- The rule for changing the constitution should be flexible
enough to adapt to changing needs and circumstances but stable
enough to provide protection against unpredictable change.
- All changes to the amending formula now require the unanimous
agreement of the province and the federal government.
The Challenges and Opportunities of an Amending Formula
To formulate an acceptable amending formula, PM Pierre Trudeau
and the ten provincial premiers met in 1980 to resolve the issues.
Negotiations quickly reached an impasse. The provincial premiers
wanted the agreement of all ten provinces to any constitutional
change. Rene Levesque, the Premiere of Quebec wanted veto power over
any changes unacceptable to Quebec, but other premiers did not
believe Quebec should have special status. PM Trudeau did not want
amendments to depend on all ten provinces agreement, so soon the
opportunity for an agreement passed.
PM Trudeau would later announce that the federal government would act
alone on matters concerning the constitution. Ontario and New
Brunswick were the only provinces that supported this decision.
The Federal Minister of Justice would then introduce a resolution in
Parliament for a Joint Address to her majesty the Queen. The
resolution asked the British Parliament to pass legislation to
- the constitution to be patriated or brought to Canada
- an amending formula coming into effect, as requested by the
- the strengthening of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms
This resolution was considered by the federal government the only way
to meet the challenges of constitutional change. The succession of
the resolution would mean that Canada would be in control of its
future and its constitution.