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The myth-making power of government: British Columbia, constitutional renewal and the question of regional… Fletcher, Stephen James Joseph 1996

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THE MYTH-MAKING POWER OF GOVERNMENT: BRITISH COLUMBIA, CONSTITUTIONAL RENEWAL AND THE QUESTION OF REGIONAL STATUS, 1969-1982 by STEPHEN JAMES JOSEPH FLETCHER B.A., The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1985 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of P o l i t i c a l Science) We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming t o the r e q u i r e d standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA J u l y 1996 C o p y r i g h t , Stephen James Joseph F l e t c h e r ,  1996  In  presenting this  degree at the  thesis  in  University of  partial  fulfilment  of  of  department  this thesis for or  by  his  or  requirements  British Columbia, I agree that the  freely available for reference and study. I further copying  the  representatives.  an advanced  Library shall make  it  agree that permission for extensive  scholarly purposes may be granted her  for  It  is  by the  understood  that  head of copying  my or  publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  Date  DE-6 (2/88)  Abstract THE MYTH-MAKING POWER OF GOVERNMENT: BRITISH COLUMBIA, CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM AND THE QUESTION OF REGIONAL STATUS (1969-1982)  This  thesis  examines  British  Columbia's  proposals  for  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l reform i n the dramatic and tumultuous y e a r s l e a d i n g up  t o the  critical within  patriating interest  the  under  governments.  The proposals national  i s the  federation —  complexity  enhancing  of the  the  Canadian C o n s t i t u t i o n i n 1982.  province's a  concept  auspices  T h e i r g o a l was  p u r s u i t of that  of  government,  i n an  r e l e a s e d i n 1978, political  in  scope  Social  and  Credit  t o r e s t r u c t u r e the Canadian s t a t e by  Confederation's r e g i o n a l b i a s e s i n BC's BC  regional status  evolved  successive  Of  elaborate  called  institutions  list  f o r the  —  of  favour. constitutional  extensive  designed  to  reform  improve,  of  to  a  s u b s t a n t i a l degree, the s t a t u s and i n f l u e n c e of the p r o v i n c e a t the f e d e r a l c e n t r e (through, among other t h i n g s , a reformed Senate w i t h p r o v i n c i a l l y - c o n t r o l l e d r e p r e s e n t a t i o n ) . In the heated environment of  federal-provincial  relations  that  prevailed after  the  1976  s e p a r a t i s t v i c t o r y i n Quebec, the BC government argued t h a t Canada c o n s i s t e d of f i v e d i s t i n c t r e g i o n s , w i t h BC being one of the  five  (the o t h e r s were O n t a r i o , Quebec, the P r a i r i e s , and the A t l a n t i c ) . The p r o v i n c e ' s quest f o r regionhood  —  f o r the d e v o l u t i o n of f e d e r a l powers —  and i t s concomitant was  demands  partly a reaction to  iii the c e n t r a l i s t p o l i c i e s of the f e d e r a l L i b e r a l government under P i e r r e Trudeau. conservatism  BC' s p r o p o s a l s s i g n a l l e d the end of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l  i n the province,  but t h e p r o p o s a l s were marred by  t h e i r a r c h i t e c t s ' r e l i a n c e on B C - s t y l e pragmatism  (eg., p r o v i n c e -  building) . Another c e n t r a l focus i s the r o l e of myths and myth-making i n Canadian c o n s t i t u t i o n a l p o l i t i c s .  T h i s t h e s i s contends t h a t BC' s  quest f o r r e g i o n a l s t a t u s was flawed by i t s attempt t o invoke myths about  i t s distinctiveness  regional  from  the top down.  I t s demand f o r  s t a t u s was s e r i o u s l y h u r t by t h e l a c k of h i s t o r i c , g r a s s -  r o o t s support among the p r o v i n c e ' s c i t i z e n r y f o r such a concept. The importance of myths becomes evident when one looks a t how myths have been nurtured by n a t i o n a l i s t s i n Quebec.  The g e s t a t i o n  period  f o r such myths i s o f t e n g e n e r a t i o n s - l o n g ; the f a c t BC's p u r s u i t of regionhood u l t i m a t e l y f a i l e d d u r i n g the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l n e g o t i a t i o n s of  1980-81  proves  that  myths  —  crucial  understanding of i t s e l f and i t s h i s t o r y — of t h i n a i r .  to  any  society's  cannot be i n v e n t e d out  iv  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Abstract  . .ii  Table of Contents  iv  Acknowledgement  v  INTRODUCTION S e t t i n g the Stage  1  CHAPTER ONE BC AND THE AGE OF CONSTITUTIONAL CONSERVATISM Introduction The P o l i t i c s of Economic Development BC and the R i s e of Quebec N a t i o n a l i s m  .  CHAPTER TWO BC PURSUES A REGIONAL IDENTITY Introduction The Five-Region Concept of Canada Regionalism and the Question of C o n s t i t u t i o n a l Reform CHAPTER THREE RENEWING THE FEDERATION: A BC PERSPECTIVE Ottawa Verses the P r o v i n c e s BC's 1978 C o n s t i t u t i o n a l Proposals The Impact of BC's Reformed Senate on the F e d e r a t i o n The Task Force on Canadian U n i t y (1977-79)  11 11 11 19 26 26 ..27 33 39 39 47 52 55  CHAPTER FOUR THE ROAD TO THE 1981 CONSTITUTIONAL ACCORD ...61 The Quebec Referendum Aftermath 61 Regionhood i n D e c l i n e : The S i g n i n g of the 1981 Accord.....65 CONCLUSION REGIONALISM IN THE NEW CONSTITUTIONAL ERA C o n s t i t u t i o n a l P o l i t i c s a f t e r 1982: A B r i e f Overview The BC Government, Regional S t a t u s , and Senate Reform The Myth-Making Power of Government  .86 86 87 88  V  ACKNOWLEDGEMENT  I would l i k e t o thank UBC p r o f e s s o r s Paul Tennant and A l a n C a i r n s f o r t h e i r t h o u g h t f u l and sagacious guidance (not t o mention t h e i r supreme patience) as I worked toward the completion of t h i s thesis. I would a l s o l i k e t o thank my s i s t e r s — Susan, C h r i s t i n e and Diane — f o r t h e i r support and encouragement. This thesis i s d e d i c a t e d t o the memory of my parents, W i l l i a m and Joan F l e t c h e r .  1  INTRODUCTION  S e t t i n g the Stage In  B r i t i s h Columbia, as i n the o t h e r Western p r o v i n c e s , the  past few decades of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l t u r m o i l have been a p e r i o d of wrenching  transformation  and  self-evaluation.  The  province  has  been f o r c e d by circumstance t o examine i t s e l f and i t s r e l a t i o n s h i p with  the o t h e r members of t h e Canadian  period  of  examination,  accomplished  federation.  amidst  much  This  hectoring  long and  p o l i t i c a l p o s t u r i n g , was both preceded and accompanied by enormous economic growth, which helped t o f u e l concerns and q u e s t i o n s about the  p r o v i n c e ' s s t a t u s w i t h i n the f e d e r a l  system.  By the m i d - s e v e n t i e s , w i t h Quebec n a t i o n a l i s m and the r i s e of the  P a r t i Quebecois p r o v i d i n g the impetus f o r much s o u l s e a r c h i n g  i n a l l p a r t s of Canada, B r i t i s h Columbia was employing the p l a t f o r m of its  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l debate t o a s s e r t i t s e l f and f l e x the muscles of newly-acquired  economic  wealth.  That  wealth,  it  d i s c o v e r e d , d i d not e a s i l y t r a n s l a t e i n t o p o l i t i c a l c l o u t the  f e d e r a l system —  an earnest and e s s e n t i a l message  was  within  emanating  from most Western premiers as the n a t i o n a l - u n i t y debates raged. I have used the phrase " f o r c e d by circumstance" t o d e s c r i b e British  Columbia's  participation  b e g i n n i n g i n the 1970s.  i n the  constitutional  While such a phrase may  debate  o f f e r a somewhat  2 h y p e r b o l i c i n t e r p r e t a t i o n g i v e n the p o l i t i c a l and economic changes t h a t were t a k i n g  place within  the p r o v i n c e at the time, i t can  argued t h a t d e s i r e f o r broad c o n s t i t u t i o n a l reform was,  be  at best, a  dormant and s c a r c e l y p l a u s i b l e p o s s i b i l i t y as f a r as BC's  political  l e a d e r s were concerned, at l e a s t p r i o r t o the e l e c t i o n of the P a r t i Quebecois i n the  f a l l of  1976.  With t h a t e l e c t i o n came a new  p o l i t i c a l era  paradigm of f e d e r a l - p r o v i n c i a l r e l a t i o n s had now p o l i t i c a l e l i t e was  now  required  to refashion  i n Canada.  The  changed, and  BC's  i t s thinking  and  to  l e a r n t o a r t i c u l a t e the p r o v i n c e ' s a s p i r a t i o n s w i t h i n the framework of c o n s t i t u t i o n - b u i l d i n g  (or, a l t e r n a t i v e l y ,  T h i s paradigm s h i f t p l a c e d BC's  constitution-bashing).  l e a d e r s at a decided disadvantage  compared t o t h e i r c o u n t e r p a r t s i n Quebec; the politician  has  t r a d i t i o n a l l y offered  n a v i g a t e the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l m i n e f i e l d of  leadership.  required  that  The its  province's  more  little  a  BC  opportunity  to  p r i o r to a t t a i n i n g  political  successful  culture  political  p r a g m a t i s t s w i t h sharp eyes f o r the i n s t i n c t i v e understanding of  very  seasoning of  positions  has  always  practitioners  bottom l i n e  'what's good f o r the  and  a  be  seemingly  province.'  Speaking c o n s t i t u t i o n a l l y , I would say t h a t t h i s pragmatism i s significant political  because  culture  it  in  contrasts  Quebec.  In  sharply  with  the  prevailing  Quebec,  provincial  political  l e a d e r s r e a d i l y accept the m o r a l i s t i c p r i n c i p l e t h a t they w i l l assessed, and  t h e i r f a t e s determined, by how  francophone) e l e c t o r a t e i n t e r e s t s of the  the  (primarily  p e r c e i v e s t h a t they have defended  province within  the  be  context of the  the  historically  3 uneasy a s s o c i a t i o n with the r e s t of Canada. Over the p a s t 30 y e a r s t h i s r e a l i t y , d r i v e n i n t o a c l e a r e r focus by the Quiet R e v o l u t i o n , omnipresent  separatist  forces  and  the  ensuing  constitutional  accords, has enabled Quebec's p o l i t i c a l a c t o r s t o assume the p u b l i c stage w i t h a thorough  and v i r t u a l l y complete  p i c t u r e of Quebec's  s t a t u s w i t h i n the f e d e r a t i o n as w e l l as of the e s s e n t i a l p o i n t s that  r e q u i r e reform  (defence  of the  s t a t u s quo,  always been l e f t t o the domain of the p o l i t i c a l l y BC's  political  developed  leaders,  clearly-defined  federation.  on  the  other  principles  on  of course, naive.)  hand, the  has  have  shape  rarely of  the  T h e i r push f o r s u b s t a n t i a l c o n s t i t u t i o n a l change has  been mostly  reactive,  not p r o a c t i v e .  In modern times, they  are  never swept i n t o o f f i c e based on a p l a t f o r m of dramatic a l t e r a t i o n s t o the p r o v i n c e ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h Ottawa.  For t h i s reason, the  p o l i t i c i a n s of BC most o f t e n produce  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l p o l i c i e s that  can be b r o a d l y d e f i n e d as "ad hoc."  T h i s i s not t o say t h a t they  have not defended the i n t e r e s t s of the p r o v i n c e as v o c i f e r o u s l y as Quebec  politicians  province-building throughout  has  defended  been  the f e d e r a t i o n .  known i n BC,  an  Quebec's  interests.  Indeed,  universal  practice  apparently  And the e x e r c i s e of Ottawa-bashing  is  as i t i s i n other p r o v i n c e s , as a v a l u a b l e way  to  score p o l i t i c a l proposals  have  p o i n t s on the homefront.  emanating  from  successive  BC  Nor  i s i t t o say  governments  have  that been  fundamentally without m e r i t . What i t does mean, however, i s t h a t the premiers of BC c u s t o m a r i l y have reached t h a t high o f f i c e without ever having t o  4 d e a l p o l i t i c a l l y or i n t e l l e c t u a l l y w i t h the complex q u e s t i o n s of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l change.  T h i s u n f a m i l i a r i t y o f t e n leads t o pragmatic  but p r a c t i c a l responses from p o l i t i c a l l e a d e r s when c o n f r o n t e d w i t h such q u e s t i o n s . I w i l l argue i n t h i s t h e s i s t h a t t h i s pragmatic approach  may  have i t s s t r e n g t h s w i t h i n the g e n e r a l and p a r o c h i a l c o n f i n e s of  BC,  but t h a t , on the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l f r o n t , i t suggests a major weakness i n that  i t i s strongly  "myths" of  the  sort  r e l a t e d t o the  that  have played  l a c k of e a s i l y i d e n t i f i a b l e a profound  and  remarkably  important r o l e i n the development of Quebec's r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the Canadian  federal  viewpoints,  system.  broadly  (By  accepted  by  j u r i s d i c t i o n , which p r o v i d e the f o r c o n s t i t u t i o n a l reform.) or somewhere i n between — electorates  of  the  I  mean  citizens  backdrop or  Such myths —  are r e q u i r e d  any  of  the  respective  foundation f o r  e i t h e r f a l s e or  t o f o s t e r among  of  moulding, of  refinement.  shaping,  of  more t r u t h can  be  words of  what I mean by  factual  respective of  the  found i n the words of the  historians.  myths and  Canada i s a case i n p o i n t . have f o s t e r e d  the  re-  Only then do they earn a p l a c e i n the  This,  great  to a c e r t a i n  It i s said novelists extent, i s  myth-making i n Canadian p o l i t i c s .  mythic q u a l i t i e s of Quebec n a t i o n a l i s m ' s p e r c e i v e d s t r u g g l e  may  calls  perpetual  s t o r i e d h i s t o r y of a community, c u l t u r e or n a t i o n a l i t y .  than i n the  of  Myths become commonly accepted only a f t e r a lengthy  gestation:  examination and  that  series  f e e l i n g s of support f o r widespread m o d i f i c a t i o n  constitution. period  myths  The  p o l i t i c a l e l i t e s i n Quebec  growth of these myths, but  The within  society  such myths would  5 not have been s u s t a i n e d had they not h e l d a resonance of t r u t h w i t h the francophone masses. The which,  presiding p o l i t i c a l generally  culture i n B r i t i s h  speaking,  has  demanded  p o l i t i c a l masters focus t h e i r energies economic development; and between the  social-democratic  free-market urgings P r i o r t o the was  (2)  the  that  i n two  the  is  one  province's  c r i t i c a l areas:  (1)  on-going, p o l a r i z i n g c o n f l i c t  impulses of labour  on the  left  and  of c a p i t a l i s t s on the r i g h t . 1970s, p o l i t i c s at the g r a s s - r o o t s  r a r e l y s t i r r e d by concerns t h a t Ottawa had  c o n t r o l over the a s p i r a t i o n s and province.  Columbia  level in  BC  too much power or  o b j e c t i v e s of the westernmost  Most B r i t i s h Columbians a t t h a t time, as w e l l as today,  balanced t h e i r  loyalties  between the  p r o v i n c i a l and  governments, b e l i e v i n g somewhat incongruously  the  federal  i n strong governments  at both l e v e l s . The  e l e c t o r a t e d i d expect i t s premiers t o  i n t e r e s t s of BC when i t came t o questions variety,  and  however, was  the  premiers  did  —  speak up  frequently.  Their  attempt t o break the  describe  B r i t i s h Columbia's e a r l y , subordinate r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h  has  become  a  province  the  Confederation.  Quasicolonialism,  the  back of  entering  term  befell  province's  quasi-colonial  offshoot  which  intent,  arguably  Ottawa, i s an  status  the  of the economic o r f i s c a l  t o a s s e r t , i n some p a r t i c u l a r f a s h i o n , the  new-found economic might i n an  for  a term used o f t e n  of 19th-century B r i t i s h i m p e r i a l i s m .  fashionable  depiction  r e l a t i o n s at the t u r n of the l a s t century.  upon  of (And  to  The  federal-provincial i t i s , I believe,  a  fairly  appropriate  term  if  used  in  the  context  h i e r a r c h i c a l nature of f e d e r a l i s m and the wide-ranging the  federal  government  Confederation. to  that  prevailed  i n the  first  of  the  powers of decades  of  Of course, the f e d e r a l system s l o w l y evolved c l o s e r  a balance between the powers of the c e n t r a l government and  powers of the p r o v i n c e s —  the  p r i m a r i l y due t o the economic growth of  the p r o v i n c e s as w e l l as t o a s e r i e s of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l d e c i s i o n s by the J u d i c i a l Committee of the P r i v y C o u n c i l t h a t were f a v o u r a b l e t o the p r o v i n c e s . ) It  i s important t o p o i n t out, nonetheless, t h a t w h i l e these  i s s u e s o f t e n s t r a i n e d O t t a w a - V i c t o r i a r e l a t i o n s , they were r a r e l y p e r c e i v e d as symptoms of problems r e q u i r i n g i n s t i t u t i o n a l reform. federal  sentiments  large-scale  Nor were they i s s u e s t h a t would s t i r  in  the  hearts  of  many  British  anti-  Columbians.  Instead, these i s s u e s were a s s o c i a t e d with the changing  times,  demanding, as noted above, pragmatic s o l u t i o n s , not c o n s t i t u t i o n a l negotiation.  Only  with  rise  of  Quebec  separatism,  and  the  e x i s t e n c e of a f e d e r a l government seemingly p r e o c c u p i e d by i t , were t h e r e m a n i f e s t a t i o n s of s t r o n g resentment i n BC and the r e s t of the West.  T h i s s i t u a t i o n was  not helped by the f e d e r a l government of  the time which, under Prime M i n i s t e r Trudeau, c o n t a i n e d almost r e p r e s e n t a t i o n from the f o u r Western p r o v i n c e s . region's  voice  ideological  gulf  at  the  federal  between  the  level,  prime  The absence of the  combined  minister  no  and  with the  a  wide  Western  premiers, helped charge the i s s u e of Western a l i e n a t i o n d u r i n g the m u l t i l a y e r e d c o n s t i t u t i o n a l i m b r o g l i o s of the 1970s and  '80s.  7 As c o n s t i t u t i o n a l n e g o t i a t i o n s reached a f e v e r p i t c h d u r i n g these  decades,  explain  the  BC's  political  province's  l e a d e r s were o f t e n c a l l e d  frustrations  with  the  federal  on  to  system.  E x p r e s s i o n s of such concerns found a home w i t h i n a s i n g l e  phrase,  "The West Wants In" (borrowed from the Reform P a r t y of Canada, t h i s slogan adequately encapsulates the temper of the p r e c e d i n g decades).  A g r e a t e r v o i c e a t the p o l i t i c a l c e n t r e , a  two  sympathetic  ear from the f e d e r a l government, a chance t o p l a y a r o l e a t the national level —  these were the mantras a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the West's  s o - c a l l e d a l i e n a t i o n from the c o u n t r y ' s c e n t r e , and they were not u n f a m i l i a r t o BC p o l i t i c s . to  embrace  the  forefront  of  province  had  Indeed, B r i t i s h Columbia, although slow  concept  of  executive  constitution-building  constitutional  a  long-dormant  order  that  f e d e r a l i s m , was  in  the  case  had  been  West.  against set  aside  at  the  Indeed,  the  the by  original a  post-war  p o l i t i c a l c u l t u r e which emphasized i s o l a t i o n i s m . Beginning i n the 1970s, t h i s lengthy p e r i o d of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l quiescence  gave way,  transformed  to  constitutional  and  a n c i e n t concerns  f i t within dialogue  the  between  were r e c o n f i g u r e d and  framework  Ottawa  and  of the  the  emerging  provinces.  It  should be s t r e s s e d , however, t h a t the c a t a l y s t behind the f o r m a t i o n of  BC's  constitutional  convergence and  most  of two,  obvious  proposals  from  the  1970s onward was  somewhat i n t e r r e l a t e d , c i r c u m s t a n c e s :  was  the  national  government's need  to  the first  find  s o l u t i o n t o the Quebec q u e s t i o n ; second, and almost as c r u c i a l , the  strong c e n t r i s t  tendencies  of,that  government  under  a was  Pierre  8 Trudeau. It  i s important  to  note  that,  although  the  regionhood espoused by the Government of BC was  principle  of  an e s s e n t i a l  i n g r e d i e n t i n i t s p r o p o s a l s f o r reforming the f e d e r a l system, i t f a i l e d t o sway the views of e i t h e r the f e d e r a l government or i t s p r o v i n c i a l c o u n t e r p a r t s a t subsequent c o n s t i t u t i o n a l n e g o t i a t i o n s . Indeed, than  there i s l i t t l e  l i p service  evidence t h a t BC i t s e l f  t o the concept when i t was  g r i t t y of b a r g a i n i n g behind c l o s e d doors.  