Scheer open to Quebec’s constitutional demands

Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer made clear on Friday that he will likely include some longstanding Quebec government constitutional demands in his election platform for the federal election planned for 2019.

Francophone Premier Philippe Couillard said last May that he aimed to bring the province to a state where he could reopen constitutional negotiations that could lead to the province finally signing on to the constitution of 1982.

Mr. Couillard envisioned a coast-to-coast discussion that he hoped would result in Quebec’s unique identity being recognized across Canada.

Scheer told several reporters he had read Couillard’s idea, but said it’s normal for a premier for Quebec to tackle the issue of the Constitution, a document crafted by former prime minister and Quebec Member of Parliament Pierre Trudeau.

“Our electoral program in 2019 will talk about issues important to Quebec,” the federal party leader said, without going into specifics.

When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked for comment on Couillard’s plan last year, he said he was against the proposal.

“We’re not reopening the Constitution,” he said.

Robert Bourassa in 1986 set out the following “five conditions” for Quebec to sign off on the nation’s sovereign document:

  • recognizing Quebec’s unique society
  • limited federal spending power
  • permanent representation in the Supreme Court
  • constitutional veto
  • more powers over immigration control

It was on April 17 in 1982 when the Constitution Act was signed into law, effectively finalizing the political division of Canada from the United Kingdom.

All provinces but Quebec signed on.


More details to follow. Image of Andrew Scheer from 

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