Dave Thomas, “Premier sets constitution conditions”, Montreal Gazette (25 August 1975)
By: Dave Thomas (Montreal Gazette)
Citation: Dave Thomas, “Premier sets constitution conditions”, Montreal Gazette (25 August 1975).
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Privy Council Office Bureau du Conseil privé
PRESS CLIPPINGS COUPURES DE JOURNAUX
Name of Publication Nom de la publication
Aug 25 1975
By DAVE THOMAS
of The Gazette
MONT-GABRIEL — Premier Robert Bouraasa yesterday laid down his conditions tor repatriation of the Canadian constitution and challenged Prime Minister Trudeau to make the next move.
Insisting that any new constitutional conference will be a waste of time unless Quebec’s demand for full control of communications and immigration are accepted for discussion, Bourassa said he is awaiting Trudeau’s answer.
“I think it is desirable that Canadians and Quebecers have the responsibility for their own constitution,” said Bourassa.
“But if Mr. Trudeau says there is no question of discussing anything but simple repatriation, it is not worth holding a conference.” he said at the closing of a three-day party seminar here.
A 1971 attempt to repatriate the 1867 British North America Act from the parliament of Great Britain failed when Bourassa refused to agree to an amending formula without a prior guarantee Quebec would have a final say in all matters of social policy.
His demands have now changed and are grouped under the slogan “cultural sovereignty.”
A transfer of constitutional authority over communications and immigration are his essential conditions to any constitutional agreement, he repeated yesterday.
Bourassa indicated Quebec could be satisfied without any special constitutional status if the federal government accords the other nine provinces the same jurisdictions.
“If the federal government wants to give the same thing to all the provinces, they can,” he said.
Such a solution would mean each of the provinces would have control over its own immigration and communications.
Bourassa did say, however, the particular reality of Quebec made his responsibilities greater than those of other provincial leaders.
“As the head of the only French-speaking government in North America, I cannot accept that another government whose majority in English-speaking has control over our immigration.”