paid l i t t l e  time  f o r the  t o analyze the  flow of p r o p o s a l s put f o r t h by the p r o v i n c e over the p a s t  Senate,  The was  proposals. and  reform of n a t i o n a l the  foremost  institutions,  attribute  nitty  The i s s u e of regionhood  w i l l be an i n t e g r a l focus as t h i s t h e s i s attempts  decades.  more  of  two  particularly  BC's  the  constitutional  T h i s a t t r i b u t e w i l l be examined i n l i g h t of the success  failures  of  the  First  Ministers  throughout  a  tumultuous  p o l i t i c a l e r a t h a t p i t t e d the expansionary and c e n t r a l i z i n g  views  of the L i b e r a l government under P i e r r e Trudeau a g a i n s t the f i e r c e l y c o n s e r v a t i v e premiers of the West. E x e c u t i v e f e d e r a l i s m , e s p e c i a l l y when p l a y e d out i n the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l arena, makes the v i c i s s i t u d e s of p o l i t i c s extremely p e r s o n a l : e l e v e n l e a d e r s s i t t i n g around a t a b l e and attempting t o r e - o r d e r t h e i r p o l i t i c a l e x i s t e n c e means t h a t every d e c i s i o n , every a l t e r a t i o n t o the s t a t u s quo, r e q u i r e s winners and l o s e r s . any  First  M i n i s t e r who  loses,  the p o l i t i c a l  consequences  And f o r can  be  extremely grave. Executive  federalism,  therefore,  accentuates  the  normal  t e n s i o n s e x i s t i n g w i t h i n the o r g a n i z e d " t u r f war" t h a t i s known as federal-provincial relations.  T h i s i s doubly the case when the  focus i s on the c o n s t i t u t i o n .  "In the d i v i s i o n of l a b o u r between  governors and governed," w r i t e s P r o f . A l a n C a i r n s , "the f o r c e s of u n i t y are more deeply r o o t e d i n the u n d e r l y i n g s o c i e t y than i n the competing This  and governing e l i t e s of the f e d e r a l thesis  will  examine B r i t i s h  system."  Columbia's  1  proposals f o r  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l reform i n the dramatic and tumultuous years l e a d i n g up t o the p a t r i a t i n g of the c o n s t i t u t i o n i n 1982.  I t w i l l ask the  f o l l o w i n g q u e s t i o n s : (1) What events wrenched BC out of i t s l o n g p e r i o d of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l conservatism?  (2) How  d i d the reform of  n a t i o n a l i n s t i t u t i o n s evolve i n t o the foremost component of  BC's  constitutional  have  proposals?  (3)  changed the nature of Canadian  How  would  these  proposals  f e d e r a l i s m had they been accepted  r a t h e r than ignored, and what e f f e c t would they have had on  BC's  i n f l u e n c e i n Ottawa? (4) What were the reasons f o r the f a i l u r e of the concept of r e g i o n a l e q u a l i t y as espoused by the BC government i n the 1970s? Each of these q u e s t i o n s w i l l be d e a l t w i t h i n t u r n i n the f o l l o w i n g  four chapters.  This thesis w i l l  then conclude  by  a s s e s s i n g the BC government's h i s t o r i c r e l i a n c e on pragmatism.  It  w i l l address t h i s q u e s t i o n : (5) Was BC's p o s i t i o n on c o n s t i t u t i o n a l change  affected  by  i t s lack  of  credible  myths,  and  government's pragmatic approach t o c o n s t i t u t i o n a l p o l i t i c s  did i t s inhibit  ^Alan C. C a i r n s , "An Overview of the Trudeau C o n s t i t u t i o n a l P r o p o s a l s , " i n D i s r u p t i o n s : C o n s t i t u t i o n a l S t r u g g l e s , from the C h a r t e r t o Meech Lake(Toronto: M c C l e l l a n d & Stewart, 1991)  10 the promotion  of myths necessary t o e s t a b l i s h g r a s s - r o o t s support  for i n s t i t u t i o n a l  reform?  CHAPTER  ONE  B C AND T H E A G E OF C O N S T I T U T I O N A L  CONSERVATISM  Introduction In  order  to  understand  how  BC  was  transformed  from  an  i s o l a t e d , c o n s t i t u t i o n a l l y - c o n s e r v a t i v e province i n t o a proactive, reform-minded " r e g i o n , " i t i s necessary t o p r o v i d e some h i s t o r i c a l background on BC's  development.  T h i s chapter  will  focus  on the  emergence of BC as a major p l a y e r i n C o n f e d e r a t i o n by d e t a i l i n g two s i g n i f i c a n t events:  (1) the p r o v i n c e ' s economic growth; and (2) the  r i s e of n a t i o n a l i s m i n Quebec.  The P o l i t i c s of Economic  Development  B r i t i s h Columbia j o i n e d Confederation  i n 1871.  I t s entry i s  p r o p i t i o u s , as i t c o i n c i d e d , a p p r o p r i a t e l y enough, w i t h the s t a r t of the f i r s t great push by p o l i t i c a l f o r c e s t o t r a n s f o r m a l o o s e l y knit  collection  of c o l o n i e s  i n t o something resembling  the more  homogeneous, more v i b r a n t , more a g g r e s s i v e l y self-aware  nation to  the south.  A f e d e r a l system based s o l e l y on p o l i t i c a l and economic  expedience  was  political  a  system whose  a r c h i t e c t s knew  that  days the  were new  numbered.  nation  Canada's  would  not  gain  acceptance i n the hearts and minds of i t s c i t i z e n r y u n t i l t h e r e was something  to  define  i t beyond  parchment  i t s c o n s t i t u t i o n was  the  geographical,  written  on.  The  beyond Fathers  the of  12 C o n f e d e r a t i o n r e a l i z e d t h a t t h e i r new Manifest  Destiny  without  a  c r e a t i o n would not s u r v i v e  nation-building  plan  almost  as  ambitious. "At the e l i t e Confederation  l e v e l , " Peter R u s s e l l states,  produced  a  wide-based  and  p h i l o s o p h i c a l , accord; a t the popular  "the process  practical,  level,  though  of not  however, i t d i d not  produce a p o l i t i c a l community w i t h a c l e a r sense of  itself."  2  R u s s e l l argues t h a t the most f o r c e f u l impetus behind C o n f e d e r a t i o n was  the unmanageability  of the o l d system under the a e g i s of  the  U n i t e d P r o v i n c e of Canada, i n which r i v a l r i e s between French  and  English  created  endless  stalemate.  b e l i e v e s t h a t C o n f e d e r a t i o n was not an economic, p r o j e c t . "  Because  "first  and  of  this,  foremost  a  Russell  political,  3  While t h i s i s c e r t a i n l y an accurate d e p i c t i o n of the b i r t h of the Canadian n a t i o n , i t i s c l e a r t h a t B r i t i s h Columbia's e n t r y i n t o the f e d e r a l system f o u r years l a t e r was economics as p o l i t i c s . Policy  appealed  political joining  to  sensibilities had  States.  Although  impassioned  desire  to  Canada,  c e n t u r y was  beginning t o develop  of  join  i t s resources.  of  also f l i r t e d  United  export  the  Prime M i n i s t e r John A. Macdonald's N a t i o n a l  the  l e a d e r s , who  as much the consequence of  A  Pacific  colony's  w i t h the p o s s i b i l i t y  there BC  the  seemed t o be  i n the  late  little  nineteenth  a t h r i v i n g economy based on  c o n t i n e n t a l r a i l w a y as  of  proposed  the by  P e t e r H. R u s s e l l , C o n s t i t u t i o n a l Odyssey; Can Canadians Become a Sovereign People? (Toronto: U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto P r e s s , 1992) p. 32 2  3  Ibid.,  p.17  13 Macdonald was goods. for was  something t h a t  could  provide  new  markets  for i t s  Moreover, j o i n i n g C o n f e d e r a t i o n appeared t o be the o n l y  way  B r i t i s h Columbia t o r e t a i n i t s t i e s t o a B r i t i s h empire t h a t becoming  holdings. The  increasingly disinterested i n  i t s North  American  4  Canadian  federation, therefore,  o f f e r e d the  colony  of  B r i t i s h Columbia a c o n t i n e n t a l r a i l w a y and the c o n t i n u a t i o n of i t s B r i t i s h roots.  The  f e d e r a l government, f o r i t s p a r t , was  offered  the chance t o o u t f l a n k the U n i t e d S t a t e s on the P a c i f i c c o a s t carry  through with  integral  i t s vision  component  community t h a t had  of  its  of  a nation  plans  for  from  an  to  expansive  the makings of a d i v e r s e and  That Quebec and O n t a r i o would g a i n economically f e d e r a l s t a t e , there i s l i t t l e doubt.  sea  and  sea,  an  political  cohesive  nation.  from an expanded  For B r i t i s h Columbians, the  hegemonic s u b t l e t i e s i n s i n u a t e d w i t h i n t h i s system would come i n t o clearer  focus  P o l i c y was  as  the  the  first  years of  progressed.  (Macdonald's  National  several federal nation-building actions  over the next century t o cause c o n s t e r n a t i o n i n r e g i o n s o u t s i d e of the  Canadian  parallel The  shield.  National  Energy Program of  1980  is a  illustration.) key  criticism  Western p o l i t i c i a n s was of  The  central  Canada.  of  such p o l i c i e s  from the  perspective  of  t h a t they favoured the economic powerhouse Academics  grappling  with  the  modern  S e e Tim Page, "Perceptions from the West: B r i t i s h Columbia i n the E v o l v i n g P a t t e r n of Canadian Federalism," i n O c c a s i o n a l Papers, J . C l a r k e , S.F. Wise, eds. (Ottawa: I n s t i t u t e of Canadian S t u d i e s , Carleton University, F a l l 1982) 4  14 c o n s t i t u t i o n a l c r i s i s o f t e n note t h a t Macdonald's N a t i o n a l P o l i c y provided  a  leaders  to  strong  believe  government Russell,  disincentive  that  for  was  one,  in  for  anything  deemed  to  concludes  Canadian  emanating  be  that  important i n c o n s t r u c t i n g the  Western  in  the  from  federal  interest.'  governments  were  " m a t e r i a l c o n d i t i o n s of nationhood,  (but) they c o n t r i b u t e d l i t t l e t o a Canadian sense of community."  the  'national  Macdonald's  political  political  5  Moreover, t h i s t a r i f f - l a d e n nineteenth-century contributed  policy  t o a r e t a r d a t i o n i n the growth of secondary  industry  o u t s i d e of c e n t r a l Canada and f o r c e d these regions t o pay more f o r manufactured market.  goods  Margaret  p l a y e r s i n BC who her  would  have  been  required  on  the  world  chronicles  the  major  6  Historian  in  than  classic  Ormsby  admirably  n e g o t i a t e d the colony's 1958  book.  7  It i s c l e a r that,  Columbians of t h a t e r a , j o i n i n g Canada was merely  the  most  appropriate  entry i n t o  choice  Confederation  f o r many  British  not the best c h o i c e ,  given  a  series  of  but  trying  circumstances t h a t i n c l u d e d American expansionism (Alaska had j u s t recently  been purchased  from Russia) and  the  dismantling  of  the  B r i t i s h Empire i n North America.  ^ C o n s t i t u t i o n a l Odyssey,  p.37  T h i s i s c i t e d i n at l e a s t one c o n s t i t u t i o n a l document: See Towards a New Canada, (Montreal: Canadian Bar A s s o c i a t i o n , 1978) p.28 6  M a r g a r e t Ormsby, MacMillan, 1958) 7  British  Columbia:  A  History  (Toronto:  15 It  was  not  until  the  1950s  that  the  question  of  British  Columbia's r e l a t i o n s h i p with the f e d e r a l government re-emerged; at that  time,  two  developments c o n s p i r e d t o i n f u s e the  p a r t i c u l a r vigour. pervaded  BC  province's  One  was  f o l l o w i n g the  was  the  rise  with  the unprecedented economic boom t h a t Second  s e l f - c o n f i d e n c e along  development  debate  of  World with  War,  which  boosted  i t s wealth.  W.A.C. Bennett  as  The  premier  the other  of  the  p r o v i n c e and l e a d e r of the b u s i n e s s - f r i e n d l y S o c i a l C r e d i t p a r t y , which would dominate BC's  political  almost complete c o l l a p s e i n the 1991 I f t h e r e was  landscape general  until  the  party's  election.  one constant component i n the p o l i t i c a l c u l t u r e  of a B r i t i s h Columbia emerging from i t s q u a s i - c o l o n i a l s t a t u s p r i o r to  the  Second  World  economic  growth  expansion  was  and  War, the  i t was  the  province's  close  political  connection elite.  between Economic  the c h i e f focus of the p r o v i n c e ' s l e a d e r s , and  economic development, e s p e c i a l l y d u r i n g the p e r i o d s of r a p i d growth i n the 1950s and  '60s, was  the s t a r t i n g and  f i n i s h i n g p o i n t of  almost a l l p o l i t i c a l d i s c o u r s e w i t h i n the p r o v i n c e . British  Columbia began t o r e s e n t  s t a t u s t o c e n t r a l Canada very e a r l y on.  i t s perceived  subservient  T h i s resentment  generated  c a l l s f o r a r e n e g o t i a t i o n of terms from the l a t e n i n e t e e n t h century t o the e a r l y t w e n t i e t h century.  Two  helped  and d i s a f f e c t i o n .  went  t o d e f l a t e the h o s t i l i t y through  Judicial  a  period  Committee  c o u r t u n t i l 1949,  of  of  the  events then took p l a c e which  increasing  First,  Canada  d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n as  P r i v y C o u n c i l , the  country's  the  highest  i n t e r p r e t e d the B r i t i s h North America A c t (1867)  16 i n a way t h a t was l a r g e l y f a v o u r a b l e t o the p r o v i n c e s .  Second, t h e  development and e x p l o i t a t i o n o f BC's n a t u r a l resources c a t a p u l t e d the p r o v i n c e i n t o a heady p e r i o d o f p r o s p e r i t y i n which about i t s c o l o n i a l  concerns  s t a t u s w i t h c e n t r a l Canada were supplanted by  growing t i e s t o the i n t e r n a t i o n a l marketplace  and a f e r v e n t d e s i r e  among the p r o v i n c e ' s p o l i t i c a l l e a d e r s t o l i v e i n s p l e n d i d i s o l a t i o n from the r e s t o f Canada.  Notes Edwin R. B l a c k :  From the beginning, B r i t i s h Columbians l i t e r a l l y bought C o n f e d e r a t i o n — a t a s t a t e d p r i c e , and i n an e x p l i c i t c o n t r a c t c a l l e d t h e Terms o f Union — and many would argue t h a t B r i t i s h Columbians have not y e t j o i n e d Canada e m o t i o n a l l y . W i t h i n t h e p r o v i n c e , e l e c t i o n s a r e seldom fought over such matters as the development and promotion of c u l t u r a l v a l u e s , education, improving the l o t o f t h e poor, o r over the need f o r more e f f e c t i v e forms o f l o c a l government. The s u c c e s s f u l e l e c t o r a l i s s u e s have always been c l o s e l y r e l a t e d t o economic development. 8  The sense t h a t n a t i o n a l a f f a i r s were l a r g e l y i r r e l e v a n t t o BC reached  i t s apogee with t h e ascendancy o f W.A.C. Bennett  premiership  i n 1952,  beginning  a 20-year r e i g n i n which  Columbia was run very much l i k e a b u s i n e s s . F i r s t M i n i s t e r s ' Conferences bemused d i s i n t e r e s t , concern system.  t o the British  Under W.A.C. Bennett,  were e i t h e r ignored o r attended  and t h e c o n s t i t u t i o n a l  only when d e a l i n g w i t h  fiscal  order was a primary  mechanisms o f t h e f e d e r a l  T h i s p r o t r a c t e d p e r i o d of i n d i f f e r e n c e ended soon  h i s r e t i r e m e n t i n 1972;  with  after  the reasons w i l l be d i s c u s s e d l a t e r i n t h i s  thesis. Edwin R. Black, "British Columbia: The P o l i t i c s o f E x p l o i t a t i o n , " i n P a r t y P o l i t i c s i n Canada, Fourth E d i t i o n , Hugh G. Thorburn, ed. (Scarborough: P r e n t i c e - H a l l o f Canada, L t d . , 1979), pp. 290-291 a  Although one must be c a u t i o u s i n a t t r i b u t i n g t o o much of the province's  political  and  economic  development  individual,  i t i s important t o note t h a t Bennett's 20-year  was a tumultuous one f o r B r i t i s h Columbia.  to  a  single reign  The premier h i m s e l f was  not one t o separate the f o r c e of h i s persona from h i s p r o v i n c e , o r t o d i m i n i s h h i s r o l e i n i t s enormous economic growth. economy was of paramount  importance  Indeed, the  both t o the man  and t o an  emerging, v i b r a n t p r o v i n c e slowly r e c o g n i z i n g t h a t i t s s i g n i f i c a n c e i n Canada was growing as i t t u r n e d i t s e l f from a 'have not.'  i n t o a 'have' p r o v i n c e  Bennett biographer David M i t c h e l l underscores  the importance of t h i s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n i n the f o l l o w i n g  passage:  While debate i n c e n t r a l Canada raged over the neon a t i o n a l i s m o f Quebec's ' r e v o l u t i o n t r a n q u i l l e * t h e country seemed o b l i v i o u s t o the 'quiet r e v o l u t i o n ' i n the f a r west. The r i s e of French Canada had l a r g e l y a c u l t u r a l and l i n g u i s t i c f o u n d a t i o n , whereas B r i t i s h Columbia surged ahead on the impetus of i t s expanding economy. But p o l i t i c a l l y , the t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s i n these p r o v i n c e s would produce a s i m i l a r e f f e e t . . . p r o v i n c i a l l e a d e r s were becoming powers i n t h e i r own right, battling with the Ottawa mandarinate, determined not t o be d i s m i s s e d again as 'hopeless p r o v i n c i a l s . ' 9  Despite t h i s  fact,  Bennett  remained  a fervent  when i t came t o p r o v i n c i a l - f e d e r a l r e l a t i o n s . c o n t i n e n t a l d i v i d e was, f o r Bennett, s t i l l that  could  not be jumped.  isolationist  I t was as though t h e a geographical hurdle  The more l i k e l y  explanation  for his  i s o l a t i o n i s m , which M i t c h e l l a l l u d e s t o i n h i s biography, i s t h a t Bennett i n BC was predominant and v i r t u a l l y omnipresent, but i n h i s D a v i d J . M i t c h e l l , WAC Bennett and the R i s e o f B r i t i s h Columbia (Vancouver/Toronto: Douglas & M c l n t y r e , 1983), p. 346 9  18 d e a l i n g s w i t h h i s f e d e r a l and p r o v i n c i a l c o u n t e r p a r t s he was  merely  one of e l e v e n l e a d e r s who was expected, i n t h i s e r a of c o - o p e r a t i v e f e d e r a l i s m , t o make compromises and c o n c e s s i o n s . diplomatic  pose  was  something  quite  e f f e c t i v e l y - p o r t r a y e d image as a man federal  system  increasing  the  pressured power  of  Bennett his  S t r i k i n g such a  injurious  to  of p r o g r e s s . to  work  politics  Bennett's  "The  Canadian  tenaciously  within  B.C.  towards  rather  extending i t beyond the p r o v i n c e ' s boundaries," M i t c h e l l  than  argues.  "He was the s i n g l e most powerful f i g u r e i n the p r o v i n c i a l b a i l i w i c k and  he  did  not  want  to  jeopardize that  sometimes  meant  Bennett,  province-building  development,  and  weakening  was  the was  strictly  larger tied an  position, federal  if it  system."  directly internal  even  to  —  p a r t i c i p a t i o n of Ottawa i n areas of p r o v i n c i a l concern was  y e t p a r t of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l p a r l a n c e .  For  economic  matter  avoided a t almost any c o s t ; i n t r a s t a t e f e d e r a l i s m was  10  the t o be  a term not  1 1  T h i s i s o l a t i o n i s t stance would remain i n p l a c e f o r the l i f e of W.A.C. Bennett's governments. was  Although i g n o r i n g the r e s t of Canada  p o s s i b l e most of the time, such a t a c k became i m p o s s i b l e when 1 0  I b i d . , p.334.  F o r an examination of some of the p l a u s i b l e reasons why B.C.'s view of p r o v i n c i a l i s m d i d not extend beyond economic development, see P h i l i p Resnick's "B.C. C a p i t a l i s m and the Empire of the P a c i f i c , " i n B.C. S t u d i e s no. 67 (Autumn 1985), pp. 29-46. Resnick argues t h a t the p r o v i n c e ' s t i e s t o Empire ( f i r s t B r i t i s h , then American, and now P a c i f i c Rim) f o r c e d the p r o v i n c e t o t h i n k i n i n t e r n a t i o n a l i s t and c o n t i n e n t a l i s t terms, r a t h e r than n a t i o n a l ones. The f a c t t h a t i t has always had c o n t r o l over i t s major resource, forestry, also helped t o mute i t s provincialist aggression. 1 1  19 o t h e r p r o v i n c i a l l e a d e r s i n s i s t e d on t a l k i n g .  At such g a t h e r i n g s  of F i r s t M i n i s t e r s , Bennett g e n e r a l l y acted remote and  taciturn.  His most frequent response t o concerns t h a t the f e d e r a l system not working, was fiscally,  at  t o i n s i s t t h a t B r i t i s h Columbia was worse o f f  least  —  than most  v a g a r i e s of the system. it  should be  o t h e r p r o v i n c e s thanks  to  r e l a t i o n s w i t h the r e s t of  1960s  as  the  Quiet  Revolution  got  tested  underway  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l reform took on a more urgent countenance. still  the  B.C.  Canada, t h i s p e r i o d of s p l e n d i d i s o l a t i o n , would be s o r e l y the  —  In o t h e r words, i f anyone s h o u l d complain  T h i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of BC's  in  was  and  Although  e x h i b i t i n g t h i n l y - v e i l e d contempt f o r e x e c u t i v e - l e v e l  d i s c u s s i o n s On changing the f e d e r a l system, Bennett would p r o v i d e , in  at  least  one  critical  area,  the  foundation  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l p o s i t i o n s of f u t u r e BC governments. legacy,  along  with  the  premier's  response  for  the  T h i s important  to  the  rise  of  n a t i o n a l i s m i n Quebec d u r i n g the 1960s, w i l l be d i s c u s s e d i n the next  section.  BC and the R i s e of Quebec N a t i o n a l i s m As q u e s t i o n s of n a t i o n a l u n i t y generated heightened concern about  the  state  of  the  Canadian  federation,  Bennett's i n i t i a l p u b l i c response was  Premier  W.A.C.  one which i l l u s t r a t e d h i s  o v e r r i d i n g concern f o r the f u t u r e of h i s home p r o v i n c e a l o n g w i t h the  stereotypical  biographer  Paddy  Westerner's  view  Sherman p o i n t s  out,  of  the  Quebec  money matters  issue. —  not  As the  20 c o n s t i t u t i o n a l framework —  were the f o c u s .  ...Bennett became the f i r s t premier i n the country t o speak b l u n t , harsh words t o Quebec. I t was not the Quebeckers who were g e t t i n g the bad d e a l from Canada, he s a i d ; B r i t i s h Columbians were s u b s i d i z i n g Quebec t o the extent of almost $70,000,000 a year — and i t was time t h i s stopped. He would have no p a r t of Quebec's demand f o r e x t r a pay f o r b i l i n g u a l c i v i l s e r v a n t s a c r o s s the country; he would r e j e c t any attempt t o change Canada's c h a r t e r t o appease Quebec. 12  I t i s not d i f f i c u l t t o b e l i e v e t h a t t h i s statement would have been p o s i t i v e l y r e c e i v e d by most B r i t i s h Columbians. hardline  approach  to  Quebec,  far  from  being  Indeed, t h i s  the  simplistic  p e r s p e c t i v e of a redneck Westerner, n i c e l y enunciated the accepted orthodoxy future). the  way  hampered prairie  of p r o v i n c i a l  leaders  a t the time  (and w e l l  into  the  Bennett b e l i e v e d t h e r e was nothing i n h e r e n t l y wrong w i t h Canada  operated;  h i s quest provinces,  the  status  f o r economic BC  had  quo  constitution  development.  always  had  full  And  had  not  unlike  the  control  over i t s  r e s o u r c e s and was  not r e q u i r e d t o w r e s t l e those economic  away from Ottawa.  I t was presumably Bennett's b e l i e f t h a t Canada's  problems,  such as  i t s fiscal  arrangements,  could  levers  be worked  out  p o l i t i c a l l y and without c o n s t i t u t i o n a l renewal. Most i m p o r t a n t l y , the m a j o r i t y of Canadians l i k e l y viewed the s i t u a t i o n the same way, i r r e v o c a b l y changed  a t l e a s t u n t i l the Quiet R e v o l u t i o n  things.  In I n t r a s t a t e F e d e r a l i s m i n Canada,  Donald Smiley and Ronald Watts c h a r a c t e r i z e the p e r i o d up u n t i l the 1960s as the age of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l c o n s e r v a t i s m i n Canada. Paddy Sherman, L i m i t e d , 1966), p.285 12  Bennett  (Toronto:  McClelland  &  They  Stewart  21 note t h a t o n l y a small m i n o r i t y of "Canadians a t t h i s time seemed t o b e l i e v e c o n s t i t u t i o n a l reform was necessary f o r the defence and f u r t h e r a n c e of the v a l u e s and i n t e r e s t s they The  philosophy  throughout  of  constitutional  W.A.C. Bennett's  espoused."  conservatism  years a t the p r o v i n c i a l  based on the h i s t o r i c a l evidence, one may  13  permeates helm.  And  conclude t h a t t h e r e was  l i t t l e reason f o r Bennett t o assume t h a t the f u t u r e of BC was remotely connected  to c o n s t i t u t i o n a l  arrangements.  Bennett  even may  have been the p r o v i n c e ' s most n o t o r i o u s " f e d basher,"  as  Blake p o i n t s  wavered.  This  out, but h i s commitment t o Canada never  apparent  contradiction  can  r e a l i t i e s of the Bennett p e r i o d .  be  e x p l a i n e d by  there  would  relations.  1 5  be  i n complete few  battles  political  r e s t e d on the success of t h e i r  p o l i c i e s and a c t i o n s on the economic f r o n t . remained  14  Blake argues t h a t the success of  p r o v i n c i a l governments has always  such as BC  the  Donald  As long as a p r o v i n c e  c o n t r o l of i t s economic raging  in  destiny  federal-provincial  While t h i s i s s u r e l y a g e n e r a l i z a t i o n , i t i s one w i t h  a s i g n i f i c a n t degree of m e r i t .  I f the premiers (at l e a s t o u t s i d e  •"•^Donald V. Smiley and Ronald L. Watts, I n t r a s t a t e F e d e r a l i s m i n Canada(Toronto: U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto P r e s s , 1985), p.5. The authors note t h a t t h e r e were two exceptions t o the o v e r r i d i n g r u l e of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l conservatism: (1) the I n t e r p r o v i n c i a l Conference of 1887, convened by the Quebec premier (B.C. was the o n l y p r o v i n c e not t o send r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s ) ; and (2) a 1935 r e p o r t by the League for Social Reconstruction. D o n a l d E. Blake, "Managing the P e r i p h e r y : B r i t i s h Columbia and the N a t i o n a l P o l i t i c a l Community," i n A H i s t o r y of B r i t i s h Columbia: S e l e c t e d Readings. P a t r i c i a E. Roy, ed. (Toronto: Copp C l a r k Pitman L t d . , 1989), pp.177-178 14  1 5  I b i d . , p.  178  22 of Quebec) were p r i m a r i l y concerned about economic i s s u e s , then the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l debate would tend t o r e v o l v e around which l e v e l of government was citizenry. thinking  best s u i t e d  It  seems t o  played  an  t o meeting the  me  that,  i n BC  extraordinarily  economic needs of at  least,  strong  development of p r o v i n c i a l l y - s p o n s o r e d  role  this in  constitutional  way  the  reappraisal  of i d e n t i t y and  proposals.  approach.  Significantly, this reappraisal U n t i l the  mid-1980s, the  top-down i n i t s  concerns of B r i t i s h  amounted  government.  U n l i k e the experience i n Quebec, t h e r e was  sentiments among the  the  was  central  essentially  of  to  concerns  of  the  economic, p o l i t i c a l  early  a vigorous  of the p r o v i n c e ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the  government.  Columbia  Premier  and  and  no  of  shared  government of BC relations  and  principles  by  the  community  cultural  enunciated i t s concerns about  transformed  them  into  a  at  his  forging elites  i n t o a c o a l i t i o n of support f o r c o n s t i t u t i o n a l reform; t h e r e was espousal  of  later  With the r i s e of the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l debate i n BC i n the 1970s, came an i n t e n s e p u r s u i t  the  large.  no The  federal-provincial  constitutional  platform.  Roger G i b b i n s , attempting t o make sense of the u n p o p u l a r i t y of Meech Lake Accord among Westerners compared t o i t s i n i t i a l  the  support  among t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e p r o v i n c i a l governments, makes a cogent p o i n t which c o u l d be n i c e l y a p p l i e d  t o the  l a s t two  decades of  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l wrangling: There i s no doubt i n my mind t h a t the Meech Lake Accord found a g r e a t d e a l of support among p r o v i n c i a l governments i n the West... However, i t i s a l s o c l e a r t h a t the western Canadian p u b l i c see the country somewhat d i f f e r e n t l y than the p r o v i n c i a l governments do. If western Canadians had the chance t o a c t p u b l i c l y i n the  23 c o n s t i t u t i o n a l arena, they would not want t o do so w i t h i n the c o n f i n e s of p r o v i n c i a l communities. To most western Canadians, the dominant p o l i t i c a l community i s the n a t i o n a l p o l i t i c a l community, and the reason the Accord ran i n t o t r o u b l e was because i t was seen, a c c u r a t e l y or not, as t h r e a t e n i n g t h a t n a t i o n a l community. 16  T h i s strange dichotomy western  Canadian  provincial  between the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l dogma of governments and  the  views  of  r e s p e c t i v e e l e c t o r a t e s e x i s t s because p r o v i n c i a l l e a d e r s , t o speak s o l e l y f o r t h e i r p r o v i n c e s , cannot change t h e i r c u r r e n c y and speak f o r the n a t i o n a l i n t e r e s t a t F i r s t conferences.  their  elected  political Ministers'  With the q u a l i f i e d e x c e p t i o n of the 1981 a c c o r d , a l l  attempts t o perform t h i s chameleon-like a c t have f a i l e d  (although  the Charlottetown accord succeeded i n so much as the premiers d i d not  precipitate  nation  d i d not  i t s downfall, i t ultimately embrace the  agreement  as  failed  being  because  i n the  the  national  interest). The Canadian c i t i z e n r y , whether d e f i n e d w i t h i n the p r o v i n c i a l , r e g i o n a l or n a t i o n a l realm, seeks, above a l l , u n i t y obvious accepts  and  significant  (with the  e x c e p t i o n of Quebec s o v e r e i g n t i s t s ) ; i t  federal-provincial  wrangling  over  policy  issues  as  a  fundamental element of the p o l i t i c a l p r o c e s s , but i t wishes, a t the end of the day, t o see both o r d e r s of government put away t h e i r hatchets  and  work  toward  political  peace.  The  provincial  governments, on the other hand, acknowledge the p o p u l a r i t y of R o g e r G i b b i n s , " C o n s t i t u t i o n a l P o l i t i c s i n the West and t h e Rest," i n C o n s t i t u t i o n i n C r i s i s , Robert Young, ed. (Toronto: James Lorimer & Company, 1991) p.28 16  24  peaceful  relations  executive  but  accept e q u a l l y  the  burden and  strains  of  federalism.  The Government of B r i t i s h Columbia, f o r c e d by circumstance t o disavow i t s c o n s t i t u t i o n a l conservatism i n the m i d - s e v e n t i e s , found t h a t t h e r e was federalism  almost nothing w i t h i n the i n s t i t u t i o n a l framework of that  was  working  satisfactorily;  and  this  d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n found an a p p r o p r i a t e o u t l e t i n the p r o v i n c e ' s constitutional  proposals  (which w i l l  be  discussed  1978  later in  this  thesis). The economic l i b e r a l i s m of P i e r r e Trudeau's f e d e r a l government cut deeply i n t o the consistently development.  s e l f - i n t e r e s t s of p r o v i n c e s l i k e BC,  which  measured t h e i r success through economic progress  While W.A.C. Bennett r e a c t e d d u r i n g h i s l a s t decade  i n o f f i c e t o the q u e s t i o n of Quebec's p l a c e i n Canada, t h i s was  compounded  for  perception that  Bill  his  Bennett, who  centralized  of  '70s  over s i m p l i f i c a t i o n , one that  aspirations  of Quebec and  one  could  of o b t a i n i n g  l i n g u i s t i c destiny; control  federal  to  react  to  be  t h e r e was the  over i t s economic d e s t i n y .  risk  indeed  B r i t i s h Columbia: t o Quebec, the  the i s s u e was  1960s  a  constitutional  e f f e c t i v e c o n t r o l over i t s c u l t u r a l t o BC,  Trudeau  N e v e r t h e l e s s , at the  between  the  order.  c o u l d argue t h a t made  the  in  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l t a l k s of the  are examined i n c l o s e r d e t a i l .  comparison  was  also  s t a t e of f e d e r a l - p r o v i n c i a l r e l a t i o n s d u r i n g the  e r a w i l l become c l e a r e r as the and  had  issue  government * s powers were d i m i n i s h i n g  f a c e of an i n c r e a s i n g l y The  and  issue  and  one of r e t a i n i n g e f f e c t i v e  These two  p a r a l l e l concerns  25  would  come t o the f o r e f r o n t  as the c o n s e r v a t i v e  proclivities  of  Canada's p o l i t i c a l l e a d e r s gave way t o an over-powering, i n e x o r a b l e demand f o r c o n s t i t u t i o n a l  renewal.  26  C H A P T E R TWO  BC  PURSUES A REGIONAL  IDENTITY  Introduction I  will  now t u r n  my  attention t o the evolution  o f BC's  i n s i s t e n c e t h a t i t be d e f i n e d w i t h i n the f e d e r a t i o n as a r e g i o n as w e l l as a p r o v i n c e , a development which i s o f p a r t i c u l a r importance to  this thesis.  questions  Through t h i s approach, I w i l l address  posed i n t h e i n t r o d u c t i o n : How d i d reform  institutions  become  t h e foremost  Undoubtedly, when Premier  component  W.A.C. Bennett  one o f t h e of n a t i o n a l  o f BC's p r o p o s a l s ?  first  publicly  broached  the i d e a o f d e s i g n a t i n g BC as a f i f t h r e g i o n i n Canada (the o t h e r f o u r being O n t a r i o , Quebec, the A t l a n t i c and the P r a i r i e s ) , i t was g r e e t e d w i t h as much s u r p r i s e i n B r i t i s h Columbia as i t was i n t h e rest  o f t h e country.  A  regional  classification  strengthened the p r o v i n c e ' s hand i n C o n f e d e r a t i o n .  would  have  But i t s abrupt  a r r i v a l on the F i r s t M i n i s t e r s ' t a b l e i n the 1960s, coupled  with  the f l i m s y argument f o r i t s support p o s t u l a t e d by W.A.C. Bennett, meant  the proposal  was a l l b u t i g n o r e d  N e v e r t h e l e s s , the concept of  of regionhood  by t h e other  leaders..  evolved i n t o one  BC's most c o n s i s t e n t l y enunciated c o n s t i t u t i o n a l t e n e t s , and i t  was s t r o n g l y r e l a t e d t o the p r o v i n c e ' s c e n t r a l c o n s t i t u t i o n a l p r o p o s a l o f the 1970s and '80s — This  paper  will  argue  Senate reform.  that  British  Columbia's  regional  aspirations  were very  much p o l i t i c a l ,  and  t h a t the  probably r e s u s c i t a t e d by Premier W i l l i a m Bennett  concept  f o r two  (1) t o strengthen BC's hand a t the b a r g a i n i n g t a b l e ; and as  a  defensive  strike  against  the  centralizing  was  reasons: (2) t o a c t  policies  and  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l proposals emanating from the f e d e r a l government a t this  time. T h i s t h e s i s w i l l argue t h a t the concept of r e g i o n a l s t a t u s as  espoused most c l e a r l y by B r i t i s h Columbia i n the 1970s u l t i m a t e l y failed  d u r i n g the n e g o t i a t i o n s of 1980-81 because the p r o v i n c e ' s  l e a d e r s c o u l d not d i s p e l the n o t i o n t h a t the concept was nothing more than p o l i t i c a l whimsy.  founded i n  Indeed, the concept was  such  a n o n - s t a r t e r a t the b a r g a i n i n g t a b l e t h a t i t i s d i f f i c u l t not t o b e l i e v e BC's  l e a d e r s themselves  p o l i t i c a l legitimacy.  were u n c e r t a i n of i t s c u r r e n c y or  Such i s the f a t e of b e l i e f s borne from t o p -  down r h e t o r i c r a t h e r than from the devout p a s s i o n of a people.  The Five-Region Concept of Canada As the 1960s progressed, and as Canada c e l e b r a t e d the symbolic watershed of i t s c e n t e n n i a l year, i t became i n c r e a s i n g l y that  constitutional  conservatism  was  in  decline  country's r e i g n i n g p o l i t i c a l and i n t e l l e c t u a l In  evident  amongst  the  Pearson  was  elite.  Ottawa, the L i b e r a l government of L e s t e r B.  beginning t o respond t o the n a t i o n a l i s t i c f o r c e s i n Quebec, which had f i r s t gained e l e c t o r a l c r e d i b i l i t y  w i t h the v i c t o r y of Jean  Lesage and h i s p r o v i n c i a l L i b e r a l s i n 1960.  Pearson was  determined  to counter the w i d e l y - h e l d Quebecois view t h a t the French had  no  28 v o i c e and very l i t t l e power a t t h e f e d e r a l l e v e l —  an o f f s h o o t o f  the well-documented economic domination by t h e anglophone m i n o r i t y i n s i d e Quebec.  One of Pearson's f i r s t  steps  was t o r e c r u i t t h e  "Three Wise Men" from Montreal (Trudeau, Jean Marchand and Gerard Pelletier),  a l l of whom would p l a y i n f l u e n t i a l r o l e s i n Canadian  p o l i t i c s over the next f i f t e e n t o twenty y e a r s . As  Pearson  neared  resolve the question  retirement,  other  of national unity.  e f f o r t s were made t o  I t was a t t h i s time t h a t  the f e d e r a l government opened t h e door t o c o n s t i t u t i o n a l renewal. Prompted no doubt by the 1965 r e p o r t  of t h e Royal Commission on  B i l i n g u a l i s m and B i c u l t u r a l i s m , t h e f e d e r a l government h e l d a F i r s t M i n i s t e r s ' Conference i n February 1968 with t h e expressed i n t e n t of commencing Federalism of Canada.  a period  of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l review.  The r e s u l t was  f o r the Future: A Statement of P o l i c y by t h e Government A c r u c i a l document with a p r o p h e t i c  title,  i t touches  on many of the i s s u e s t h a t would dominate c o n s t i t u t i o n a l p o l i t i c s up t o the s i g n i n g of t h e c o n s t i t u t i o n a l accord of 1981. for  t h e Future,  Federalism  c a u t i o u s l y rebukes t h e d e c e n t r a l i z i n g n o t i o n s o f  Quebec n a t i o n a l i s t s and the p r o v i n c e - b u i l d i n g premiers i n t h e r e s t of  Canada, and assumes an almost  judicial  posture.  balance between c e n t r a l i z i n g and what i t c a l l s and  I t seeks a  "fragmentization,"  suggests t h a t a strong Canada r e q u i r e s t h a t n e i t h e r l e v e l o f  government o b t a i n the j u r i s d i c t i o n a l upper hand. Canada's i d e n t i t y i s i t s d i v e r s i t y and i t s u n i t y : we l o s e o u r s e l v e s i f we l o s e our two l i n g u i s t i c communities, our d i v e r s e c u l t u r a l h e r i t a g e s , o r our s e v e r a l r e g i o n a l i d e n t i t i e s . We l o s e them a l l i f we l o s e t h e Canada i n  29 which they have been able t o e x i s t and t o d e v e l o p .  17  What i s most i n t r i g u i n g about t h i s passage i s t h e r e p e t i t i v e use of t h e word " l o s e " — attempt  f o u r times i n two sentences.  C l e a r l y , an  i s being made t o emphasize t h e dangers t o t h e n a t i o n a l  community of an a l t e r e d f e d e r a l s t a t e t h a t p r o v i d e s t h e p r o v i n c e s with  i n c r e a s e d powers.  This  concern  can a l s o  be seen  i n the  paper's s t a t e d c o n s t i t u t i o n a l p r i o r i t i e s : the entrenchment o f human r i g h t s and l i n g u i s t i c r i g h t s .  Obviously, the c e n t r a l government,  i n a p r e l u d e t o t h e Trudeau e r a (and Trudeau was almost  undoubtedly  i n v o l v e d i n the p r e p a r a t i o n of t h i s statement), wanted t o promote n a t i o n - b u i l d i n g as the prime focus i n the debate.  The paper s t a t e s  that  the  "the  rights  governments." Yet,  of  people  must  precede  rights  of  18  f e r v e n t d e c e n t r a l i z e r s or p r o v i n c e - b u i l d e r s c o u l d a l s o  take comfort i n the document.  As a f e d e r a l t r e a t i s e , i t was a f a r  c r y from t h e Macdonald concept of f e d e r a l i s m , i n which p r o v i n c i a l governments  are  unquestionably  subordinate  to  the  federal  government.  The d i v i s i o n of powers, t h e r o l e of t h e Senate, and  g r e a t e r r e g i o n a l i n f l u e n c e i n Ottawa a r e a l l open f o r d i s c u s s i o n , a c c o r d i n g t o the paper. striking  the r i g h t  expectation  Always, however, t h e theme i s one of  balance,  and t h e r e  i s at least  t h a t the p r o v i n c e s , t o o , should accept  one s u b t l e concessions.  Government of Canada,Federalism f o r the F u t u r e : A Statement of P o l i c y by the Government of Canada(Ottawa, February 1968), p.10 17  1 8  I b i d . , p.8  30  S t a t e s the paper: "We  must be prepared t o c o n s i d e r new  bringing  influence  provincial  p o l i c i e s , and  to  bear  on  methods f o r  developing  federal  f e d e r a l i n f l u e n c e on d e v e l o p i n g p r o v i n c i a l p o l i c i e s ,  before decisions  have f i n a l l y been t a k e n . "  C e r t a i n l y the  1968  federal/provincial  paper l a y s the  discussions  on  19  ground r u l e s f o r  the  constitution.  future  It  seeks  a  balance i n r e - e n g i n e e r i n g the country's c o n s t i t u t i o n a l arrangements but  seems b l i s s f u l l y i g n o r a n t about the complex i m p l i c a t i o n s  behind the p r o c e s s . from  What, f o r example, would the p r o v i n c e s g a i n  nation-building?  When one  province  acknowledges o u t r i g h t t h a t i t s o b j e c t i v e own  lying  in  particular  (Quebec)  i s t o become master i n i t s  house, t h e r e can be l i t t l e i n c l i n a t i o n f o r the other p r o v i n c e s  t o ask  f o r l e s s ; n a t i o n a l u n i t y i s a f e d e r a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , not  provincial In  one.  British  constitutional  Columbia,  participant  also  Bennett's s t a r t i n g to  own  brand  erode.  in federal-provincial  He  of was  meetings,  such conference would nonetheless become the stage f o r h i s  most s i g n i f i c a n t f o r a y Ministers f o r the  W.A.C.  conservatism was  never an e n t h u s i a s t i c but one  a  met  exactly  i n t o c o n s t i t u t i o n a l reform when the  one year a f t e r the p u b l i s h i n g  First  of F e d e r a l i s m  Future.  