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The Charlottetown Accord

Overview of the Charlottetown Accord

- Charlottetown Accord (1992)
- "Canada Clause" which protected ethnic duality, rather than bilingual characteristics.
- Basically a rehash of the Meech lake Accord.
- Included a "Triple-E" Senate (Equal by Province).
- Included a commitment to negotiate right to self-government of First Nations.
- Included social charter to complement the "Canada Clause".
- On October 26, 1992, separate referenda in Canada and in Quebec rejected the accord for different reasons. As a result, the Mulroney government and the provincial premiers let the accord die.

The Charlottetown Accord

PM Mulroney and the federal government began another attempt at constitutional reform almost immediately after the unsuccessful Meech Lake Accord. In fall 1980, Mulroney appointed former PM Joe Clark, Canada's First Minister of Constitutional Affairs. His job was to oversee constitutional negotiations with provincial premiers and other interested groups.

One of the complaints about the Meech Lake Accord was that the PM and provincial premiers tried to create by themselves a deal that was supposed to represent all Canadians without involving the citizens. To respond to this complaint, in 1992, a special joint committee of the House of Commons and the Senate heard the testimony of seven hundred people. In addition, three thousand written submissions were received. This was all made possible by Joe Clark, who wrote an open letter to all Canadians, urging them to take the opportunity to be part of constitutional reform.

The reports were used as a basis for drawing up a new accord. PM Mulroney met several times with provincial premiers along with representatives from territorial and aboriginal groups to discuss the new agreement. This resulted into the Charlottetown Accord, which was signed on August 28, 1992.

On October 26, 1992, all eligible Canadians could vote Yes or No to indicate whether they wanted to except the Charlottetown Accord or not. Later that evening, the results of the national referendum was 54% No. Yet another attempt that failed.

Many people say that the accord failed to pass because it tried to satisfy everyone. An aboriginal person could supported the accords position on self-government, but would vote No because there was not enough in the accord to protect their rights.

Aboriginal peoples still sought self-government. Quebec still wanted greater control over their own affairs. Constitutional reform now seemed a distant goal, with the failure of the both the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords.

Copyright 1998, Phil C. & Hussein B.