The provinces oppose Ottawa's unilateral patriation of the Constitution
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The provinces oppose Ottawa's unilateral patriation of the Constitution
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For Alberta, British Columbia, and Newfoundland the battle on the federal resolution represented a clear fight between the new wealth of the hinterland and the old wealth of the centre. Quebec also opposed it for obvious reasons. The position of Nova Scotia was unclear for several months, but it eventually joined the opposition when negotiations between itself and the federal government on the revenue and administration of offshore energy resources broke down.

New Brunswick and Manitoba were in similar positions: both had long been considered "tails" of the Ontario economy, more intimately bound to central Canada than to the outlying resource provinces. In addition, there were other powerful social and cultural reasons for both to support the federal initiative. New Brunswick, after some brief hesitation, announced its support for the resolution [of federal government].

Manitoba's response was negative, reflecting its ambiguous position within confederation. On the one hand, Manitoba had always had strong links to Ontario and to central Canada; on the other, it was obviously a "western" province. For a variety of personal and political reasons, including Premier Sterling Lyon's reaction to "that man" Trudeau, Manitoba chose to oppose the resolution.

Prince Edward Island also decided to oppose the federal action, though it was obvious that the government's heart was not in the decision. Caught between sizable transfer payments from Ottawa, and Conservative party ties, the political economy of the island dictated no clear position. Reluctantly, the government chose to emphasize its fraternal connections with the federal Conservative party and the opposing provinces. The decision taken by New Brunswick and Nova Scotia not to oppose Trudeau made that choice a difficult one for Prince Edward Island.

ROMANOW, Roy; John Whyte and Howard Leeson, Canada... Notwithstanding: The Making of the Constitution 1976-1982, Toronto, Carswell/Methuen, 1984, p. 108