I t was  at t h i s meeting i n February 1969  t h a t Bennett  surprised  h i s c o u n t e r p a r t s by proposing a r e s t r u c t u r i n g of Canada's p o l i t i c a l boundaries  into  five  distinct  A t l a n t i c , the p r a i r i e s , and BC) . 1 9  Ibid.,  p.44  regions  (Quebec,  Ontario,  The BC government's view was  the that  31 the p r o v i n c e should comprise one annex the Yukon as w e l l  of the f i v e r e g i o n s , and  should  (probably f o r economic r e a s o n s ) .  David  M i t c h e l l p o i n t s out t h a t the f i v e p o l i t i c a l  r e g i o n s were  "viable  and e f f e c t i v e p o l i t i c a l u n i t s consonant and i n c o n f o r m i t y w i t h the five  economic r e g i o n s of Canada."  premier  who  contempt astounding  until  for  that  moment  What  t r a n s f o r m a t i o n ? A premier who  The  had  federal/provincial  about-face.  20  proposal, e x t o l l e d  displayed  almost  constitutional had  a  this  a  benign  talks,  precipitated  by  was  an  dramatic  had once been c o n s e r v a t i v e and  leery  about such reform, was now advocating a "massive realignment of the country's  political  r e g i o n p r o p o s a l was  structure." Bennett's way  2 1  Perhaps  the  radical,  five-  of mocking the e n t i r e process of  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l renewal; an attempt t o match Quebec's p u r s u i t of  new  powers  was  by  pushing  c l a i m i n g i t was  the  envelope  even  further.  If  Quebec  not merely a p r o v i n c e but a n a t i o n , then BC c o u l d  c l a i m t h a t i t represented a r e g i o n as w e l l as a p r o v i n c e . a more p l a u s i b l e e x p l a n a t i o n , however, i s t h a t the BC was  r e l a y i n g the message t o the  c o n s t i t u t i o n was  Perhaps  government  f e d e r a l government t h a t , i f the  t o be changed, then  such changes had t o  reflect  the emerging r e a l i t y t h a t BC, w i t h i t s growing economic might, becoming a g r e a t e r f o r c e w i t h i n the country  and  deserved  was  a more  significant voice. Although talks  the  suggested 20  2 1  proposal's that  i t was  sudden emergence i n perhaps  a  hasty  constitutional  reaction to  the  M i t c h e l l , W A C Bennett and the R i s e of B r i t i s h Columbia, p.394 I b i d . , p.394  32 inchoate proposal province.  process marked  of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l  renewal,  t h e end o f c o n s t i t u t i o n a l  the five-region  conservatism i n  S t i l l , the concept o f BC as a r e g i o n u n l i k e the o t h e r s -  - separate and s t r o n g e r than i t s Western c o u n t e r p a r t s — which  would  provide a r e c u r r i n g  constitutional decade.  the  was one  theme f o r t h e p r o v i n c e as  q u e s t i o n was r e p e a t e d l y broached  As a legacy, i t was l i k e l y  over  the  t h e next  "one of W.A.C. Bennett's most  l a s t i n g c o n t r i b u t i o n s t o the debate over the f u t u r e o f Canada."  22  An e q u a l l y dramatic i l l u s t r a t i o n o f the end o f c o n s t i t u t i o n a l conservatism  i n BC o c c u r r e d a few years l a t e r .  In June 1971,  W.A.C. Bennett hosted a F i r s t M i n i s t e r s ' conference i n V i c t o r i a . In an apparent breakthrough Prime M i n i s t e r Trudeau,  achieved under  t h e f i r m guidance o f  t h e F i r s t M i n i s t e r s ended a decades-long  impasse by a g r e e i n g on a c o n s t i t u t i o n a l amending formula t h a t would have  patriated  Parliament. formed  North  America  A c t from  the B r i t i s h  That BC, and indeed the r e s t o f the West, had not y e t  a clear  substance  the B r i t i s h  constitutional  o f t h e amending  position  formula.  was e v i d e n t w i t h i n t h e  Although  Bennett  p l a y e d an  u n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y a c t i v e r o l e i n the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l c o n f e r e n c e , the  formula would have p r o v i d e d o n l y O n t a r i o and Quebec with, a  v e t o , thus denying the r e g i o n a l v o i c e f o r BC t h a t was advocated by i t s premier two years e a r l i e r . aspirations,  the V i c t o r i a  Premier Robert Bourassa.  F o r t u n a t e l y f o r BC and i t s r e g i o n a l  agreement was soon  scuttled  by Quebec  I t s r e j e c t i o n allowed BC t h e  o p p o r t u n i t y t o expand on i t s c l a i m f o r r e g i o n a l d i s t i n c t i v e n e s s i n 2 2  M i t c h e l l , p.395  33 time  f o r the  juncture,  next  the  round  so-called  of  constitutional  Victoria  talks.  amending  At  formula  such  would  a be  abandoned by neophyte Premier B i l l Bennett w h i l e the f i f t h - r e g i o n concept  would  constitutional  be  embraced  as  a  necessary  ingredient  Credit brief  Bennett  succeeded  p a r t y and was NDP  any  solution.  R e g i o n a l i s m and the Question of C o n s t i t u t i o n a l Bill  in  elected  interregnum.  h i s father  as  Reform  leader  of the  premier i n December 1975  Along w i t h the new  Social  after  the  premier came a more  c l e a r and s u b s t a n t i a l BC p o s i t i o n on the c o n s t i t u t i o n . B i l l Bennett would d i s t a n c e h i m s e l f from the i s o l a t i o n i s t stance of h i s f a t h e r . As the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l i s s u e grew i n complexity, Bennett became an avid participant federal  i n a Western Canadian c o a l i t i o n t h a t  government  f o r reforms  focusing  p o l i t i c a l clout i n national a f f a i r s .  on  lobbied  the West's  (Expanding on a  lack  the of  contemporary  metaphor, i t can be s t a t e d t h a t , w h i l e many Quebecois were seeking powers t h a t would make them masters i n t h e i r own house,  Westerners  were more concerned about having more power over what was going on in  their  neighbourhood.)  In November 1976,  the month Rene Levesque was  elected  premier, B i l l Bennett p r o v i d e d h i s p r o v i n c e ' s f i r s t statement on how i t viewed the f e d e r a l i s m in  which  affairs. of  BC  as  the  p r o v i n c e s would  play  a  role  The statement endorsed W.A.C. Bennett's a  regional  entity.  In  comprehensive  of the f u t u r e — direct  his position  Quebec  in  a  future  national  characterization statement,  Bill  34 Bennett  noted  dramatically  that  since  BC's  significance  i t s 1871 e n t r y  in  Canada  had  i n t o Confederation.  grown  Bennett  argued t h a t t h e BNA Act of 1867 was based on a t h r e e - r e g i o n concept of  Canada,  reflected  that  the subsequent  1915 amendment  a f o u r - r e g i o n concept of Canada, and t h a t now was t h e  time t o update the concept t o f i v e regions as t h e f i f t h BC's  t o t h e BNA A c t  region).  (with BC, o f course,  In t h e statement, the premier  summarizes  new c o n s t i t u t i o n a l p o s i t i o n : . . . [ I ] f s u b s t a n t i v e amendments a r e t o be made t o t h e C o n s t i t u t i o n a t t h i s time, c e r t a i n b a s i c c o n s t i t u t i o n a l readjustments must be made i n B r i t i s h Columbia's r e p r e s e n t a t i o n i n t h e Senate, on t h e Supreme Court o f Canada, and P r o v i n c i a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n on f e d e r a l boards e s t a b l i s h i n g n a t i o n a l p o l i c y , so as t o r e d r e s s t h e c o n s t i t u t i o n a l imbalance of 1871 and g i v e B r i t i s h Columbia the r i g h t f u l p l a c e , i n c o n s t i t u t i o n a l terms, which i t now occupies i n Canada. 2 3  T h i s reinforcement  of BC's demand f o r r e g i o n a l s t a t u s ,  first  p r o f f e r e d seven years e a r l i e r , i s once again based p r i m a r i l y on t h e p r o v i n c e ' s continued economic growth (and i t s complementary growth in  population),  and  demonstrates  the  government's  enduring  c o n v i c t i o n t h a t economic power must t r a n s l a t e i n t o p o l i t i c a l power. To a p r o v i n c e t h a t had only r e c e n t l y shed both i t s i s o l a t i o n i s m and its  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l conservatism,  power a t t h e c e n t r e . Confederation,  increased p o l i t i c a l  In order t o achieve  power meant  BC's r i g h t f u l p l a c e i n  Bennett o u t l i n e d f o u r key changes t o t h e f e d e r a l  order i n h i s 1976 statement: S e e "What i s B r i t i s h Columbia's P o s i t i o n on t h e C o n s t i t u t i o n of Canada," presented by t h e Hon. W i l l i a m R. Bennett, Premier o f B r i t i s h Columbia ( V i c t o r i a : November 1976) 2 3  35 (1) formula  in  A rejection  favour  of  a  of the V i c t o r i a  five-region  concept  Charter  that  amending  provides  BC,  O n t a r i o , Quebec, two of the t h r e e p r a i r i e p r o v i n c e s and two of the f o u r A t l a n t i c provinces with a veto over f u t u r e c o n s t i t u t i o n a l amendments. (2)  Senate reform.  Although there are few d e t a i l s ,  the statement c a l l s f o r the d o u b l i n g of BC r e p r e s e n t a t i o n i n the Upper Chamber from s i x t o twelve  seats t o take  province's  population  It  examination  of the Senate's r o l e , the means of appointment, and the  tenure of appointees provincially  growth.  also  i n t o account  proposes  a  the  sweeping  (BC would l a t e r propose t h a t a l l members be  appointed)  so  that  "regional points  r e f l e c t e d i n the n a t i o n a l law-making process."  of view  [are]  Favourable examples  are drawn from the r e g i o n a l composition of the U.S.  Senate and the  Bundesrat i n Germany. (3) Court of Canada.  Increased BC r e p r e s e n t a t i o n on the Supreme The premier c a l l s f o r a 10-member bench i n which  B r i t i s h Columbia would be e n t i t l e d t o one  r e p r e s e n t a t i v e ; as f o r  the other r e g i o n s , the p r a i r i e p r o v i n c e s would have two from t h e i r r e g i o n , the A t l a n t i c would have one,  justices  and Quebec and  O n t a r i o would have three members each. (4) boards  and  Increased  agencies.  r e p r e s e n t a t i o n from  Seeking  greater  regional  BC  on  federal  influence  in  n a t i o n a l a f f a i r s , the premier proposed t h a t "the Board of D i r e c t o r s of the Bank of Canada, and the governing body of other s i g n i f i c a n t f e d e r a l boards and commissions, be appointed by a process i n v o l v i n g  36 P r o v i n c i a l Governments as w e l l as the Government of Canada." The  premier's  reasons.  I t was  statement  the f i r s t  was  significant  for  a  number  of  p r o v i n c i a l document arguing t h a t the  Senate should be reformed i n order t o b e t t e r r e p r e s e n t the r e g i o n s . It  was  the p r e c u r s o r t o a much more e l a b o r a t e r e n d e r i n g of  p r o v i n c e ' s p r o p o s a l s two y e a r s l a t e r , i n which the i s s u e of desire  for  provincial  equity  with  the  federation's  the BC's  populous  powerhouses of O n t a r i o and Quebec would remain a c e n t r a l component. I t was the most d e t a i l e d account produced t o date by the p r o v i n c i a l government  that  provides  regional aspirations.  the  essential  reasoning  behind  BC's  I t serves n o t i c e t o the f e d e r a l government  t h a t c o n s t i t u t i o n a l renewal,  i f i t were t o occur, would be  not o n l y on coming t o terms w i t h dramatic  based  changes i n Quebec but  a l s o w i t h the dramatic changes t h a t had taken p l a c e i n BC and rest  of the West.  intrastate  And  finally,  f e d e r a l i s m BC  has  i t emphasizes t h a t the  i n mind  i s one  i n which  the  type  of  the  BC  government, a c t i n g as the v o i c e of i t s r e g i o n , holds i n f l u e n c e a t the f e d e r a l l e v e l i n p o l i c i e s t h a t a f f e c t the r e g i o n . On a broader b a s i s , i t i s c l e a r from t h i s document and o t h e r s soon t o f o l l o w t h a t the BC government saw not  as  the  need  to  n a t i o n a l community — the  federal  essence have  from  found  rebuild  which i s how  government, square  national  one  unsettling,  saw and,  it —  constitutional  unity  or  renewal  strengthen  the  the generator of the p r o c e s s , but  as  a chance t o  start  in  w i t h an i r o n y t h a t Macdonald would  re-create  the  f e d e r a t i o n as  a  compact  37 between r e g i o n s / p r o v i n c e s i n which  the f e d e r a l  government would  f i n d i t s e l f i n a f a r l e s s dominant r o l e . Donald Smiley and Ronald Watts p o i n t out t h a t t h i s s h i f t i n c o n s t i t u t i o n a l demands was  fundamental  an abrupt response t o  both the PQ v i c t o r y i n Quebec and the i n c r e a s i n g a s s e r t i v e n e s s of Western premiers.  T h i s s h i f t meant t h a t the f e d e r a l government  faced c o n s t i t u t i o n a l b a t t l e s  on two  fronts,  as Western  now  concerns  usurped the t r a d i t i o n a l predominance of the F r e n c h / E n g l i s h d u a l i t y question.  S t a t e Smiley and  Watts:  The new emphasis i n c o n s t i t u t i o n a l debate on p r o p o s a l s f o r reforming the i n s t i t u t i o n s of the c e n t r a l government can i n large part be attributed t o the growing a s s e r t i v e n e s s of the western premiers and t h e i r d e s i r e t o make t h e i r p o l i t i c a l power i n n a t i o n a l a f f a i r s commensurate with t h e i r economic p o w e r . . . [ P r i o r t o 1976] s p e c i f i c a l l y western i n t e r e s t s were n e i t h e r c l e a r l y a r t i c u l a t e d nor f o r c e f u l l y pressed i n the p r o c e s s of constitutional review. 24  Premier B i l l Bennett's 1976 c o n s t i t u t i o n a l statement was s i g n i f i c a n t v o l l e y i n the d i r e c t i o n of the f e d e r a l government.  a It  was a response t o a request by the prime m i n i s t e r f o r the premiers t o put f o r t h t h e i r views on how Earlier, Premier  at  the  Bennett  October  1976  foreshadowed  the BNA  A c t should be p a t r i a t e d .  Premiers' the  tenor  Conference of  his  i n Toronto,  constitutional  statement w i t h h i s adamance t h a t BC would again demand b e t t e r terms within  Confederation.  His  basic  premise  was  that,  in  the  c o n f e d e r a l h i e r a r c h y of Canada, BC had r i s e n t o t h i r d p l a c e behind O n t a r i o and Quebec.  2 4  "By almost every growth index such as l a b o u r  S m i l e y and W a t t s , I n t r a s t a t e F e d e r a l i s m i n Canada pp. 12,  13  38 force,  population, p r o v i n c i a l  Columbia  i s now the t h i r d  product,  largest  and investment,  British  P r o v i n c e i n Canada y e t i t i s  w o e f u l l y under-represented a t the n a t i o n a l l e v e l , " the premier stressed  i n a news r e l e a s e .  "In l a r g e measure, i t i s a f f o r d e d  today o n l y t h e same degree o f importance t h a t i t had i n 1 8 7 l . "  i n c o n s t i t u t i o n a l terms  2 5  From "British Columbia's Statement Conference," Toronto, Ont., October 1-2, 1976 25  on  the  Premiers'  39  CHAPTER  RENEWING T H E  THREE  FEDERATION:  A BC  PERSPECTIVE  Ottawa Versus the P r o v i n c e s T h i s chapter w i l l focus on probably the most tumultuous p e r i o d in  modern  Canadian  constitutional  history.  It  is  here  that  Although BC was but one p r o v i n c e i n ten v y i n g t o i m p r i n t i t s v i s i o n on  the  country's  comprehensive  set  political of  landscape,  proposals  from  which  it  did  i t was  provide  a  possible  to  analyze the BC government's n o t i o n of a workable f e d e r a l union. will  analyze  answer  one  these of  proposals  this  in this  thesis's  key  chapter,  questions:  p r o p o s a l s have changed the nature of Canadian  and  I will  How  would  f e d e r a l i s m had  I  then these they  been accepted r a t h e r than i g n o r e d , and what impact would they have had on the BC's assess  the  stultifying  i n f l u e n c e i n Ottawa?  scope debate,  of  these  An attempt  proposals  growing  in  an  will era  federal-provincial  be made t o  filled  with  animosity,  and  prolonged c o n s t i t u t i o n a l t u r m o i l . From the beginning i t was  c l e a r t h a t the p r o v i n c e s , through  t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e statements and a c t i o n s on the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l f r o n t in  the  despite would  late the not  significant  1970s,  provided  separatists be  now  persuaded  alterations  incontrovertible  a t Quebec's p o l i t i c a l to  to  evidence  accept  the  patriation  federation.  that  —  helm —  they  without  some  Undoubtedly  (but,  40 i n a d v e r t e n t l y ) the premiers i n the r e s t of Canada were at l e a s t c o n c e p t u a l l y ,  accepting,  Quebec's argument t h a t the c o n s t i t u t i o n was  smothering the a s p i r a t i o n s of Canada's provinces w i t h i t s worn-out, nineteenth-century The  centralism.  f e d e r a l government's v i s i o n of a p a t r i a t e d c o n s t i t u t i o n  w i t h a f o r m a l i z e d amending mechanism and an entrenched human-rights c h a r t e r was living  perhaps not  outside  of  out-of-step  Quebec, but  l e a d i n g t o these o b j e c t i v e s as  the  with the  the  process  something which c o u l d  (1)  provide  (2) h a l t the spread of Trudeau's  c e n t r a l i z i n g L i b e r a l i s m w h i l e g i v i n g them an the  centre.  patriation, rest  of  Knowing the  the  that  they  held  federal reform  i n f l u e n t i a l r o l e at  considerable  sway  p r o v i n c i a l premiers, e s p e c i a l l y i n B.C.  West, were more than w i l l i n g  f e d e r a l government over the f u t u r e of the In 1978  Canadians  viewed  them w i t h more power at home and  provinces  views of  t o wage war  over  and  the  with  the  federation.  the Trudeau government e l a b o r a t e d on i t s v i s i o n of the  system  by  existing  document, t i t l e d  producing  Bill  constitutional A  Time  C-60,  legislation  arrangements.  for Action:  The  Toward the  which  would  accompanying  Renewal  of  the  Canadian F e d e r a t i o n ,  s u b s c r i b e d t o the l o n g - h e l d f e d e r a l view t h a t  Canada  i s more than  as  a  nation  document s t a t e d t h a t each province its  own  "political  the  sum  should  development."  26  But  of  i t s regions.  The  be allowed t o determine it  also  argued  that  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l renewal " r e q u i r e s f i r s t of a l l t h a t we become aware  A Time For A c t i o n : Toward the F e d e r a t i o n (Government of Canada, 1978) 2 6  Renewal p.11  of  the  Canadian  41 of the v a l u e s which we need t o share, r e g a r d l e s s of the community t o which we belong or the r e g i o n where we Significantly  for  BC,  A  Time  p r o v i n c e ' s c a l l f o r a reformed Senate. a new upper chamber — p r o v i d e an  live."  for  2 7  Action  endorsed  the  The document suggested t h a t  renamed the House of the F e d e r a t i o n —  could  " a u t h o r i t a t i v e e x p r e s s i o n of r e g i o n a l views."  States  the document: E s s e n t i a l f e a t u r e s of the new House would be the r e c o g n i t i o n of a r o l e f o r the p r o v i n c e s i n the s e l e c t i o n of i t s members, and p r o v i s i o n f o r p r o p o r t i o n a t e l y g r e a t e r r e p r e s e n t a t i o n t o the e a s t e r n and western p a r t s of the country, with s u b s t a n t i a l adjustment t o ensure adequate r e p r e s e n t a t i o n f o r western Canada which, u n t i l now, has not r e c e i v e d a share commensurate w i t h i t s growing importance. 28  T h i s new  Upper Chamber would c o n s i s t of 118 members ( h a l f of the  number would be appointed by the p r o v i n c i a l l e g i s l a t u r e s , w h i l e the f e d e r a l government would appoint the other h a l f ) . would have a suspensive  veto  over  The new  chamber  government l e g i s l a t i o n ,  along  w i t h powers t o a f f i r m the appointments of heads of f e d e r a l agencies and j u s t i c e s of the Supreme Court of Canada. linguistic  rights  as  far  as  the  two  I t would a l s o p r o t e c t  official  languages  were  concerned. Moreover,  Bill  C-60  would  provide  the  constitution  with  a  Statement of Aims, a C h a r t e r of Rights and Freedoms, and the r e distribution  of l e g i s l a t i v e  27 I b i d  p. 5  28 I b i d  p.23  powers.  Although  A Time f o r A c t i o n  42 acknowledges  the importance of p a t r i a t i n g the c o n s t i t u t i o n w i t h a  formal amending formula, i t d i d not i n c l u d e any s p e c i f i c s on this  could  be accomplished.  