Discussion with Premiers re: “Patriation” of Constitution -Nova Scotia- Premier Regan

Click here to view the original document (PDF).



Nova Scotia – Premier Regan – June 13, 1975

Meeting – 12:00 noon with Premier Regan, Innis MacLeod
Hal Stevens, Carter, RGR.
(Was to have been at 11:00 but Premier held in
legislature for emergency legislation to end
nurses’ strike.)

Presentation – Outlined position of Premiers seen to date:
Schreyer, Lougheed, Davis, Bourassa and Moores.
Said essentially wanted to know whether N.S.
would go along with proposal; whether it had any
special problems or proposals; whether would agree
in principle to some kind of “constitutional
guarantees” for security of French culture.

Points Discussed:

(a) Mr. Regan was unclear on the precise plan:
had the impression that all of Victoria Charter
was proposed. Clarified this point.

(b) On amendment formula, Regan expressed some
initial concern over any change in the Victoria
provisions. Said there had been some criticism
of veto for Ontario (OK for Quebec on cultural
grounds) – it was “no more a province than N.S.”.
His defense had been it was an agreed package.
If it were changed, there could be renewed
criticism. However, on reflection he decided
this would not be too difficult: if B.C. could
accept an Ontario veto, N.S. could.

(c) On Supreme Court, Regan was strongly for in-
clusion. Agrees fully with Lougheed.

(d) On cultural guarantees, N.S. “would do the
best it could” to accept and go along, but he
would have to see the precise text proposed and
would have to consult his colleagues. If properly
worded, it could have some attraction for
Acadians in N.S.

(e) If provisions went in with respect to cul-
ture, there would be pressure to have something
in about regional disparities.. This was funda-
mentally important to N.S. I said this clearly
could not be ruled out as being contrary to the
ground rules and that I would raise it with the
P.M. (Part VII of Victoria)

(f) Regan asked about the Senate: had it not
been covered by Victoria (appt. by the provinces
to some degree). I said not. He referred to dis-
cussions (possibly Feb/71 or private) when P.M.
had indicated would consider action on once
amending formula agreed. He would like this
raised with P.M. – not as a condition and not
as something to be included in the package. I
said I would mention to P.M.

(g) N.S. would be favourable to action for
“patriation” on the basis proposed but

(i) would need to see the “constitutional
guarantees”, and

(ii) if they were in, would want to have
something like Part VII on Regional

Procedure – Mr. Regan said he thought a conference was not
neessary and probably should be avoided if
agreement could be reached through bilateral
discussions. He said they would like to see a
text whenever one was ready. He planned to talk
to “Dick” (Hatfield) and “Alex” (Campbell) at a
meeting with the Governors of the New England
states they would be attending shortly.

Separate Meeting with MacLeod and Stevens

From 11:00 to 12:00, while waiting for Regan, Carter
and I met with MacLeod and Stevens. Two technical points
were raised:

(a) Re Part IX: omission of Articles 53, 54, 55

MacLeod pointed out substantive aspects:
would leave procedure re change in Senate and
powers of Senate in 91(1), also office of the
Queen, also proportional rep. COuld this change
not be included in package? I pointed out ground
rules: not get into BNA Act – “not break the
shell”. If did, no way to stop. If change that,
why not powers re broadcasting; disallowance;
reservation. He saw point, but said would have
to raise with his Premier. I said OK: but be
clear that it would not “worsen” the situation,
would only leave it as it now is.

(b) Re Article 59: is it not needed?

Stevens argued that, if not in, the status
of BNA Act, after process, would not be clear.
Would it be a Canadian statute? A part of the
Canadian constitution? (Here he and MacLeod also
tied Act 59 to Part IX). I promised to take up
with Justice.

Leave a Reply