Trudeau's reply to Lévesque
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Trudeau's reply to Lévesque
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First of all, will Quebec agree to be a dedicated participant in the ongoing constitutional efforts? The question of veto cannot in fact be resolved by the federal and Quebec governments alone. It will have to be discussed with our colleagues in the other provinces if we really want to achieve a new amending formula according to the conditions that are henceforth inscribed in the country's Constitution.

Secondly, in exchange for a veto, or its equivalent, would the Quebec government agree to [formally] subscribe to the 1982 Constitution Act? Again, it would be unthinkable that the federal government and the other provincial governments would devote great time and effort looking for an amending formula likely to better meet the needs of Quebeckers only to later learn that the Quebec government has found other pretexts not to adhere to it.

If the answer to these two questions is yes, I am entirely ready to explore with you and our colleagues all the possible options for better protecting Quebec's legitimate interests in regards to future amendments to the Canadian Constitution.

As for the opting out formula, do not forget that this principle has already been included in the Constitution by guaranteeing reasonable compensation in the areas of education and culture [...]. In all honesty, however, I must tell you that expanding this principle to other areas does not initially strike me as either necessary or desirable. Doing so would only gradually balkanize the country and compromise its future.

Published in French in Le Devoir, December 30, 1982, in Rémillard, Gil. Le fédéralisme canadien : tome 2 Le rapatriement de la constitution, Montréal: Québec/Amérique, 1983-, p. 678-679