new powers over the selection of immigrants and appointments to the Supreme Court of Canada, allowed Quebec to withdraw with compensation from federally-initiated shared-cost programs, and gave Quebec a veto over constitutional change to major institutions, such as reforming or abolishing the Senate.

No comments: