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Meech Lake Accord

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The Meech Lake Accord was a set of failed constitutional amendments to the Constitution of Canada proposed by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Robert Bourassa, premier of Quebec. It was designed to induce Quebec to accept the Canada Act.

The accord identified five main modifications to the Canadian constitution:

  • a recognition of the province of Quebec as a "distinct society";
  • a commitment to Canada's bilingualism;
  • increased provincial powers with respect to immigration;
  • expansion of the provincial right to constitutional veto; and
  • provincial input in appointing supreme court judges.

Because the accord would have changed the constitution's amending formula, it needed the unanimous consent of all provincial and federal legislative houses before being proclaimed into law. It failed to be ratified in the Manitoba Legislative Assembly when Elijah Harper filibustered until the Manitoba government's self-imposed deadline expired. Once it became clear that the Manitoba Legislative Assembly would not pass the resolution, the Newfoundland House of Assembly also abandoned debate on the accord. The accord was approved by the other eight provinces and the federal houses.

The Meech Lake Accord was followed up by a successor proposal known as the Charlottetown Accord, which also failed to be ratified.

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