Memorandum from R.G. Robertson [Discussions on patriation of the constitution] to Mr. Carter (21 May 1975)

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Date: 1975-05-13
By: R.G. Robertson
Citation: Memorandum from R.G. Robertson to Mr. Carter (21 May 1975).
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May 13th, 1975.


Discussions on patriation of the

See the attached copy of a memorandum
I have sent to Mrs. Reed on the Prime Minister’s
reactions to my memorandum of May 8th. would
you particularly take a look at the Prime
Minister’s comment about reviving the Bill of
Rights proposals of Victoria.

I am very sceptical whether this would
be at all helpful. Bill 22 has so altered
the picture, both in Quebec and Outside, that I
suspect we would be likely to cause more
difficulties than we would resolve by raising
the Bill of Rights and particularly the
language provisions at this time.

Perhaps we can use the flight to
Winnipeg on Thursday to discuss this among
other things.



May 13th, 1975.


Discussions on patriation of the

I have now had comments from the
Prime Minister on my memorandum to him of May 8th.
They are as follows:

A. With respect to Mr.Bourassa’s “conditions”

The Prime Minister is very dubious whether
anything in a preamble to the Governor General’s
proclamation would be helpful from Mr.Bourassa’s
point of view. He says that if it becomes
necessary to try to do something, his inclination
would be “to revive the idea of our Bill of
Rights (including language)”. I would like
to be in a position to talk about this when I see
Mr. Bourassa if it becomes necessary. Would
you please, therefore, take a look at the Bill of
Rights as it was proposed at Victoria, and
particularly at the language part, and let me have
your comments as to whether and to what extent
it might help meet Mr.Bourassa’s position.
Since Victoria, there has, of course, been
the whole episode of Bill 22 and this may alter
the picture very considerably.

Apart from the above point, the Prime
Minister has expressed agreement with what I
suggested in the third paragraph on page 3 of my
memorandum as to my reaction when I talk to the
other Premiers.

B. The whole amending formula or only part of it

The Prime Minister agrees with what
I suggest in the paragraph beginning at the bottom
of page 4 of the memorandum and carrying over to the
top of page 5. In other words, I will be talking


on the basis of “a partial Part IX” and, if a
province presses for the whole of Part IX, I will
simply indicate that I will report that view to
the Prime Minister for consideration.


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