In August 1992, a group of seventeen Canadian leaders agreed to adopt the Charlottetown Accord, a colossal package of constitutional reforms that would have redefined the basic terms of the federation. However, less than two months later, the Accord was decisively rejected in Canada’s first — and to this day, only — nationwide referendum on the Constitution. Through interviews with ex-government ministers, constitutional negotiators, and legal experts, this series tells the story of how Canada found itself at this constitutional crossroads, and of how Canada’s leaders went from a moment of historic consensus to a crushing defeat at the polls.
#1 Patriation: “Night of the Long Knives” or National Triumph?
March 15, 2022
In November 1981, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and 9 provincial premiers approved an extensive package of constitutional reforms without the consent of Quebec, setting Canada up for more than a decade of political wrangling over its Constitution.
#2 Meech Lake: The People v. The Establishment
March 22, 2022
The election of Brian Mulroney ushers in a new era of constitutional politics in Canada, but Canadians across the political spectrum take issue with his efforts to get Quebec’s signature on the Constitution.
#3 Charlottetown, Part 1: Constitutional Brainstorming
March 30, 2022
The failure of the Meech Lake Accord puts the brakes on Mulroney’s Quebec-centric constitutional mission. To regroup, Mulroney launches an extraordinary series of public consultations to discover what, exactly, Canadians want from their Constitution.
#4 Charlottetown, Part 2: The Kitchen Sink Accord
April 6, 2022
In March 1992, Canada’s leaders return to the negotiating table to try and achieve a new constitutional consensus. Can they finally find a settlement that reconciles their seemingly conflicting constitutional visions?
#5 Charlottetown, Part 3: Canada Says No!
April 13, 2022
Having reached a historic consensus at Charlottetown, PEI, Canada’s leaders set about selling their reforms to the Canadian public, culminating in Canada’s first (and still only) constitutional referendum on October 26, 1992.
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