-October 25/95-We’re Open to Change Passionate PM Vows
-October 26/95-On the Road For Canada-Thousands From Across Country Head For Montreal and A Massive Pro-Unity Rally
-October 30/95-Canada Waits
-October 31/95-It’s No By a Hair
Summary of Pastoral Letter of Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops, December 30, 1991
(Adapted from The Globe and Mail, December 31, 1991)
Canada’s national unity could be destroyed by the selfishness and cynicism of its own people, the bishops have warned. “We believe that Canada now suffers from an individualism that has gone too far. One of the greatest threats to Canada’s future is the excessive love of our own interests which has created a self-centredness and apathy about public affairs among Canadians. Many Canadians see Canada as a legal arrangement that people join only in order to advance their personal self-interest. To succeed in reconstituting Canada, we must break out of our collective apathy, reach out to others and commit ourselves again to the common good.”
Canada is also at risk from those who attack multiculturalism and propose a “melting pot” for immigrants. “Far from weakening Canada’s national character, we believe that multiculturalism and respect for minorities enriches our national understanding of the common good.”
The bishops suggested that the Constitution include protection of human rights, the environment and the elimination of violence against women and children. As well: “We further believe that Aboriginal peoples must be guaranteed the right to an adequate land base, the right of self-determination and the right to be distinct peoples.”
The bishops also said the Constitution should recognize the rights of Francophone minorities outside of Quebec, and they endorsed the recognition of Quebec as a distinct society with the power to protect its unique character. “We believe that insistence on uniformity for Quebec will destroy any real prospect of unity for Canada.”
1. What is the source of the document?
2. To whom is it addressed?
3. There are two main points to this story. One deals with the problems faced by the nation dealing with the constitution talks and another deals with some suggestions for inclusion in the constitution. Underline the quotes that illustrate the first point (in one colour) and the second point (in another colour). Number the quotes and explain them in your own words.
4. Is this document supporting or rejecting the Meech Lake Accord? Provide reasons for your answer.
5. Should the bishops talk about this issue since it is a non-traditional religious issue? Why or why not?
Arguments for and Against Charlottetown Accord
(Adapted from The Charlottetown Agreement: A Guide to the Consensus Report on the Constitution, a Publication of the Government of Ontario)
The Canada Clause of the Accord lists as basic values:
Canada is a democracy committed to a parliamentary and federal system of government and to the rule of law
The Aboriginal peoples of Canada, being the first peoples to govern this land, have the right to promote their languages, cultures, and traditions and to ensure the integrity of their societies, and their government constitute one of three orders of government in Canada
Canadians and their government are committed to the development of official language minority communities throughout Canada
Canadians are committed to racial and ethnic equality in a society that includes citizens from many lands who have contributed, and continue to contribute, to the building of a strong Canada that reflects it cultural and racial diversity
Canadians are committed to a respect for individual and collective human rights and freedoms of all people
Canadians are committed to the equality of female and male persons
Canadians confirm the principle of the equality of the provinces at the same time as recognizing their diverse characteristics
(Adapted from APEC Referendum Committee, Thornhill, Ontario)
A Yes vote commits Canadians to:
A constitution which states all provinces are equal at the same time as it grants special status to Quebec by declaring it a “distinct society” and requiring all the laws of Canada and Quebec to be interpreted having regard for that distinct society.
A constitution which requires the Canadian taxpayer to financially support forever every Francophone community outside of Quebec, regardless of its size, to preserve its language and culture.
Official bilingualism guaranteed forever while Quebec remains unilingually French
Granting self government to aboriginal people at the Canadian taxpayers’ expense, even though neither the people, nor Aboriginal peoples, nor the government know what self government means or what form it will take.
Segregating and separating Francophones and Aboriginal peoples from other Canadians by the terms of the constitution.