Discussions with Premiers Re: “Patriation” of Constitution- Alberta- Premier Lougheed
DISCUSSIONS WITH PREMIERS RE “PATRIATION” OF CONSTITUTION
Alberta — Premier Lougheed — May 16th, 1975
Meeting 3:30 — 4:30 in Premier’s office attended by:
Premier Lougheed; A.G. Lou Hyndman; Peter
Meekison; Carter and self.
Presentation – Reminded of discussion at dinner on April 9;
reactions by Premiers; initial contact (by
telephone) had been with Mr. Bourassa (as the
Premier most concerned). Bourassa had asked
me to contact a few English speaking Premiers
(not all) first and had specifically asked me
to see Mr. Lougheed. Had seen Schreyer en
route; woufd see Davis on Tuesday; then Mr.
Bourassa. Said I thought Mr. Bourassa wanted
a bit more time re “constitutional guarantees”.
– then gave presentation of proposal.
Points raised by Mr. Lougheed et al
1. The Supreme Court: Raised question whether it would
not be possible, in the “patriation” operation, to include the
Victoria formula re the Supreme Court (Part IV).
I said would not involve getting into substance of B.N.A.
Act since Supreme Court is not established by it. Thought
could be added if was general wish.
Lougheed: (a) Referred to discussion at Premiers’ Con-
ference in autumn 1974. All but Hatfield
had favoured formula (Part IV). Hatfield
had said only supported it at Victoria to
get other parts of Charter. Was basically
opposed to – but might agree to get amend-
(b) Said Part IV would be a definite addition
for Alta. Would give some substance and
attraction to exercise.
2. The “Possible B.C. veto”: Mr. Hyndman referred to
“majority of population” provision for western provinces —
not for Atlantic. Why in? Why not as for Atlantic? Explained
Bennett insistence in l97l. Meekison added that at one point
in 1971 Bennett had pressed for 5 regions — B.C. to be a region
and therefore a veto without either 25% total population or a
majority of western population.
Lougheed stressed that present Alberta government had no
commitment re Victoria. They thought Alta. development might
keep B.C. from ever having a majority of western population but,
even so, were opposed to that provision in Part IX. Wanted me
to talk to Mr. Barrett re.
3. Additional provinces: Hyndman asked what situation
if 1 or 2 added. I said would not necessarily have to change
formula. Under Art. 49 “majority” of provinces required: 6
of 10; 6 of 11; 7 of l2. A new provinces of “Yukon” or “N.W.T.”
could be part of or affect “majority”, but would not come under
s.s. (1), (2) or (3).
Hyndman said would not want a new province to “dilute”
the requirement re the west (i.e., be one of “two of the western
provinces”). (I should also have pointed out Art. 57 which
names the 4 “western provinces”.)
1. Hyndman will put matter to Alberta Cabinet and will
recommend that Alta. be prepared to go along with “patriation”
(a) drop “at least 50% of the population of all the
western provinces” .
A (b) include Supreme Court (Part IV).
2. Mr. Hyndman or someone for him will phone me re
Alberta position after #1.
3. Mr. Lougheed asked me to advise Mr. Bourassa of the
Alta. position, especially re the Supreme Court. (I can advise
him re the S.C. — and Mr. Lougheed wants me to — even if Alta.
Cabinet has not decided re #1.)
4. I undertook –
(a) to make argument to Mr. Barrett re “50% of popu-
(b) to advise P.M. of importance of Part IV to Alta.
(C) to advise Alta. of positions of Ont. and Que-
(I told Mr. Lougheed of position taken by
1. If B.C. will not agree on “50%”, could put into “Fall
Back position” the Victoria formula modified to omit “50%” .
– B.C. might be angry, but would be difficult to
argue for their position (in effect, for a veto
if do not get 25% of population)
– if both B.C. and Que. were angry, might be better
than Que. only.
2. Alternative, might be to go ahead on “patriation” if
could get support of all provinces but B.C.
3. Might even consider going ahead with all but B.C. and