t h a t , w i t h B i l l C-60  Academics  such Donald  and i t s accompanying  Bill  C-60  as  representative  of  Smiley noted  p o l i t i c a l r h e t o r i c , the  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l process i n Canada had entered a new saw  how  two  era.  important  Smiley  changes  in  d i r e c t i o n : (1) a l e s s Quebec-focused process t h a t was expanding t o incorporate  the  newly  articulated  dissatisfactions  of  p r o v i n c e s , such as those i n the West; and (2) an emerging  other  consensus  t h a t f e d e r a l i n s t i t u t i o n s r e q u i r e d reform i n order t o g i v e r e g i o n a l and  provincial  interests  a  greater  voice  (in  the  1968-71  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l p e r i o d , the p r e v a i l i n g view was t h a t most p r o v i n c i a l g r i e v a n c e s (namely from Quebec) c o u l d be r e c t i f i e d by a l t e r i n g the d i v i s i o n of p o w e r s ) .  29  On the s u r f a c e at l e a s t , i t appeared the f e d e r a l government was  moving  Columbia,  closer  which  national level.  had  to  the  view  been c a l l i n g  of  provinces  f o r greater  such  as  influence  British at  the  Yet, Ottawa's v i s i o n of s t r e n g t h e n i n g the n a t i o n a l  community through c o n s t i t u t i o n a l reform endured, not o n l y through the  g r a n d i l o q u e n t l y p a t r i o t i c prose of A Time f o r A c t i o n but a l s o  through seemingly p r o v i n c i a l - f o c u s e d reforms such as the new House of  the F e d e r a t i o n . - The f e d e r a l p l a n f o r r e f o r m i n g the Senate  was  p u r p o r t e d l y an attempt t o appease p r o v i n c i a l concerns, but i t a l s o p r o v i d e d Ottawa w i t h the o p p o r t u n i t y t o counter a s s e r t i o n s  from  S e e Donald V. Smiley.Canada i n Question: F e d e r a l i s m i n the E i g h t i e s 3rd E d i t i o n (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson L t d . , 1980), pp.79-84 2 9  43 p r o v i n c i a l governments — the  chief  p a r t i c u l a r l y i n BC  r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s of  regional  —  entities.  F e d e r a t i o n , a f t e r a l l , would e s t a b l i s h a new could  legitimately  compete w i t h  provincial  coveted r o l e of r e g i o n a l agent w i t h i n an  astute  assessment of  the  as  the  British  federal  Columbia  House of  governments  the that  for  Alan Cairns,  Trudeau government's  i n t r a s t a t e views of the  sources  A  p o l i t i c a l body  federation.  agenda, argues t h a t the f e d e r a l i s t v i s i o n was t o the  t h a t they were  d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposed  order emanating from such  government.  Bill  Although A Time f o r A c t i o n  "strong p r o v i n c i a l i d e n t i t i e s , " the o v e r - r i d i n g s t r e s s the wide-ranging d i v e r s i t i e s w i t h i n undermine the  c l a i m s of premiers t h a t  in  constitutional  C-60  was.  t h e r e f o r e an attempt t o s e n s i t i z e Ottawa t o r e g i o n a l i s s u e s but t o p r o v i n c i a l governments.  the  not  refers  f e d e r a l aim was  to to  p r o v i n c e s i n order t o  they spoke f o r homogeneous  regions. . . . [ E ] a s i l y d i s c e r n e d although nowhere g i v e n comprehensive e x p r e s s i o n , was the d e s i r e t o keep p r o v i n c i a l governments i n t h e i r p l a c e , c r e a t e new spokesmen f o r p r o v i n c i a l i n t e r e s t s , and undermine the a b i l i t y of p r o v i n c i a l governments t o s t r a y from t h e i r proper r o l e as spokesmen on p r o v i n c i a l matters t o spokesmen on f e d e r a l m a t t e r s . 30  Keeping the p r o v i n c i a l governments i n t h e i r p l a c e was a  growing  itself  preoccupation  of  the  federal  no doubt  government, which  under heavy a t t a c k from Western premiers who  were  found  joining  t o g e t h e r t o express t h e i r antagonism t o a c e n t r a l government t h a t was  not only f o r m u l a t i n g a c o n s t i t u t i o n a l v i s i o n t h a t r a n k l e d t h e i r  A l a n C. C a i r n s , "Recent F e d e r a l i s t C o n s t i t u t i o n a l P r o p o s a l s : A Review Essay" i n Canadian P u b l i c P o l i c y , v. 3, Summer 1979, p.357 3 0  44 more t r a d i t i o n a l views of governing R i g h t s ) , but was  ( s p e c i f i c a l l y the C h a r t e r of  a l s o i d e o l o g i c a l l y f a r t o the l e f t of the mainly  c o n s e r v a t i v e premiers i n BC, A l b e r t a and  Manitoba.  While the West's prosperous economies p l a y e d an important r o l e in  this  increasing  Canadian  political  a s s e r t i v e n e s s , i t was scene  during  the  1970s  also  true  was  that  adding  to  premiers' heightened p u b l i c p r o f i l e as r e g i o n a l spokesmen. virtually  no  r e p r e s e n t a t i o n from  the  West  through  most  decade, the L i b e r a l government of P i e r r e Trudeau was i n c a p a b l e of c o u n t e r i n g the widespread out of touch w i t h Western concerns.  of  the the With the  politically  p e r c e p t i o n t h a t they were  T h e r e f o r e , the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l  process and i t s almost t o t a l r e l i a n c e on e x e c u t i v e f e d e r a l i s m became one their  of the few arenas where aggrieved Westerners,  premiers,  could e f f e c t i v e l y  enunciate t h e i r  through  opposition to  Trudeau's brand of l i b e r a l i s m . This  opposition  was  no  more  apparent  than  with  the  e s t a b l i s h m e n t of the Western Premiers' Task Force on C o n s t i t u t i o n a l Trends,  which was  set up  i n 1976  and  became a v e h i c l e  espousal of Western d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n  with  federal  p r o v i n c i a l a f f a i r s f o r the remainder  of the d e c a d e .  f o r the  intrusion 31  into  The t h r e e  I n i t s f i r s t r e p o r t , i s s u e d i n May 1977, the Task Force i d e n t i f i e d e i g h t areas i n which f e d e r a l i n t r u s i o n was a concern: 1. Consumer and Corporate A f f a i r s ; 2. Resources; 3. Housing and Urban Development; 4. Economic Development; 5. Communications; 6. Immigration; 7. A d m i n i s t r a t i o n of J u s t i c e ; 8. I n t e r v e n t i o n s by f e d e r a l government through the Supreme Court of Canada. With i t s next r e p o r t , i n 1978, the Task Force added the f o l l o w i n g t o i t s l i s t : F e d e r a l T r a n s p o r t a t i o n of Dangerous Goods A c t , the F i s h e r i e s A c t , Abandoned R a i l Rights of Way, and v i d e o games, among o t h e r s . 3 1  45 annual  r e p o r t s i s s u e d by  the  Task Force  emphasize the  need f o r  g r e a t e r f e d e r a l c o n s u l t a t i o n r e g a r d i n g l e g i s l a t i o n t h a t impacts provinces,  and  t h e r e was  the  much d i s c u s s i o n about a mechanism t h a t  would a l l o w t h i s t o occur. B r i t i s h Columbia played a c r i t i c a l r o l e i n the Task Force BC p r o v i n c i a l c a b i n e t m i n i s t e r , Rafe Mair, c h a i r e d the group). the t h i r d r e p o r t , i s s u e d i n March 1979, able  t o equal  prose. and  their  federal  in  the  West"  counterparts  as  an  establishment of the Task F o r c e .  i n the  important And  3 2  By  the Western premiers were  The r e p o r t noted "the emergence of a new  destiny  (a  use  of  flowery  sense of i d e n t i t y  impetus  behind  the  i t p r o c l a i m s t h a t the  problems i n h e r e n t w i t h i n the Canadian f e d e r a l system can no l o n g e r be cured by simple f i x i n g but i n s t e a d r e q u i r e major i n s t i t u t i o n a l reform. The Task Force proposed t h r e e approaches t o e a s i n g the f r i c t i o n behind f e d e r a l - p r o v i n c i a l r e l a t i o n s : (1) the f o r m a l i z a t i o n of  First  Ministers'  participation  in  constitutional  Conferences;  the  federal  amendments  responsibilities.  All  (2)  increased  law-making  process;  strengthening  three  approaches  provincial  some would  and  (3)  provincial collectively  r e p r e s e n t a massive r e s t r u c t u r i n g the p o l i t i c a l p r o c e s s , w i t h  the  role  the  of  the  federal  government  subjugated  to  the  role  of  regions/provinces. Again, B r i t i s h Columbia was  l e a d i n g the way  i n i t s advocacy of  i n s t i t u t i o n a l reform by s t r o n g l y supporting a new  Upper Chamber  —  one t h a t would g i v e p r o v i n c i a l governments d i r e c t i n f l u e n c e w i t h i n 3 2  T h i r d Report,  p.9  46 the f e d e r a l l e g i s l a t i v e p r o c e s s .  In the 1979  Task Force r e p o r t ,  the BC government expands on i t s view t h a t a reformed Senate  "has  the p o t e n t i a l t o promote n a t i o n a l u n i t y t o an unprecedented degree."  The p r o v i n c e ' s p r o p o s a l would see an e x e c u t i v e c o u n c i l  33  e s t a b l i s h e d w i t h i n the new Senate, whose members would be d i r e c t l y appointed by the p r o v i n c i a l governments. would  be  provided with  an  absolute veto  " c r u c i a l i n t e r e s t " t o the p r o v i n c e s . The  BC  government had  The reformed i n s t i t u t i o n  raised  representation  government, a new intrinsic  from  a l l matters  of  3 4  Senate  component of any c o n s t i t u t i o n a l renewal. existent  over  the  reform i n t o  a  leading  With almost non-  West  within  the  federal  Upper Chamber o f f e r e d a h o p e f u l s o l u t i o n .  appeal of such a p r o p o s a l t o the Western  The  p r o v i n c e s was  t h a t i t would o f f e r them e n t r y i n t o a p o l i t i c a l process dominated by c e n t r a l C a n a d i a n s .  35  I t c o u l d a l s o be  t o the d i s c o n c e r t i n g symbolism  i t is difficult  forms of  in  the  constitutional tactical — region  as  sand  t o say whether the o v e r a l l  regarding  renewal  or  the  whether  West's i t was  was  decentralization. intent  t h r e e r e p o r t s of the Western Premiers' Task Force was line  alternative  of a "balkanized" Canada t h a t  being a s s o c i a t e d w i t h t r a d i t i o n a l Still,  seen as an  of the  t o draw a  participation even  more  in  shrewdly  an attempt t o strengthen the b a r g a i n i n g p o s i t i o n of the i t prepared  f o r negotiations  3 3  Ibid.,  p.53  3 4  Ibid.,  p.52  3 5  S e e Smiley and Watts, p. 13  with  both  the  federal  47 government and i t s p r o v i n c i a l c o u n t e r p a r t s i n c e n t r a l Canada.  What  i s c e r t a i n i s t h a t the West's c o n s t i t u t i o n a l v i s i o n , as s p e l l e d out i n t h e t h r e e Task Force r e p o r t s , was s h a r p l y d i f f e r e n t from the vision  promulgated  Columbia,  in  by  Ottawa  particular,  substantial institutional  in A  had  Time  again  for Action.  stressed  the  British need  for  reform.  The p r o v i n c e had e l a b o r a t e d on the foundation of t h i s demand i n a 1978 as  s e t of p r o p o s a l s , which would again pursue the view of BC  a vital  economic r e g i o n of Canada t h a t had now outgrown the  p o l i t i c a l s h o r t pants g i v e n t o i t by the F a t h e r s of C o n f e d e r a t i o n a century  BC's  1978  earlier.  Constitutional  Proposals  Although B r i t i s h Columbia had j o i n e d i t s Western p r o v i n c e s i n a c o l l e c t i v e a t t a c k on the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l s t a t u s quo through  such  e n t e r p r i s e s as the Task Force on C o n s t i t u t i o n a l Trends, i t was not prepared t o disavow i t s c l a i m t o regionhood.  The  1978  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l proposals from the p r o v i n c i a l government e l a b o r a t e d on such a c l a i m , e x p l o r e d i t s h i s t o r i c a l b a s i s , and noted t h a t as "one moves t o the more s p e c i f i c and o p e r a t i o n a l p o l i c y l e v e l s the dichotomy between the p r a i r i e west and the p a c i f i c west becomes more and more The  apparent."  36  p r o p o s a l s note t h a t unique g e o g r a p h i c a l f e a t u r e s — i t s  mountains and i t s rugged c o a s t l i n e —  contributed i n a s i g n i f i c a n t  Province of B.C. British Columbia's Constitutional P r o p o s a l s ; Presented t o the F i r s t M i n i s t e r s ' Conference on t h e C o n s t i t u t i o n (October 1978), p. 19 3 6  48 way  to  the  province's  geography and u n l i k e any  resource-based  economy.  And  that  economics have combined t o produce a r e g i o n t h a t i s  other  i n Canada.  The  the  erstwhile  Bennett.  The  d i f f e r e n c e i s t h a t w h i l e Bennett s e n i o r was  the  o u t s i d e BC's certainty  image  of  borders, of  call  l i n e a g e of t h i s r h e t o r i c i s  obviously  preferred  f o r a f i v e - r e g i o n Canada by W.A.C.  someone b l i t h e l y  now  renewal,  suggesting  the  who  world  virtual  presiding  a  the e x i s t i n g c o n s t i t u t i o n was  an  and t h a t i t was  preventing  the  from p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the a f f a i r s of the f e d e r a t i o n i n a  commensurate w i t h i t s growing economic s t a t u s .  could  be  broadly  rhetorical  angst  government.  drawn  between  exhibited  Both provinces  by  grievances  in history —  bonds  of  either  quasicolonialism.  And  BC's  1978  Some p a r a l l e l s  proposals  nationalists  in  and  the  the  Quebec  complained t h a t they were being  back by a f e d e r a l i s t s t r a i t j a c k e t .  the  was  of  one  over  unworkable product of a bygone age,  way  ignorant  Bennett j u n i o r , f a c i n g the  constitutional  government t h a t was  province  both  held  And both p r o v i n c e s draped t h e i r  both were f i g h t i n g t o f r e e themselves from colonialism  or,  in  the  case  of  BC,  w h i l e Quebec measured i t s d i s t i n c t n e s s by  language and c u l t u r e , BC measured i t s d i s t i n c t n e s s by geography and  economics.  Quebec,  a  Such p a r a l l e l s can only go so f a r , of course. new  constitutional  regime  meant  In  exclusion  ( d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n ) ; i n BC i t meant i n c l u s i o n ( i n s t i t u t i o n a l reform t o promote r e g i o n a l i n f l u e n c e at the c e n t r e ) . d e f i n e d a new region,  and  arrangement as one as  something t h a t  The  t h a t recognized  would allow  i t to  BC  government  i t s s t a t u s as represent  a  this  49 d i s t i n c t r e g i o n i n Ottawa. In summary B r i t i s h Columbia i s c l e a r l y one of Canada's major d i s t i n c t r e g i o n s . . . I t i s only through f u l l and d i r e c t r e p r e s e n t a t i o n on f e d e r a l i n s t i t u t i o n s t h a t the n a t u r a l b a r r i e r s t o i n t e g r a t i o n of B r i t i s h Columbia i n t o the n a t i o n a l mosaic can be o f f s e t . 3 7  The 1978  proposals produced by the B r i t i s h Columbia government  d i s c u s s the f o l l o w i n g : the reform of the Supreme Court of Canada; an  improved process f o r f e d e r a l - p r o v i n c i a l r e l a t i o n s ; a b i l l  rights;  language r i g h t s ; the d i s t r i b u t i o n of powers; an  of  amending  formula.  The f o l l o w i n g w i l l summarize the most s i g n i f i c a n t aspects  of these  proposals.  In  keeping  with  W.A.C. Bennett's  for  a  five-region  concept of Canada, the  proposals  chamber as the best way  t o reduce r e g i o n a l cleavages and c r e a t e a  workable  federation  provinces. a  rubber  stamp  cognizant  of  the  needs  upper  of  for  the  House  t o represent  of  Commons betrays  all  its  original  r e g i o n a l i n t e r e s t s at the  national  I t notes t h a t there are two ways t o s o l v e the problem:  increased  decentralization;  institutions centre.  is  around a reformed  The paper d e c l a r e s t h a t the e x i s t i n g Senate's r o l e as  i n t e n t , which was level.  that  centre  call  to  provide  for  or a  (2)  major  greater  reforms  of  provincial voice  (1)  federal at  the  The paper s t a t e s t h a t the l a t t e r o p t i o n i s a more p r e s s i n g  matter, and  places  the  second chamber at the top of i t s p r i o r i t y  l i s t , e x p l a i n i n g t h a t " i t i s i n c r e a t i v e and f a r - r e a c h i n g reform of the Senate t h a t our main hope f o r b e t t e r decision-making i n the  Ibid.,  p.19  50 country  lies."  3 8  In 1969, as mentioned e a r l i e r i n t h i s t h e s i s , W.A.C. Bennett stunned  h i s p r o v i n c i a l c o u n t e r p a r t s by u n v e i l i n g a r e v i s e d map of  Canada w i t h t h e country d i v i d e d i n t o f i v e p o l i t i c a l r e g i o n s , and with  an e n l a r g e d BC as one of the f i v e .  modified  this  earlier  concept  In 1978, B i l l  by repackaging  Bennett  i t and making i t  s l i g h t l y more p a l a t a b l e i n t h e eyes of the prime m i n i s t e r and h i s f e l l o w premiers.  Instead of proposing a reformed Canada w i t h f i v e  dramatically realigned jurisdictions,  the younger Bennett  called  f o r a reformed Senate i n which seats were d i s t r i b u t e d i n accordance w i t h t h e f i v e - r e g i o n concept of Canada. . . . B r i t i s h Columbia i s of the view t h a t t h e o r i g i n a l Canadian approach updated i n 1915 — namely t h a t o f equal regional representation — i s s t i l l the best, provided t h a t i t i s f u r t h e r updated and a d j u s t e d t o r e c o g n i z e the f a c t t h a t Canada i s now a country composed o f f i v e d i s t i n c t r e g i o n s — A t l a n t i c , Quebec, O n t a r i o , P r a i r i e , a n d the P a c i f i c . 3 9  Although  the province  reform of the Senate,  was c a l l i n g  f o r major  institutional  t h i s reform d i d not go so f a r as t o r e p l a c e  the c u r r e n t a n a c h r o n i s t i c appointment process w i t h a process on popular e l e c t i o n .  based  Instead, the BC government hoped t o change  how appointments were made t o t h e Senate i n order t o strengthen i t s i n f l u e n c e w i t h i n the i n s t i t u t i o n general.  Under  the  r a t h e r than  province's  of i t s c i t i z e n s i n  proposals,  each  provincial  government would appoint one member from t h e p r o v i n c i a l c a b i n e t t o  J 8  I b i d . , pp. 28-29  3 9  I b i d . , pp. 34-35  51 act  as  the  senators  province's  would  be  governments from the pleasure the  senator  appointed p u b l i c at  by  in  the  l a r g e , and  Ottawa.  All  respective  other  provincial  they would s i t a t  the  of the premier; t h e i r tenure would correspond t o t h a t of  provincial  government.  proposals,  rejected  because  the  likely  leading  of  the  The  BC  concept  of  possibility  that  government,  in  its  directly-elected  national-party  1978  senators  loyalties  would  "dominate other i n t e r e s t s i n an e l e c t e d second chamber  and  thus undermine i t s e s s e n t i a l r o l e as the p r o t e c t o r of r e g i o n a l interests."  4 0  One  must assume t h a t the BC government b e l i e v e s i t  would not be e q u a l l y d i s r u p t i v e t o have p r o v i n c i a l - p a r t y l o y a l t i e s enmeshed w i t h i n the n a t i o n a l p o l i t i c a l s t r u c t u r e ; and one must a l s o assume t h a t the BC government b e l i e v e s the i n t e r e s t s of p r o v i n c i a l governments, be  they p a r t i c u l a r or general  representative populations The  BC  of the  i n t e r e s t s of  their  i n nature, are  always  r e g i o n a l or p r o v i n c i a l  as f a r as n a t i o n a l i s s u e s and p o l i c i e s are concerned. government's proposals  also called  upper chamber's j u r i s d i c t i o n i n order  f o r reform of  t o provide  the  the  institution  w i t h the c a p a b i l i t y t o i n f l u e n c e or c o n t r o l l e g i s l a t i o n of concern t o p r o v i n c i a l governments.  In i t s 1978  l i s t of p r o p o s a l s ,  British  Columbia proposed t h a t a r e s t r u c t u r e d Senate h o l d an a b s o l u t e in  a number of areas of p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r e s t t o the  veto  provinces  —  areas t h a t h e l d a " s i g n i f i c a n t , as opposed t o i n c i d e n t a l , impact on the  provinces  or  regions  4 0  I b i d . , p.  35  4 1  I b i d . , p.  38  of  the  country."  4 1  These  included:  52 appointments t o the Supreme Court of Canada; appointments t o major f e d e r a l agencies and commissions; amendments t o the c o n s t i t u t i o n i n areas  c u r r e n t l y under  federal  jurisdiction,  and  including a l l  amendments i n v o l v i n g reforms t o n a t i o n a l i n s t i t u t i o n s ; the use of p a r l i a m e n t ' s d e c l a r a t o r y power; and the f e d e r a l spending of p r o v i n c i a l  i n areas  jurisdiction.  In a d d i t i o n , BC's reformed Senate would h o l d a suspensive v e t o i n a l l other areas not s p e c i f i c a l l y granted a b s o l u t e - v e t o s t a t u s . The d e f e a t of government l e g i s l a t i o n , e i t h e r through the e x e r c i s e of  the  absolute  status  of  the  veto  or  governing  suspensive party,  veto,  as  the  would  not  affect  "government  would  the be  r e s p o n s i b l e s o l e l y t o the House of Commons."  