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The Trudeau Years, A New Constitution
BNA Act, Patriation, British North America Act, Canadian constitution, Charter of Rights
Trudeau, who had promised a new constitutional deal during the referendum, moved in with his own constitutional agenda: “patriating” the British North America Act (BNA Act) passed by the British Parliament in 1867. Patriation would make the BNA Act a Canadian constitution that could be amended by Canadians. Trudeau also promised to add a Charter of Rights and Freedoms to the constitution. Trudeau’s constitutional package offered none of the additional powers the provinces had been seeking, but both patriation and the charter were popular. Trudeau achieved both in 1982 despite the opposition of the government of Quebec. For Quebec sovereigntists, the patriation of the constitution against Quebec’s will and without meeting its demands for greater powers became an added grievance.
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