Telex from Roy Romanow to Jean Chrétien & Allan Blakeney re Proposed Constitutional Changes (18 November 1981)
By: Roy Romanow, Government of Saskatchewan
Citation: Telex from Roy Romanow to Jean Chrétien & Allan Blakeney (18 November 1981).
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INTGOV AFF REG
NOVEMBER 18, 1981
TO: HON. JEAN CHRETIEN, MINISTER OF JUSTICE, GOVERNMENT OF CANADA
FROM: HON. ROY RAMANOW, MINISTER OF INTERGOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS SASKATCHEWAN
C.C. HON. ALLAN BLAKENEY, PREMIER
This has reference to your latest telephone call of November 18, 1981.
Let me detail the situation as I understand it.
The accord of November 5, 1981, agreed that the charter of rights would remain intact, but that sections dealing with fundamental, legal, and equality rights later identified to be section 2, and sections 7 to 15, and section 28 would be subject to a notwithstanding clause. This was incorporated into the officials working draft of November 5, 1981.
Subsequent to the drafting by the officials on November 5, 1981, it became evident that some additional drafting changes would be required to more precisely accommodate the agreement by first ministers. Accordingly, officials were instructed to review suggested drafting changes in a conference call on November 17, 1981. During that call, the federal officials suggested a compromise wording which would more clearly delineate the respective application fo section 28 and section 33, the purpose being to ensure that sexual equality was not brought under the ambit of section 33 in respect of sections other than section 15. Saskatchewan agreed to that compromise.
Since yesterday some now wish to eliminate the application of section 33 to section 28 entirely.
This is a change in substance, and therefore, a change to the agreement itself.
Premier Blakeney has stated that the Saskatchewan government is prepared to accept the accord of November 5, 1981, even though, as with any compromise, there were elements he would have otherwise preferred. If the accord of November 5, 1981 were to be changed, in substance, then, it is incumbent on us to consider another change of substance, too.
More specifically, if the agreement is now to be re-opened and if changes to section 28 are to be agreed to, it seems only fair to change the agreement to include section 34 for the native peoples of Canada. To change the substance of the agreement in this way, without further considering a change to reinstate section 34 is not acceptable to us.
To summarize, we are quite willing to maintain the original agreement and to accept the compromise wording on section 33, worked out and agreed to by officials on November 17, and telecopier to us later that night. However, if you propose to change the substance of the agreement, and amend section 28, we would agree to it only if another change in the substance of the agreement is accepted as well, namely, the reinstatement of section 34 on native rights.
Finally, my deputy has suggested in an earlier telex that the complexity and frequency of proposed drafting changes would necessitate a further quick meeting of officials. This would permit an opportunity for an exchange of views and eliminate confusion.
I look forward to your early reply.
ROY J. ROMANOW