42  The  Impact of BC's  Reformed Senate on the F e d e r a t i o n  B r i t i s h Columbia's plans f o r reforming the Senate, the most significant  and  f a r - r e a c h i n g of  marked a major t r a n s f o r m a t i o n  i t s 1978  i n the  proposals,  federal  would  system.  have  With  the  Senate's seats d i s t r i b u t e d e q u a l l y among the f i v e r e g i o n s , BC would c e r t a i n l y see i t s i n f l u e n c e w i t h i n the f e d e r a t i o n i n c r e a s e d . newly-realized  veto  power  over  federal  legislation  would  e f f e c t i v e l y combat the o l d p e r c e p t i o n s of a p r o v i n c e i g n o r e d . an upper chamber r e - d e f i n e d along the l i n e s of BC's federal  government  would  have  had  no  alternative  Its  With  p r o p o s a l , the but  to  seek  feedback from V i c t o r i a whenever p a r t i c u l a r l y s e n s i t i v e l e g i s l a t i o n was  contemplated. 4 2  I b i d . , p.  In essence, power and i n f l u e n c e would g r a v i t a t e 41  53 to  t h e r e g i o n s , and t h i s would r e q u i r e Ottawa t o be much aware of  r e g i o n a l s e n s i t i v i t i e s when i t came t o s e t t i n g the n a t i o n a l agenda. But was such a p r o p o s a l v i a b l e ? I t i s c e r t a i n t h a t reform of such  magnitude,  especially  i n post-1982  e x c e e d i n g l y d i f f i c u l t t a s k t o accomplish.  Canada,  would  be an  For example, would t h e  o t h e r p r o v i n c e s accept B.C. as a f i f t h r e g i o n and p r o v i d e i t w i t h the p r i v i l e g e —  and power —  of a Senate v e t o .  The c o n s t i t u t i o n a l  r h e t o r i c e v i d e n t i n the years 1969 t o 1981 suggests would not.  s t r o n g l y they  Indeed, the f i r s t m i n i s t e r s of 1969 seemed as u n w i l l i n g  t o c o n s i d e r BC's r e g i o n a l a s p i r a t i o n s as t h e i r s u c c e s s o r s i n 1981. The  relatively  sudden emergence of these  a s p i r a t i o n s l i k e l y had  something t o do with t h i s c o l l e c t i v e c o l d shoulder.  But probably  more important than t h i s l a c k of an h i s t o r i c a l argument i n support of  r e g i o n a l s t a t u s was the f a c t t h a t such a concept,  was  swimming  chauvinism was  against  apparent  already  the t i d e  of  provincial  i n 1980-81,  equality.  The  i n p r o v i d i n g some p r o v i n c e s w i t h v e t o powers  losing  favour  p r o v i n c e s such as A l b e r t a —  i n constitutional  negotiations  as  which, arguably, played a much more  i n f l u e n t i a l r o l e i n f e d e r a l - p r o v i n c i a l r e l a t i o n s d u r i n g t h e 1970s and  '80s g i v e n both i t economic power and the f o r c e f u l presence of'  its  premier,  which  Peter  Lougheed —  a l l provinces  pressed  f o r a federal  were c o n s t i t u t i o n a l l y  equal.  system i n  BC's g o a l o f  reforming the Senate so t h a t i t would be able t o j o i n O n t a r i o and Quebec atop the f e d e r a t i o n ' s h i e r a r c h y was a misconceived from the p e r s p e c t i v e of other p r o v i n c e s , which found t h i s irksome,  intolerable  and unacceptable.  Eventually,  proposal elitism  the o t h e r  54 p r o v i n c e s may come t o accept BC as a d i s t i n c t  r e g i o n , but such  acceptance w i l l l i k e l y come without any concomitant powers w i t h i n the f e d e r a t i o n . In a r e v e a l i n g address d i r e c t e d a t Quebeckers i n 1981 (before that  year's  constitutional  negotiations),  Bill  Bennett  made  a  c o n s c i o u s e f f o r t t o a l i g n the two p r o v i n c e s i n body and s o u l , d e c l a r i n g t h a t they were s i m i l a r l y d i s a f f e c t e d members o f a Canadian  state  which  had f a i l e d  t o recognize t h e i r  respective  d i s t i n c t n e s s , and had thus i m p e r i l e d t h e i r a s p i r a t i o n s . of Quebec and BC as "kindred s p i r i t s " and noted t h a t Columbia  was  federation.  4 3  committed  to  a  "wholesale  He spoke  British  renewal"  of  the  Evoking a p a s s i o n vaguely r e m i n i s c e n t of a Quebec  n a t i o n a l i s t , Bennett argued t h a t f e d e r a l p o l i c i e s had t o o o f t e n i n the past n e g l e c t e d t o take BC i n t o account: My p r o v i n c e i s d i s t i n c t i n i t s h i s t o r y , i n i t s peoples, i n i t s economic t h r u s t , and p a r t l y d i s t i n c t i n i t s c u l t u r e , from other r e g i o n s of Canada. I t i s even d i s t i n c t from t h e r e s t of Western Canada...The f a c t i s t h a t n a t u r a l forces...have made B r i t i s h Columbia remote from c e n t r a l decision-making i n t h i s c o u n t r y . U n f o r t u n a t e l y we have been kept remote by a C o n s t i t u t i o n t h a t does not g i v e my p r o v i n c e adequate r e p r e s e n t a t i o n i n n a t i o n a l i n s t i t u t i o n s such as the Senate o f Canada, t h e Supreme Court of Canada and major f e d e r a l boards and commissions. 44  The message t o Quebec was one of s o l i d a r i t y .  The message t o  Ottawa was t h a t BC shared w i t h Quebec an unhappiness w i t h s t a t u s William R. Bennett, "Canada: A British Columbia P e r s p e c t i v e , " i n M i r a c l e s o f S u r v i v a l : Canada and French Canada, Waris Shere, ed. (Smithtown, NY: E x p o s i t i o n P r e s s , 1981) pp. 31, 33 4 3  4 4  I b i d . , p.30  55 quo  f e d e r a l i s m , and t h a t any  f u t u r e n e g o t i a t i o n s toward a renewed  c o n s t i t u t i o n must r e f l e c t t h i s r e a l i t y . a r e c o g n i t i o n of regionhood had c o n s t i t u t i o n a l p o s i t i o n , and  I n s t i t u t i o n a l reform  become the  cornerstones  of  and BC's  t h i s p o s i t i o n would r e c e i v e a boost  w i t h the f i n d i n g s of the Task Force on Canadian U n i t y .  The  Task Force on Canadian U n i t y  (1977-1979)  Set up soon a f t e r the s e p a r a t i s t v i c t o r y i n the 1976 election,  the  spent  two  years  hopes  of  discovering  diversity  federally-appointed  but  examining  remain  the  ways  Force  country's  in  united.  Task  which I t s goal  on  Canadian  political  i t could was  to  Quebec Unity  cleavages  acknowledge strike  a  it  helped  to  viscerally  against  association general.  shed more l i g h t  in  the  Parti  particular  on  why  provinces  Quebecois' concept and,  perhaps,  In the  like of  cultural  BC  its  balance  between c u l t u r a l d u a l i t y and r e g i o n a l i s m while not embracing, not denying, some form of pan-Canadian n a t i o n a l i s m .  in  but  process reacted  sovereigntyduality  in  S t a t e s the t a s k f o r c e :  In a d d i t i o n t o p a s s i n g u l t i m a t e l y beyond d u a l i t y , s o v e r e i g n t y - a s s o c i a t i o n does something e l s e : i t c h a l l e n g e s r e g i o n a l i s m — or seems t o . What p e q u i s t e s have i n mind, so f a r as one can t e l l , i s some k i n d of one-to-one a s s o c i a t i o n between Quebec and the r e s t of Canada...But what i s the "other" t o which Quebec would r e l a t e ? . . . [ T ] h e l o g i c of the s o v e r e i g n t y - a s s o c i a t i o n  o p t i o n presses hard on r e g i o n a l i s m t o deny i t s e l f f o r the sake of a d u a l i t y which i s l i t t l e more than the Cheshire  56 cat's smile. Certainly  t h i s assumption —  p r o v i n c i a l premiers was duality —  that  the  rise  of  r e g i o n a l i s m among  a d i r e c t response t o the i s s u e of c u l t u r a l  had dominated the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l debate up t o the  1970s.  Undoubtedly, p r o v i n c e s such as BC had  an i n t e r e s t i n e n s u r i n g  the  debate were expanded beyond  parameters of the  the q u e s t i o n of two single state.  One  constitutional  n a t i o n s warring w i t h i n c o u l d argue t h a t the  the bosom of  to  refute  the  assumption  a  recently-formulated  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l p o s i t i o n of the BC government was designed  that  of  at l e a s t p a r t i a l l y  Quebec  nationalists  as  f o s t e r e d by the i s s u e of c u l t u r a l - d u a l i t y : t h a t the Rest of Canada was  a homogeneous e n t i t y as f a r as economics, h i s t o r y and  political  c u l t u r e were concerned. The the  Task Force on Canadian U n i t y was  aspirations  of  BC,  including  somewhat sympathetic t o  its call  for  regionhood,  its  demand f o r r a d i c a l change, and i t s more s p e c i f i c demand f o r g r e a t e r regional  influence  f o r c e was  l a r g e l y sympathetic t o the n o t i o n t h a t Macdonald's v i s i o n  of f e d e r a l i s m  was  within  the  central  government.  outdated and i n need of reform.  r e p o r t c a l l e d f o r the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l r e c o g n i t i o n as  equal  " i n stature  and  maturity"  to  the  And  the  task  The Task Force's of the  federal  provinces  government.  46  I t c a l l e d f o r a d e v o l u t i o n of powers t o the p r o v i n c i a l governments and  favoured  a  full  enumeration  of  those  powers  within  A Future Together: Observations and Recommendations Force on Canadian U n i t y , January 1979),p.32 45  4 6  Ibid.,  p.86  the (Task  57 constitution.  I t favoured  r e p r e s e n t a t i o n w i t h i n the  electoral  reform  t o improve  House of Commons.  expanded Supreme Court of Canada i n order  And  i t proposed  t o handle an  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l workload as w e l l as the d u a l i s t i c and demands f o r r e p r e s e n t a t i o n . Force advocated a new  Most  importantly  regional  increased  regionalistic  f o r BC,  the  Task  second chamber t h a t would p r o v i d e p r o v i n c i a l  governments with s i g n i f i c a n t new powers at the n a t i o n a l l e v e l . proposed C o u n c i l  an  of the  Federation  The  would c o n s i s t of " p r o v i n c i a l  d e l e g a t i o n s t o whom p r o v i n c i a l governments c o u l d i s s u e instructions, ministerial  each rank  a c c e p t i n g BC's  delegation or  on  being  occasion  by  headed the  by  a  premier."  person 47  of  While  demand f o r a reformed Senate, the Task Force d i d not  go so f a r as t o provide the p r o v i n c e with a f i v e - r e g i o n formula f o r representation  i n the new  body, but  i t nonetheless re-worked  formula so t h a t BC' s p r o p o r t i o n of seats would r i s e (from about f i v e percent  t o 13  the  significantly  percent).  In terms of an amending formula, the Task Force l e a v e s t h a t up t o the House of Commons and resolve  amicably,  ratification.  with  a  Unfortunately  the new  C o u n c i l of the F e d e r a t i o n  r e q u i s i t e Canada-wide  referendum  of O n t a r i o ,  for  f o r BC, the Task Force favours a f o u r -  r e g i o n approach t o r a t i f i c a t i o n - b y - r e f e r e n d u m , with regions  to  Quebec, the  Atlantic  and  the  the West r e q u i r i n g  r e s p e c t i v e m a j o r i t i e s before the amending formula would pass i n a referendum. a new  Task f o r c e members concluded t h a t the i n t r o d u c t i o n of  r e g i o n t o the formula was 4 7  Ibid.,  p.97  p o s s i b l e , but such a r e g i o n would  58 r e q u i r e a t l e a s t 25 percent The  report,  entirely.  of the Canadian  however, d i d  not  close  population.  the  door on  regionhood  In an e a r l i e r a n a l y s i s of the n a t i o n a l - u n i t y c r i s i s ,  the  Task Force p o i n t e d out t h a t Canada c o u l d , t h e o r e t i c a l l y at l e a s t , be d i v i d e d i n t o four or f i v e regions p o s s i b l y , be considered  and  suggested t h a t BC  a r e g i o n onto i t s e l f .  4 8  could,  While t h i s might  have been only a r h e t o r i c a l g e n u f l e c t i o n t o the BC  government,  the Task Force uses much stronger language i n order t o a s s e r t t h a t it  b e l i e v e s with equal f e r v o u r  i n the  causes of r e g i o n a l i s m  and  cultural duality: . . . [ J ] u s t as we contend t h a t , f o r a complex v a r i e t y of reasons, d u a l i t y must today be approached p r i m a r i l y (although not e x c l u s i v e l y ) through the medium of Quebec's r e l a t i o n s with the r e s t of Canada, we a l s o b e l i e v e t h a t r e g i o n a l i s m i n Canadian l i f e i s expressed p r i m a r i l y (although, again, not e x c l u s i v e l y ) w i t h i n the framework of the p r o v i n c e s , and we regard the p r o v i n c i a l and t e r r i t o r i a l governments as c r i t i c a l agents i n a r t i c u l a t i n g the concerns and a s p i r a t i o n s of these r e g i o n a l communities. 49  Observers of the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l debate, i n responding t o  the  f e d e r a l v i s i o n as espoused by the Task Force, were q u i c k t o p o i n t out t h a t the proposals devolution  of powers.  highly-critical  would r e s u l t i n a massive, c e n t r i f u g a l J . Stefan  assessment  of  the  Dupre and  Paul  Task Force's  noted t h a t an i n c r e a s i n g l y aggressive West was  now  C.  Weiler,  in a  recommendations, emulating Quebec  i n i t s d e s i r e t o achieve w i t h i n the f e d e r a t i o n a r e c o g n i t i o n of i t s d i s t i n c t needs and d e s i r e s , and agreed t h a t d i v e r g e n t demands were 4 8  I b i d . , p.  4 9  Ibid.,  26  p.27  59 creating a p o l i t i c a l l y volatile legislative was  situation.  They maintained  that  change, not "ambitious c o n s t i t u t i o n a l r e s t r u c t u r i n g , "  t h e most f e a s i b l e route t o a more harmonious s i t u a t i o n .  authors b e l i e v e d t h a t wholesale c o n s t i t u t i o n a l reform would  5 0  The  spell  the end of what had been a reasonably s u c c e s s f u l experiment i n federalism. A l a n C a i r n s notes t h a t the federally-commissioned  Task Force's  r e p o r t expresses l i t t l e i n t h e way of a s u b s t a n t i v e v i s i o n o f t h e n a t i o n a l community as p o r t r a y e d  inBill  C-60.  the Task Force's b a s i c c o n s t i t u t i o n a l philosophy  He concludes t h a t i s a new v e r s i o n  of t h e Compact Theory, i n which Ottawa's r o l e w i t h i n the f e d e r a t i o n i s c l e a r l y subordinate t o t h e r o l e of the p r o v i n c e s .  Thus, a  Trudeauesque form of f e d e r a l i s m i s overarched by aims designed t o address p r o v i n c i a l and r e g i o n a l a s p i r a t i o n s and s e n s i t i v i t i e s : The o v e r r i d i n g s t r e s s on what d i v i d e s us, on why we have p r o v i n c e s , and on t h e small worlds i n which we l i v e , undermines the c r e d i b i l i t y of the o c c a s i o n a l r e f e r e n c e t o common i n t e r e s t , common purpose, and common w i l l (p.17) and thus p r o v i d e s l i t t l e s o c i o l o g i c a l o r p s y c h o l o g i c a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r a s t r o n g , autonomous c e n t r a l government role. 5 1  The  Task  illustrated  Force  on  Canadian  Unity's  expansive  how d r a m a t i c a l l y t h e pendulum had swung.  report  I f nothing  e l s e , i t would have c e r t a i n l y proved a boon t o p r o v i n c e s  such as  J . S t e f a n Dupre and Paul C. Weiler, "A Sense of P r o p o r t i o n and a Sense of P r i o r i t i e s : R e f l e c t i o n s on t h e Report of t h e Task Force on Canadian Unity," i n Canadian Bar Review ( V o l . LVII, 1979), pp. 462-463 5 0  "Recent Essay," p.359 51  Federalist  Constitutional  Proposals:  A  Review  60 British  Columbia,  which  saw  their  concerns  given c r e d i b i l i t y .  A f t e r a l l , a Task Force empowered by the f e d e r a l government t o seek solutions  t o the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l dilemma had recommended a reformed  upper chamber very s i m i l a r government  little  more  i n d e s i g n t o one advocated by the BC  than  two  years  earlier.  Certainly  a  consensus seemed t o be b u i l d i n g on the i s s u e of broad i n s t i t u t i o n a l reform among those i n t e r e s t e d Canadian f e d e r a l i s m .  i n a more r e g i o n a l i s t i c d e f i n i t i o n of  The l i n e had c l e a r l y been drawn between the  Trudeau v i s i o n of f e d e r a l i s m and a p r o v i n c i a l i s t v i s i o n trumpeted by  the  BC  government,  among  others.  The  tumultuous  federal-  p r o v i n c i a l n e g o t i a t i o n s of 1980 and 1981 would be the s e v e r e s t t e s t yet  f o r proponents of both v i s i o n s .  61  CHAPTER FOUR  THE ROAD TO THE 1981 CONSTITUTIONAL ACCORD  The Quebec Referendum Aftermath T h i s chapter w i l l recount  the u l t i m a t e f a i l u r e of BC's  quest  f o r regionhood d u r i n g the h i s t o r i c n e g o t i a t i o n s of 1980-81.  The  f o l l o w i n g q u e s t i o n w i l l be addressed i n t h i s chapter: What were the reasons  f o r the f a i l u r e  espoused  by  the BC  government  however, i t i s necessary this  historic  of the concept  of r e g i o n a l e q u a l i t y as  i n i t s 1978  t o encapsulate  negotiating  round:  the  proposals?  First,  the events t h a t  sparked  defeat  a s s o c i a t i o n i n the Quebec referendum of May Immediately  after  the  separatist  of  sovereignty-  1980. defeat,  the  federal  government and the provinces  i n the r e s t of Canada were seemingly  united  t o the p r i n c i p l e  i n their  renewal.  commitment  of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l  E x p l o r a t o r y d i s c u s s i o n s between both l e v e l s of government  got underway i n earnest almost as soon as the referendum was and  yet there  still  appeared  t o be  little  hope  that  over,  the deep  p h i l o s o p h i c a l chasm between the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l p o s i t i o n of Ottawa and  that  of most  of the p r o v i n c e s  could  be narrowed enough t o  a t t a i n s i g n i f i c a n t progress a t the b a r g a i n i n g t a b l e , e s p e c i a l l y on such  seemingly  intractable issues  as  an  amending  formula  Trudeau's p l a n f o r an entrenched c h a r t e r of r i g h t s . F i n d i n g a s o l u t i o n t o the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l i m b r o g l i o t h a t  and  62  s a t i s f i e d Quebec's needs was an undeniable c h a l l e n g e f o r the Trudeau government; but e q u a l l y d i f f i c u l t was the q u e s t i o n of s a t i s f y i n g the needs of the Western p r o v i n c e s , which was particularly  perplexing given  broad i n s t i t u t i o n a l reform.  British  Columbia's  insistence  on  C o l l e c t i v e l y , Quebec and the West were  c a l l i n g f o r a much more p r o v i n c i a l l y - b a s e d f e d e r a l i s m , and y e t both r e g i o n s s t r o v e t o achieve t h i s new f e d e r a l v i s i o n through q u i t e separate means; while Quebec's n a t i o n a l i s t s t r a d i t i o n a l l y asked f o r greater decentralization provincial  powers,  governments centre. the  BC was  provided  greater  t o see power  encroachment on  regional/provincial  and  influence at  the  Both concepts t o g e t h e r r e p r e s e n t e d a f e d e r a l i s m i n which  federal  concept  government was  i n a clearly  subordinate p o s i t i o n t o  Even t o c o n s i d e r the p l a u s i b i l i t y of each  i n i s o l a t i o n , or t o assume t h a t one would be  one  would  tantamount abandon  determined  with  those of the p r o v i n c e s .  and  and an end t o Ottawa's  fail  in  t o accepting  his vision  the  upcoming  the view  of a n a t i o n a l  that  accomplished  negotiations, Trudeau was  community  would  be  willing  to  i n order t o reach  a  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l agreement. That  both  levels  of  government  had  different  agendas  and  d i f f e r e n t c o n s t i t u t i o n a l v i s i o n s was f a s t becoming a c o r n e r s t o n e of modern  f e d e r a l i s m i n Canada. drama  Undoubtedly, both  unfolding  constitutional  as  visions —  and d i v e r g e n t i n t e r e s t s .  a conflict  s i d e s saw  between  the  divergent  To the v i c t o r went the s p o i l s ,  who gained not o n l y j u r i s d i c t i o n a l predominance w i t h i n the realm of c e r t a i n laws and r e g u l a t i o n s but a l s o a symbolic r i g h t t o a c t as  63 the  true  Neither  representative  of  a  regional  or  national  community.  s i d e , t h e r e f o r e , c o u l d r e a l i s t i c a l l y fathom a renewal of  the f e d e r a t i o n t h a t was  purportedly  i n the best i n t e r e s t s of  the  n a t i o n u n l e s s i t served t o weaken or destroy the opposing v i s i o n . As A l a n C a i r n s p o i n t s out, t h i s h i g h l y - c o m p e t i t i v e between the  f e d e r a l government and  the p r o v i n c e s  power s t r u g g l e has  l o n g been a  c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the f e d e r a t i o n ; the on-going c o n s t i t u t i o n a l c r i s i s has a m p l i f i e d such d i v i s i v e n e s s .  C a i r n s , i n an  evaluation  of Trudeau's c o n s t i t u t i o n a l p r o p o s a l s , concedes t h a t Canadians are q u i t e p l a u s i b l y "a u n i t e d people d i v i d e d by our governments."  