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Meech Lake Accord

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by

Cynthia Taylor

on 25 September 2014

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Transcript of Meech Lake Accord

Trudeau's Legacy
1976 - Parti Quebecois is negotiating Quebec's independence from Canada
1980 - Quebec is to have a sovereignty referendum. Days before, Trudeau gives a speech which asks citizens of Quebec to vote NO as an affirmation of their will to change the constitution and remain in Canada
Quebec responds in a positive manner to this request and are hopeful that the wants and needs of Quebec are given more attention in the next rounds of constitutional negotiations
1981 - Trudeau gains support of all premiers except Quebec; the Constitution Act of 1982 is created
A History Lesson
Canada is founded as a colony of Britain
It becomes a country in 1867 with the creation of the British North American Act - still gives Britain some control
1930s - Canada begins to discuss ways to
patriate
from Britain
1949 - British Parliament permits Canada to govern more independently
After 8 more amendments, the BNA Act signifies Canada's independence
Elijah Harper - Bio
Meech Lake
The Constitution Act of 1982 is viewed as incomplete without the signature of Quebec
1987 - Prime Minister Mulroney brings the premiers together again to bridge the gap; creates the Meech Lake Accord
Quebec has 5 demands before signing including: a constitutional veto and recognition that Quebec is a "distinct society"
Accord must be ratified in 3 years time in order to become law
Most provinces are in agreement but there must be unanimous agreement in provincial legislatures
Harper stands holding an eagle feather in MB Legislature and says "NO", citing no consultation with First Nations people
Gave higher status to one province over others

Recognized the founders of Canada as French and English
Did not take into account First Nations people; another "distinct society"

Accord was negotiated in secret with the premiers of Canada
No representative of First Nations people were at the negotiation table
Destined to Fail
Elijah Harper's Role
Meech Lake Accord
Cree Elijah Harper was born in Red Sucker Lake on March 3, 1949.

Attended residential schools in Norway House, Brandon, and Birtle Manitoba.

Post secondary education occurred at the University of Manitoba; he did not complete his studies.

At the young age of 29 he was elected chief of Red Sucker Lake Indian Band.

In 1981 he was elected as the MLA for Rupertsland. It was during his time as an MLA that Elijah Harper made history.
After Meech Lake
Indian Warrior
Activism
Harper not only took a stand in parliament but was an active voice for change
Spoke out via the media before and after the collapse of the Meech Lake Accord and was committed to his position that First Nation peoples were not consulted nor asked to be part of the process; denied rights
Became a spokesperson for Aboriginal peoples
Nonviolent Social Change
Harper took a peaceful stand both in front of the media and before parliament
His position was calm and peaceful but clear in his need for change
His position on change did not waiver which allowed others to support the cause
His activism allowed Canadians to dialogue regarding this topic
Also allowed greater dialogue of First Nation concerns
PATRIATE
To transfer control over from a mother country to its former dependency
1992 - The Charlottetown Accord is negotiated to pick up where Meech Lake failed
First Nations were present

This time a national referendum would decide the fate

Demands by Quebec and First Nations were both included in negotiations
Oct.26, 1992 - 54% of Canadians rejected the Charlottetown Accord
Group Discussion
How is Elijah Harper and his role in the collapse of the Meech Lake Accord an example of:

1. Activism

2. Nonviolent Social Change

3. Re-inventing the stereotype of Indian Warrior
Harper has re-defined the Indian Warrior
He has chosen to be an advocate for First Nation peoples - from his stand on Manitoba parliament to present
He calm and peaceful approach allow him to reach the masses and therefore gain support for Aboriginal affairs here in Canada
His knowledge and traditional storytelling have allowed him to persevere and to continual be a role model to First Nation peoples
Going Forward
First Nation peoples are finding new ways to voice their concerns
OKA, The Royal Commission of Aboriginal Peoples, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Idle No More are a direct result of activism and a need for change
These events/organizations have sparked a dialogue and pushes further sharing and communication in order for Canadians to understand our first "distinct society"
Full transcript