He  writes: In pursuing h i s o b j e c t i v e s and responding t o the s e l f i n t e r e s t e d cues emanating from the pyramid of p o l i t i c a l and b u r e a u c r a t i c power over which he p r e s i d e s i n Ottawa, Mr. Trudeau i s d r i v e n t o exaggerate the Canadian component of our i d e n t i t i e s . . . I t i s e q u a l l y l o g i c a l and n a t u r a l f o r our p r o v i n c i a l l e a d e r s t o exaggerate the p r o v i n c i a l components of our i d e n t i t y . They have no responsibility for our national identity although they cannot completely d i s r e g a r d i t , as even Mr. Levesque recently discovered. C e r t a i n l y the post-referendum Trudeau government, f r e s h l y r e t u r n e d t o power with a parliamentary  m a j o r i t y a f t e r l e s s than a  year  to  in  opposition,  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l change.  was As  prepared  undertake  f o r the p r o v i n c e s ,  substantial  the past decade of  t a l k s , p o l i c y papers and c o n s t i t u t i o n a l proposals  had  essentially  o b l i t e r a t e d the l a s t gasps of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l conservatism.  British  Columbia and A l b e r t a , f o r i n s t a n c e , had comprehensive p r o p o s a l s  D i s r u p t i o n s , p.  64  on  64 the t a b l e .  And  the BC  premier had a l r e a d y s t a t e d  that  a major  o v e r h a u l , not minor t i n k e r i n g , was the answer t o Canada's p o l i t i c a l woes.  Both l e v e l s of government were prepared f o r what they  perceived  as a necessary and  inevitable  stage of  now  constitutional  reform. B r i t i s h Columbia had a d e t a i l e d set of p r o p o s a l s t h a t i t was peddling  as  a  solution  to  the  country's  constitutional  woes.  However, o r g a n i z a t i o n s such as the Canada West Foundation,  which  normally sympathized with the concerns of p r o v i n c i a l governments i n the West, i s s u e d a document t h a t l i s t e d a number of concerns w i t h the  centrifugal  Canada  West  federalism  Foundation  saw  apparent this  in  BC's  proposed  proposals. outward  5 3  The  shift  as  disadvantageous t o Canadian f e d e r a l i s m , which perhaps underscored one d e f i c i e n c y i n B r i t i s h Columbia's the  country's c o n s t i t u t i o n a l  argument t h a t the answer t o  troubles  is a  realigned  structure  which p r o v i d e s the p r o v i n c e s w i t h power and i n f l u e n c e a t w i t h i n the central  government.  A p r o b l e m a t i c , long-term r e s u l t  of  such  a  reformed Senate c o u l d be the u n f o r t u n a t e i n t e r m i n g l i n g of n a t i o n a l p a r t i e s and f o r c e s w i t h p r o v i n c i a l e l e c t i o n campaigns, p o s i t s the Foundation's  discussion  paper.  And  i t asserts  that  another  p o t e n t i a l disadvantage c o u l d be more disharmonious c o n f l i c t and disagreement, not l e s s : The populous c e n t r e would c o n t r o l the Commons, the h i n t e r l a n d would c o n t r o l the C o u n c i l of P r o v i n c e s , and D a v i d E l t o n and P e t e r McCormick, A l t e r n a t i v e s 1980: The Basic Issues in Constitutional Reform(Banff: Canada West Foundation, A l t e r n a t i v e s 1980 Conference, November 1980), p.14 5 3  65 the c o n f l i c t symbolized by the c o n f r o n t a t i o n between the two chambers c o u l d weaken both the n a t i o n a l government and the c o u n t r y . 5 4  In  o t h e r words, what B r i t i s h  Columbia c o u l d  pragmatic yet s e l f - s e r v i n g demand f o r a new Upper  Chamber  national  was  not  a  disunity.  organizations  like  solution  The the  to,  question  Canada  West  be  proposing i n i t s  provincially-appointed  but  an  entrenchment  raised  by  papers  Foundation  was  of, from  certainly  u n s e t t l i n g : were the Western premiers o f f e r i n g p r o p o s a l s t h a t  had  the best i n t e r e s t s of Westerners i n mind, or were the demands based on  lingering desires  government  by  t o t r i m the  re-shaping  s a i l s of an e x p a n s i o n i s t  federalism  into  a  federal  more p r o v i n c i a l i s t  image?  Regionhood i n D e c l i n e : The  1981  The  Signing  1982,  Rights  patriated  Freedoms, a  formula t h a t would p l a y  an  elongated  provinces.  Accord  gave Canada an entrenched C h a r t e r of  and  constitution,  a contributing  attempts at c o n s t i t u t i o n a l reform. of  1981  C o n s t i t u t i o n a l Accord, which l e d t o the p r o c l a m a t i o n  of the C o n s t i t u t i o n Act, and  of the  often  bitter  The  and  an  amending  r o l e i n subsequent accord was  the  failed  culmination  debate between Ottawa and  At i t s z e n i t h , the c o n f r o n t a t i o n a l  the  nature of Trudeau's  l a s t - c h a n c e b i d t o g i v e Canadians a renewed f e d e r a t i o n  saw the  two  l e v e l s of government i g n o m i n i o u s l y face each other i n the courtroom over Ottawa's p l a n t o a c t u n i l a t e r a l l y and b r i n g the 5 4  Ibid.,  p.14  constitution  66  a c r o s s the A t l a n t i c . And premier  the f a c t t h a t the accord would not be signed by Quebec's p l a y e d i n t o the hands of Quebec n a t i o n a l i s t s a few  down the road, who  s u b j e c t i v e l y i n t e r p r e t e d t h i s as an attempt  the prime m i n i s t e r and turning  it  into  constitutional Canada  would  years  an  the  o t h e r premiers  orphan  without  a  to isolate  home  in  Quebec  the  embrace  a  different  metaphorical  —  Canadian  f a m i l y (a c y n i c a l r e p r e s e n t a t i v e from the r e s t likely  by  twist  of --  Quebec as a p r o v i n c e i n self-imposed e x i l e , f o r example.) L i k e the was,  accord's  aftermath,  the  b a r g a i n i n g process  itself  i n the words of authors Stephen C l a r k s o n and C h r i s t i n a M c C a l l ,  " c h a o t i c and open-ended."  They w r i t e :  I t was conducted by a few men a t the summit country's p o l i t i c a l c l a s s , who became i n the l a r g e l y d i s c o n n e c t e d from the economic f o r c e s and i n t e r e s t s t h a t normally d i c t a t e d t h e i r a c t i o n s schemed and bargained t o secure t h e i r own, d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposed, p o l i t i c a l g o a l s .  of the process social as they often  5 5  The new c o n s t i t u t i o n , f o r m a l l y signed i n t o law by the Queen i n A p r i l 1982,  marked the end of an e r a i n Canada, emerging as i t d i d  f i f t y years a f t e r the S t a t u t e of Westminster.  I t was  a  D e c l a r a t i o n of Independence, of s o r t s , from the Mother Country  —  although a muted and much-belated one as B r i t a i n had been more than w i l l i n g to disentangle i t s e l f  from the Canadian c o n s t i t u t i o n f o r  many decades. Yet,  the  new  constitution,  achieved  after  twenty  desperate  S t e p h e n C l a r k s o n and C h r i s t i n a M c C a l l , Trudeau and our Times: Volume One: The M a g n i f i c e n t Obsession(Toronto: M c C l e l l a n d & Stewart, 1990), p.274 55  67 years  of  sharp  intellectual  discourse  and  mounting  political  r h e t o r i c about the n e c e s s i t y of re-shaping the Canadian s t a t e , easily  and  q u i c k l y disparaged.  The  1981  accord was  example, by B i l l Bennett, and y e t the accord was of  his  province's  1978  proposals  for a  was  signed, f o r  hardly r e f l e c t i v e  renewed  federation  —  p r o p o s a l s i n which the premier had r e i t e r a t e d h i s p r o v i n c e ' s view that  nothing  short of major  institutional  reform  would r e s o l v e  f e d e r a l i s m ' s problems. As  McCall  chaotic.  And  and  Clarkson  the  aftermath  p o i n t out, would  the  only  process  inspire  was  indeed  further  chaos.  Donald Smiley wrote p r o p h e t i c a l l y about the accord as a "dangerous deed"  that  almost  constitutional  guaranteed  crises.  the  Smiley  country  viewed  the  a  series  s i g n i n g of  of  future  the  1981  a c c o r d as an a f f r o n t t o Quebec, whose populace had been promised  a  renewed f e d e r a t i o n : a promise which, d e s p i t e the c e l e b r a t o r y poses of the o t h e r f i r s t m i n i s t e r s , had not been f u l f i l l e d . of  constitutional  federal "and  Liberal  i t i s not  betrayed."  made t o  the  Quebec  electorate  pledges by  the  l e a d e r s have not  been honoured," Smiley w r i t e s ,  too  that  much t o  say  this  electorate  has  been  56  Smiley process  reform  "The  rightfully  undertaken  to  acknowledges the s i t u a t i o n ' s i r o n y — address  the  concerns  of  Quebec  had  the only  D o n a l d Smiley, "A Dangerous Deed: the C o n s t i t u t i o n A c t , 1982," i n And No One Cheered: Federalism, Democracy and the C o n s t i t u t i o n A c t , K e i t h Banting and R i c h a r d Simeon, eds.(Toronto: Methuen, 1983), p. 76 56  68 served t o undermine i t s t i e s t o the r e s t of Canada. B r i t i s h Columbia, too, c o u l d (at l e a s t academically) p r o c l a i m i t s e l f a l o s e r a t the n e g o t i a t i n g t a b l e .  Although i t s premier  was  a w i l l i n g p a r t i c i p a n t i n the d i s c u s s i o n s and signed the a c c o r d as enthusiastically  as  sentiments  reform,  about  the  other  nine  espoused  just  c l e a r l y d e f i n e d as "demands," seemingly b a r g a i n i n g got underway.  premiers, a  few  his  years  disappeared  earlier once the  and hard  The p r o v i n c e had demanded a g r e a t e r , more  i n f l u e n t i a l r o l e i n the f e d e r a t i o n , and y e t t h e r e was the p o l i t i c a l  idealistic  s t r u c t u r e of the system.  no change i n  It called for a  reformed  Senate, one i n which r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s from the r e g i o n s were d i r e c t l y l i n k e d t o p r o v i n c i a l governments and were a f f o r d e d i n c r e a s e d powers to  impede  federal  legislation  a f f a i r s of the p r o v i n c e s . formula  would  now  potentially  detrimental  to  the  Instead, the new c o n s t i t u t i o n a l amending  require  unanimous  consent  among  the  eleven  governments b e f o r e f u t u r e reform of f e d e r a l i s m ' s i n s t i t u t i o n s c o u l d take  place  —  a horrendously  difficult  t a s k t o achieve  (as  the  Meech Lake debacle would soon p r o v e ) . The f a c t t h a t such reforms were not n e g o t i a t e d i n 1980-81 was, from a Western p e r s p e c t i v e , a g l a r i n g l y obvious e r r o r of omission t h a t l e f t the accord a flawed document.  Roger G i b b i n s , i n an  1983  essay, i n t e r p r e t e d the accord as a " t r a g i c l o s t o p p o r t u n i t y " t h a t would do nothing t o weaken the p e r c e p t i o n of Western a l i e n a t i o n or stem the i n c e s s a n t l y acrimonious  nature of  federal-provincial  69 relations.  "While western  5 7  p r o t e c t e d t h e i r own writes,  "they f a i l e d  constituents."  5 8  provincial  governments  successfully  s t a t u s and j u r i s d i c t i o n a l i n t e r e s t s , " G i b b i n s t o advance the n a t i o n a l  G i b b i n s contends  interests  of  their  t h a t , w h i l e p a t r i a t i o n of the  c o n s t i t u t i o n and the entrenchment of the C h a r t e r of R i g h t s would have  little  impact  on  regional  politics,  the  amending  formula  helped t o r e i n f o r c e the c l a i m among p r o v i n c i a l premiers "that they alone speak f o r t h e i r p r o v i n c i a l e l e c t o r a t e s . . . O t t a w a cannot appeal d i r e c t l y t o the people of the West over, under or around provincial  governments."  While  59  this  concern  somewhat by the Charlottetown referendum i n 1992 done  "over  the  heads"  of  the  premiers  but,  was  their disproved  ( a l b e i t i t was  rather,  with  not  their  c o n s e n t ) , the more s i g n i f i c a n t i s s u e of the premiers guarding t h e i r monopoly  as  elaboration.  chief  regional  spokespersons  requires  further  The amending formula accepted i n 1981 was c o n s i d e r e d  a v i c t o r y by Western premiers because i t d i d not c a t e g o r i z e them as " s e c o n d - c l a s s " i n r e l a t i o n t o O n t a r i o and Quebec, both of which would have achieved veto powers had p r e v i o u s l y - f a v o u r e d formulae (such as the h i g h l y - t o u t e d V i c t o r i a  formula) been adopted.  the entrenched formula d i d not achieve was  What  an easy road t o f u t u r e  i n s t i t u t i o n a l reform of the f e d e r a t i o n . What had happened t o d e r a i l BC's  once implacable i n s i s t e n c e  'Roger G i b b i n s , " C o n s t i t u t i o n a l P o l i t i c s And No One Cheered, pp. 129-132 s  5 8  I b i d . , p.  5 9  Ibid.,  122  p.127  and the West," i n  70 t h a t major reform, i n c l u d i n g a reshaped and House, was  e s s e n t i a l i f Canada's l e a d e r s  workable f e d e r a l system? the  1982  Constitution,  notes t h a t one  re-engineered Upper  were t o t r u l y achieve a  David M i l n e , i n h i s book on the making of provides  some p l a u s i b l e  formidable o b s t a c l e  f o r a more c e n t r i f u g a l system was e n t e r t a i n such a p o s s i b i l i t y .  answers.  Milne  i n the Western premiers' Trudeau's o b s t i n a t e  drive  refusal  Indeed, the prime m i n i s t e r ,  to  devoted  t o the a s s e r t i o n t h a t a s t r o n g e r f e d e r a l government would make f o r a  stronger  separatism  Canada,  regarded  it  such as  a  a  system  spurious  as  akin  attempt  to  Quebec  to  further  d e n i g r a t e the f e d e r a l government's r o l e i n the f e d e r a t i o n .  Trudeau  was  and  perceived  almost v i s c e r a l l y opposed t o t h i s concept of p r o v i n c i a l i s m ;  he  d i d not wish t o see Canada transformed i n t o a " f r e e a s s o c i a t i o n "  or  a "community of communities." to regionalism nationalism. It  as he was  Thus, he was  t o separatism or, f o r t h a t matter, Quebec  6 0  can  be  argued t h a t  Trudeau's obstinence  p r o v i n c i a l c a l l s for greater and  i n f l u e n c e w i t h i n the  i n the  face  of  f e d e r a l system,  h i s marked, even h o s t i l e , r e a c t i o n t o such demands, made i t  i m p o s s i b l e f o r reforms l i k e those put the  as u n w i l l i n g t o concede  negotiating  overwhelmingly different — of the  1970s.  table  i n 1980  apparent  and  that  and the  f o r t h by BC i n 1978  1981.  Indeed, i t had  Trudeau of  the  f e e l i n g much more i n c o n t r o l —  become  1980s was from the  much  Trudeau  Trudeau's dramatic r e t u r n t o power i n February  S e e David M i l n e , The Canadian C o n s t i t u t i o n Lorimer & Company, 1991) pp. 95-96 6 0  t o reach  1980  (Toronto: James  71 had  re-energized a g i f t e d p o l i t i c a l  l e a d e r who  had,  l e s s than  year e a r l i e r , r e a l i z e d i n sombre r e t r o s p e c t t h a t h i s main g o a l to  make Quebeckers  Canada —  feel  more c l o s e l y  connected  had not been adequately f u l f i l l e d .  t o the  rest  a — of  His r e s t o r a t i o n would  not be deemed a success u n l e s s he c o u l d e x t r i c a t e Ottawa from the hidebound  c o n f i n e s of  federal-provincial  relations.  C l a r k s o n and C h r i s t i n a M c C a l l p o i n t out, Trudeau was  As  Stephen  convinced by  the l a c k of success on the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l f r o n t d u r i n g the s h o r t lived  stewardship of Joe C l a r k , a P r o g r e s s i v e C o n s e r v a t i v e whose  f e d e r a l i s t v i s i o n was Canada than Trudeau's,  more compatible w i t h the premiers' view of t h a t the long p o l i t i c a l  r e s u l t of p a r t i s a n d i f f e r e n c e s but was system  impasse was  not the  i n s t e a d the product of the  itself. The unwritten understanding t h a t a l l d e c i s i o n s of f i r s t m i n i s t e r s had t o be made unanimously had encouraged each premier t o w i t h h o l d consent from a proposed agreement i n order t o e x t r a c t e v e r - g r e a t e r concessions f o r h i s p r o v i n c e . Trudeau had l o s t c o n t r o l of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l n e g o t i a t i o n s i n the 1970s when he had allowed the premiers t o put t h e i r own long l i s t s of i s s u e s on the t a b l e . An ever-extending agenda w i t h no f i x e d d e a d l i n e s f o r d e c i s i o n s had removed any d i s c i p l i n e from f e d e r a l p r o v i n c i a l meetings. 61  Thus, the dynamic which had helped produce B r i t i s h Columbia's wideranging essence,  constitutional  proposals  the p r o v i n c e s were no  i n 1978  now  longer i n c o n t r o l  because the f e d e r a l government manipulated usurp t h a t r e s p o n s i b i l i t y .  was  Trudeau was  C l a r k s o n and M c C a l l , pp. 278-279  altered. of the  In  agenda  the events of 1980  no longer i n t e r e s t e d i n  to  72 seeking unanimity a t the F i r s t M i n i s t e r s ' t a b l e and t h i s e f f e c t i v e l y undermined each premier's once-formidable power t o add pet concerns t o the agenda. This  new,  hard-line  s t r a t e g y was  manifested  i n the Trudeau  government's brazen gamble t o pursue a u n i l a t e r a l s o l u t i o n t o the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l i s s u e a f t e r the c o l l a p s e of t a l k s i n 1980. an  approach t o f e d e r a l - p r o v i n c i a l r e l a t i o n s t h a t  I t was  would p r e v a i l  d u r i n g the Trudeau government's f o u r t h and f i n a l term.  A s i d e from  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l p o l i t i c s , i t c o u l d be seen as w e l l i n o t h e r p o s t 1980 f e d e r a l e f f o r t s , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the N a t i o n a l Energy Program - the economic c e n t r e p i e c e so  unabashedly  immediately  of the new Trudeau government t h a t  nationalistic  antagonized  the  and  interventionist  multinational  it  was  almost  o i l companies  that  dominated the West's energy s e c t o r ; t h i s p o l i c y f u r t h e r aggravated the a l r e a d y i n c e n d i a r y r e l a t i o n s h i p between the A l b e r t a government and  the f e d e r a l government  (and perhaps pushed A l b e r t a Premier  P e t e r Lougheed i n t o the f o r e f r o n t as the major Western spokesman i n the  ensuing c o n s t i t u t i o n a l t a l k s ) .  Still,  t h e NEP  and t h e  new  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l i n i t i a t i v e were d e v i c e s which Ottawa planned t o use t o r e - a s s e r t the relevance of the n a t i o n a l government i n the minds of Canadians; i t was p a r t of Trudeau's grand s t r a t e g y t o p a i n t the premiers as s e l f - i n t e r e s t e d and p a r o c h i a l , showing the p r o c e s s t h a t the government i n Ottawa was the only government w i l l i n g t o speak up f o r the needs of Canadians as a c o l l e c t i v i t y .  6 2  S e e David Milne,Tug of War; Ottawa and the P r o v i n c e s Under Trudeau and Mulroney(Toronto: James Lorimer & Company, 1986), pp. 39-41 62  73 By 1981, the f e d e r a l government increasing partly  First  s t r e n g t h of p r o v i n c i a l i s m t h a t had been made p o s s i b l e  by the growing  generous  was determined t o f i g h t t h e  economic  might  f e d e r a l t r a n s f e r payments,  of the West,  and p a r t l y  partly  by  by t h e advent o f  M i n i s t e r s conferences (which p r o v i d e d the premiers w i t h a  p l a t f o r m t o c h a l l e n g e the f e d e r a l government).  63  In November 1981,  Trudeau r e v e a l e d how h i g h l y - c r i t i c a l he was of "summit f e d e r a l i s m " : [He e x p l a i n e d ] t h a t t h e r e had been almost as many f i r s t m i n i s t e r s ' conferences i n the 14 y e a r s of h i s tenure as Prime M i n i s t e r as t h e r e had been from C o n f e d e r a t i o n t o 1968. He l i n k e d t h i s evidence of e x e c u t i v e f e d e r a l i s m t o the n o t i o n , which he saw t h e premiers as h o l d i n g , t h a t 'Canada's n a t i o n a l government would be a c o u n c i l o f f i r s t m i n i s t e r s . . . t h a t f e d e r a l i s m demanded t h a t t h e f e d e r a l government g i v e i n whenever the p r o v i n c e s r e a c h a unanimous p o s i t i o n . ' 6 4  The Trudeau government was a l s o buoyed i n 1980 by t h e r e s u l t s of the Quebec referendum, probably b e l i e v i n g w i t h utmost c o n f i d e n c e ( l i k e many Canadians) t h a t the s e p a r a t i s t dragon had been  finally  slain. The referendum win, where Ottawa b e l i e v e d i t had stepped in and rescued the s i t u a t i o n from t h e f o u n d e r i n g p r o v i n c i a l L i b e r a l s , produced an enormous sense o f s e l f c o n f i d e n c e i n the Trudeau government a t t h e o u t s e t o f i t s mandate. Whenever s m a l l groups of m i n i s t e r s o r a i d e s met, they p a t t e d themselves on the back f o r a j o b w e l l done and planned even more a g g r e s s i v e s t r a t e g i e s f o r t h e  f u t u r e . They were almost drunk w i t h a new sense o f power  Sheilagh M. Dunn, ed.,The Year i n Review 1981: Intergovernmental R e l a t i o n s i n Canada (Kingston: Queen's U n i v e r s i t y , 1982), p. 2 6 3  6 4  I b i d , p. 3  74 and The  accomplishment.  results likely  had  65  a s i m i l a r a f f e c t on  the  premiers  ( i n the  r e s t of Canada) as w e l l ; the immediate post-referendum p e r i o d  was  a time f o r c o n c i l i a t i o n , and t h i s was  who  not l o s t on B i l l Bennett,  was  considered  two  or t h r e e premiers among the s o - c a l l e d "Gang of E i g h t " who  looking table.  for  conciliation  Sidetracked  6 6  growing  one of the "doves" among the f i r s t m i n i s t e r s , one  recession  by  i n the  and an  compromise  at  the  was  constitutional  upcoming p r o v i n c i a l e l e c t i o n and  West,  i t i s plausible to  assume  r e g i o n a l i s t a s p i r a t i o n s and  f o r a massive overhaul of the before  the c r u c i a l 1981  i t s concomitant  Ontario  and  New  his  proposals  f e d e r a l system were o f f the  table  d i s c u s s i o n s were even underway.  The Gang of E i g h t , a c o a l i t i o n of e i g h t premiers (the of  a  that  Bennett's c o n c i l i a t o r y e f f o r t s were a s u b t l e acceptance t h a t province's  of  Brunswick  had  sided  with  the  leaders national  government) formed t o stop Trudeau's u n i l a t e r a l attempt t o p a t r i a t e the  constitution  succeeded,  thanks  to  several  d e c i s i o n s , i n i t s attempt t o b l o c k the move. have  noted  disregard, federation. Canada  that  the  plan  even contempt, In  which,  for  A number of  unilateralism  f o r the  r o l e of  the  essence, they concur w i t h the in  its  1981  ruling,  timely  found  showed  court  scholars an  provinces  utter in  Supreme Court that  a  the of  strong.  R o b e r t Sheppard and M i c h a e l Valpy, The N a t i o n a l Deal; The F i g h t f o r a Canadian C o n s t i t u t i o n (Toronto: F l e e t Books, 1982), p. 40 65  66  Y e a r - E n d Review of Intergovernmental R e l a t i o n s ,  p.22  75 constitutional government  convention  from  amending  existed the  which  forbade  the  c o n s t i t u t i o n without  national  substantial  p r o v i n c i a l consent. Despite t h i s v i c t o r y , the ensuing n e g o t i a t i o n s proved t o be a different  world  constitutional  for  the  premiers,  controlled  government's plans f o r g r e a t e r i n f l u e n c e w i t h i n the f e d e r a t i o n  and  Chamber, c o u l d no  proposal longer  for  a  previous  decade.  the BC  accompanying  the  had  The  its  agenda f o r much of  who  provincially-appointed  c l a i m much a t t e n t i o n .  The  premiers  been e f f e c t i v e l y p l a c e d on the d e f e n s i v e  by a s e r i e s of  centralizing  included  Charter the  eighteen  proposals,  which  p o s i t i o n of being  r o l e i n defeating  entrenched  lauded p e r v a s i v e l y  the  forces  of  Quebec  for playing  separatism  in a  just  months e a r l i e r .  British  Columbia  was  further  restricted  demands i t c o u l d make f o r s e v e r a l other reasons. p a r t of a c o a l i t i o n of e i g h t premiers and, about BC's a  an  had  of R i g h t s , and by the f a c t t h a t the prime m i n i s t e r was  enviable  primary  federal  Upper  s t a t u r e i n Confederation  more broad-based  strategy  in  the  types  F i r s t , i t was  now  t h e r e f o r e , i t s concerns  had t o be shelved i n favour  i n which  of  the  eight  premiers  promote a u n i t e d f r o n t a g a i n s t the f e d e r a l government.  And  of  could  second,  the BC premier happened t o be chairman of the premiers' conference for  the  1981-82 term, and  diplomacy was  this  placed  r e q u i r e d , not hyperbole.  Supreme Court d e c i s i o n and the  1981  him  i n a p o s i t i o n where  In the p e r i o d between the  F i r s t Ministers'  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l conference, B i l l Bennett was c h i e f l y concerned about  76 maintaining  an  aura  of  conciliation  government, and worked t o ensure  between  that  this  the  two  levels  of  c r i t i c a l negotiating  s e s s i o n would not be s c u t t l e d by the c o n f l i c t i n g p e r s o n a l i t i e s of the prime m i n i s t e r and some of the premiers.  In h i s o f t e n c a u s t i c  p o r t r a y a l of the BC premier, Stan Persky w r i t e s t h i s of performance  i n the weeks p r i o r t o the November 1981  Bennett's  conference:  Premiers such as Lougheed, Levesque and Newfoundland's Peckford were f a r too prominent i n t h e i r antagonism t o Trudeau t o engineer a compromise. Davis and H a t f i e l d , committed t o the f e d e r a l p o s i t i o n , c o u l d h a r d l y r e p r e s e n t the e i g h t d i s s e n t i n g provinces...Bennett on the o t h e r hand, was committed t o the d i s s i d e n t p r o v i n c e s (sometimes known as the "gang of e i g h t " ) , y e t not i r r e v o c a b l y bound to them...If anyone c o u l d prepare the ground f o r compromise, Bennett, w i t h h i s r a t h e r boy s c o u t - l i k e sense of p r o p r i e t y , stood the b e s t chance w i t h the t e s t y Trudeau. 67  Moreover, negotiating between  the  process  Ottawa  B r i t i s h Columbia 1978  at  and  first  that nine  public  session  culminated of  the  i n the  ten  the  November  p r o v i n c e s , the  week-long 1981  deal  premier  of  disposed of any l i n g e r i n g doubt about whether the  p r o p o s a l s were o f f the t a b l e when —  premiers  in  of Newfoundland, A l b e r t a  urged compromise.  I t was  and  the " f i r s t  u n l i k e the h a r d l i n e  Quebec --  the  BC  premier  small s i g n of a break i n the  group of e i g h t , " w r i t e Sheppard and Valpy of the premier's conciliatory  remarks.  68  If  the  BC  premier's  demands  r e s t r u c t u r e d C o n f e d e r a t i o n appeared t o d i m i n i s h i n resonance  for  a  after  "'Stan Persky,Bennett I I : The D e c l i n e & Stumbling of S o c i a l C r e d i t Government i n B r i t i s h Columbia 1979-83(Vancouver: New S t a r Books, 1983), p. 177 68  S h e p p a r d and Valpy, p.  268  77  1980,  they  did  so  at  a  time  when  the  federal  government  was  attempting t o r e c r e a t e the c e n t r a l i s t v i s i o n of the f e d e r a l system t h a t had e x i s t e d long before the notions of p r o v i n c i a l i s m or Quebec separatism federal  had  become commonplace.  constitutional  proposals  David  of  Milne  1980  were  argues t h a t  flavoured with  n i n e t e e n t h - c e n t u r y view of the Canadian p o l i t i c a l system. attempt a t u n i l a t e r a l a c t i o n was  a c l e a r example of how  federal  to  Liberals  tradition  rooted  a c t i o n was federal  were  willing  i n the  embrace  Macdonald  the  legacy."  Ottawa's f a r the  unilateral  u l t i m a t e l y d e r a i l e d , a number of other measures on  agenda  determination  were to  consistent  achieve  a  with  Ottawa's  constitutional  a  "quasi-imperial While  6 9  the  the  no-holds-barred  breakthrough.  Of  p a r t i c u l a r s i g n i f i c a n c e were the f e d e r a l government's p r o p o s a l s f o r tightening  i t s control  over  the  economic  direction  of  Canada.  M i l n e argues t h a t the f e d e r a l government s e i z e d upon i t s a r c h a i c controls  over  disallowance —  provincial  laws  —  those  of  reservation  and i t s powers t o i n t r u d e i n t o s t r i c t l y  and  provincial  matters through i t s spending, d e c l a r a t o r y and emergency powers, as bargaining  chips  in  order  to  obtain  the  p r o v i n c e s as f a r as a C h a r t e r of Rights was the  federal  proposals  of  1980  concerned.  by  economic direct 6 9  which  i t sought  "more e f f e c t i v e  p r o v i n c i a l i s m . . . t h e net  federal  jurisdiction  D a v i d Milne,Tug  of War,  Of  of  the  course,  i n d i c a t e d t h a t Ottawa wanted more  from the p r o v i n c e s than simple acquiesence. plans  acquiesence  and  effect  I t had a l s o u n v e i l e d , means f o r  of  which  subject p r o v i n c i a l  p.41  controlling  would  expand  actions that  78 i n t e r f e r e d with the economic union t o j u d i c i a l r e v i e w . "  Again,  70  t h i s "powers over the economy" package u l t i m a t e l y f a i l e d  ( i n most  r e s p e c t s ) t o win a p p r o v a l , but i t c o u l d s t i l l be p l a u s i b l y seen as s u c c e s s f u l i n terms of Ottawa's secondary i n t e n t i o n —  that  the  package serve as a b a r g a i n i n g c h i p a l l o w i n g the f e d e r a l government to  concede  provinces. the  defeat As  in  return  for  f u r t h e r concessions  f o r i t s r h e t o r i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e , the  economy" package r e v e a l e d an Ottawa no  from  the  "powers over  longer w i l l i n g  to  be  bowled over by p r o v i n c i a l demands; the f e d e r a l L i b e r a l government of post-1980 was rhetoric,  and  a g g r e s s i v e i n i t s approach, s e l f - s e r v i n g i n i t s  brimming with  confidence  in i t s style;  i t seemed  determined t o do t o p r o v i n c i a l i s m what i t had done (with the  not  i n c o n s e q u e n t i a l help of the Quebec L i b e r a l Party) t o the cause of Quebec independence i n May  of  1980.  Milne p o i n t s out, i n h i s a n a l y s i s of t h i s t u r b u l e n t time i n f e d e r a l - p r o v i n c i a l r e l a t i o n s , t h a t the f e d e r a l government  was  determined t o achieve a predominant r o l e i n the economic management of the country  under the guise of the  "national interest."  This  was undeniably a cause f o r concern among most of the p r o v i n c e s , but particularly Canada.  those  outside  the  industrial  heartland  of  central  G e n e r a l l y speaking, t h e r e were t h r e e p a r t s of the 1980-81  f e d e r a l c o n s t i t u t i o n a l package t h a t were of c r i t i c a l concern  to  B r i t i s h Columbia: (1) the C h a r t e r of Rights and Freedoms; (2) the p r o p o s a l s d e a l i n g with the economic i s s u e s d i s c u s s e d above; and the proposed amending formula. 7 0  I b i d . , p.  44  The Charter of R i g h t s was  (3)  a subject  79 the premiers approached with a c e r t a i n degree of t r e p i d a t i o n , g i v e n its  power  to  transfer  political  issues  government t o t h e domain of t h e j u d i c i a r y . provinces  were r i g h t l y  concerned  from  t h e domain  of  With t h i s i n mind, t h e  about t h e C h a r t e r ' s  impact  on  f u t u r e p r o v i n c i a l l e g i s l a t i o n and i t s obvious u s u r p a t i o n o f t h e p r i n c i p l e of p a r l i a m e n t a r y supremacy. Valpy,  i n a study  a s t u t e l y address they  Robert Sheppard and M i c h a e l  of the 1980-81 c o n s t i t u t i o n a l  the premiers'  negotiations,  a n t i p a t h y toward t h e C h a r t e r when  state: ...[T]he p r o v i n c i a l d i s l i k e of Trudeau's proposed c h a r t e r went beyond who was t h e best p r o v i d e r o f b a s i c r i g h t s , the f e d e r a l o r p r o v i n c i a l government...The l i s t o f what the p r o v i n c e s d i d n ' t l i k e about an entrenched c h a r t e r was q u i t e l o n g : t h e sweeping new powers being g i v e n t o the courts; the hint of American jurisprudence i n f e c t i n g the language of t h e l e g a l r i g h t s s e c t i o n ; t h e prospect of expensive and time-consuming r e d r a f t i n g of p r o v i n c i a l l e g i s l a t i o n t o comply w i t h the new code; and the d i r e c t recourse t o the c o u r t s by wronged i n d i v i d u a l s , bypassing [ p r o v i n c i a l ] human r i g h t s c o m m i s s i o n s . 71  While an entrenched C h a r t e r would unquestionably l i m i t t h e power o f Canada's l e g i s l a t u r e s , what made the "whole q u e s t i o n dangerous was t h a t i t was impossible t o judge j u s t how f a r t h e c h a r t e r might l i m i t p r o v i n c i a l powers." Although  72  t h e C h a r t e r of Rights was a s i g n i f i c a n t and  c o n t e n t i o u s i s s u e , the other two i s s u e s were p r i m a r i l y o f concern t o p r o v i n c e s i n t h e West and i n the A t l a n t i c r e g i o n .  The proposed  amending formula was based on t h e formula worked out i n V i c t o r i a ,  i  Sheppard and Valpy, p. 148.  2  D a v i d Milne,The Canadian C o n s t i t u t i o n , p. 75  80 B.C.  i n 1971  (and hence i t s name).  The formula p r o v i d e d the  two  most populous p r o v i n c e s of O n t a r i o and Quebec w i t h a v e t o over a l l future  constitutional  accepted —  change.  In t h i s  respect —  had  i t been  i t would have been a severe setback t o p r o v i n c e s such  as BC, which had been s p e c i f i c a l l y advocating reforms a l l o w i n g i t a  more equal  s t a t u s with  the  central  Canadian  provinces.  The  formula e f f e c t i v e l y r e - s t a t e d the age-old r e g i o n a l i n e q u a l i t y t h a t p r e v a i l e d i n the f e d e r a l  system.  T h i s amendment formula e s s e n t i a l l y c a r r i e d forward the older regional logic of Canadian Confederation, enshrined, f o r example, i n Senate r e p r e s e n t a t i o n . There the whole of the E a s t and West of the country — each r e g i o n c o n s i s t i n g of f o u r separate p r o v i n c e s — was put on a par with the s i n g l e dominant p r o v i n c e s of O n t a r i o and Quebec. T h i s arrangement had not helped the second chamber r e f l e c t and defend r e g i o n a l concerns a g a i n s t "Empire Canada," but i t did demonstrate rather g r a p h i c a l l y the l o p s i d e d nature of the Canadian f e d e r a l union. 7 3  Of course, the V i c t o r i a formula was probably a l s o popular w i t h the f e d e r a l government because i t had achieved unanimous, although temporary,  acceptance  s u r p r i s i n g l y , i t was  among F i r s t  Ministers  i n 1971.  Quebec, not the West or the A t l a n t i c  p r o v i n c e s , which e v e n t u a l l y scotched the deal.) was  (Somewhat  Why  the  formula  a c c e p t a b l e i n 1971 t o premiers such as W.A.C. Bennett, who  the f i r s t premier t o put f o r t h the i d e a of B r i t i s h Columbia d i s t i n c t i v e r e g i o n w i t h i n Canada, remains  something  of a  was  as a  mystery.  I t i s a l s o important t o note t h a t i t was the A l b e r t a premier, P e t e r Lougheed,  3  and  not  Milne,Tuq  his counterpart  of War,  p. 47  from  BC,  who  l e d the  attack  81 a g a i n s t what he termed second-class for  p r o v i n c i a l s t a t u s and pushed  a more e q u i t a b l e amending formula (which would, i n t u r n , make  f u t u r e c o n s t i t u t i o n a l changes extremely In  the end,  regard.  The  only  the C h a r t e r  Victoria  formula  difficult).  of Rights  and  many  of  prevailed i n this Ottawa's  proposed  economic powers were not i n c o r p o r a t e d i n t o the f i n a l c o n s t i t u t i o n a l agreement i n the f a l l  of 1981.  Milne  the major v i c t o r y of the C h a r t e r his  effort  to return  federalism.  Canada  concludes t h a t , except f o r  of R i g h t s , Trudeau had f a i l e d i n  t o a nineteenth-century  S t i l l , the prime m i n i s t e r e f f e c t i v e l y c u r t a i l e d the  p o s s i b i l i t y of f e d e r a l i s m going the other way — for  example,  concept of  best  exemplified  by  BC's  i n the d i r e c t i o n ,  1978  constitutional  proposals. In r e t r o s p e c t , t h i s position,  as  noted  earlier,  p e r i o d of a few years; flexibility —  should had  not be s u r p r i s i n g . changed  dramatically  within  apparent i n the 1978 document A Time f o r A c t i o n  of A Time  a  the f e d e r a l government's c o n s t i t u t i o n a l  was no longer v i s i b l e i n the 1980 and '81 t a l k s . heels  The f e d e r a l  f o r Action  —  In 1978, on the  and the accompanying B i l l  C-60,  the  Trudeau government seemed f i n a l l y w i l l i n g t o d i s c u s s the d e v o l u t i o n of some f e d e r a l powers; however, the p r o v i n c i a l governments balked, f e e l i n g t h a t they c o u l d achieve even more concessions  from Ottawa.  A f t e r the 1980 f e d e r a l e l e c t i o n , the L i b e r a l government no l o n g e r believed  i t had t o n e g o t i a t e  from a p o s i t i o n of weakness.  The  pendulum had swung s h a r p l y i n the other d i r e c t i o n , and the r e v i v e d Trudeau L i b e r a l s "embarked on a new age of c o n f r o n t a t i o n a l  82 p o l i t i c s . . . [ i n which the c o n s t i t u t i o n was  t o be]  the  spearhead, of a more a s s e r t i v e f e d e r a l p r e s e n c e . "  symbol,  the  74  In A Time f o r A c t i o n , the n a t i o n a l government's t u r g i d prose suggested a re-ordered for  regional  f e d e r a l i s m w i t h at l e a s t some accommodation  interests, including  r e p l a c e the e x i s t i n g i n s t i t u t i o n proposal).  And  in  Future, t h e r e was, to  some extent,  workable and consider  new  the  1968  a  House of  the  Federation  to  ( s i m i l a r i n p h i l o s o p h y t o the  federal  paper  Federalism  for  BC the  again, an acceptance of the need t o accommodate, the  burgeoning provinces  successful  federal  and  to  methods f o r b r i n g i n g p r o v i n c i a l i n f l u e n c e t o bear  on  and  must be  a  prepared  developing f e d e r a l p o l i c i e s ,  system: "We  t h e i r v i s i o n of  f e d e r a l i n f l u e n c e on  developing  p r o v i n c i a l p o l i c i e s , before d e c i s i o n s have f i n a l l y been t a k e n . " Both of these f e d e r a l papers were prepared w h i l e Trudeau  7 5  was  p l a y i n g a c e n t r a l r o l e i n o r c h e s t r a t i n g the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l s t r a t e g y of the n a t i o n a l government. the p e r c e i v e d papers was  I t c o u l d be surmised, t h e r e f o r e ,  accommodation t o p r o v i n c i a l i s m evident  a f o r c e t o be reckoned w i t h , and  supposedly f a t e d t o answer the and  f o r a l l ) was  Arguably,  i n these  l i t t l e more than a s t r a t e g i c or r h e t o r i c a l e x e r c i s e .  the time they were prepared, of course, n a t i o n a l i s m still  that  the  question  i n Quebec  a referendum (which  government  had  to  appear  was  was  of Quebec's d e s t i n y  e i t h e r not y e t imagined or s t i l l on the federal  At  once  horizon.  amenable  to  p r o v i n c i a l needs w h i l e the f u t u r e of the country remained i n doubt. 74  S h e p p a r d and Valpy, pp.  75  Federalism  20-23  f o r the Future, p.  44  83 After  the  scenario  1980  federal  election  and  the  Quebec referendum,  had been a l t e r e d , and the p r o v i n c e s had  o p p o r t u n i t y t o exert  change w i t h i n  again  what was  state  bluntly  p o l i t i c a l observers — constitutional government's.  espoused  unalterable  l o s t t h e i r golden  federation.  already  t h a t he was  visions The  the  Trudeau  clearly discernible  could among  " d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposed" t o in  proposals  the  such  as  T r u d e a u i s t s t r a t e g y had  the  the BC  always been  t o strengthen and enhance the c e n t r a l government; the need t o c l o a k this  i n the  a f t e r the make  language of  1980  Ottawa  accommodation and  referendum. more  sensitive  I f necessary, Trudeau was to  regionalism,  c o r r e s p o n d i n g p r o v i n c i a l governments.  but  w i l l i n g to not  to  the  76  Conversely, i t can be argued t h a t BC's was,  c o n c i l i a t i o n vanished  a s s e r t i o n of regionhood  i n p a r t , a s t r a t e g i c attempt t o undermine the f e d e r a l L i b e r a l  government's  view  should  necessarily  not,  that  the  provincial  represent  true  governments regional  do  not,  and  interests;  a  s t r a t e g i c argument s t a t i n g , i n essence, t h a t p r o v i n c i a l governments a r t i c u l a t e r e g i o n a l concerns, u s i n g the r h e t o r i c of a l i e n a t i o n i n order t o serve t h e i r own  (province-building)  interests.  For t h i s reason, one must agree w i t h academics such as Roger G i b b i n s who  have argued t h a t the 1981  what i t f a i l e d t o do;  accord w i l l be remembered f o r  i t missed the o p p o r t u n i t y t o remedy  r e g i o n a l i n e q u a l i t y i n h e r e n t w i t h the Canadian system. perspective  "From the  of r e g i o n a l p o l i t i c s , the C o n s t i t u t i o n Act can best  Cairns, "Recent Review Essay," p. 356 7 6  the  Federalist  Constitutional  Proposals:  be  A  84 seen as a t r a g i c l o s t o p p o r t u n i t y t o organize r e g i o n a l c o n f l i c t out of  the p o l i t i c a l system, or a t l e a s t t o r e - o r d e r our  life  so  that  contained."  regional  conflict  moderated  p r o p o s a l f o r Senate reform —  s i g n i f i c a n t component i n i t s 1978 precipitously  during  the  clearly  be  and  7 7  In t h i s regard, BC's  throughout  would  institutional  the  summer  enunciating  constitutional  l i s t of key demands —  difficult  of  1980.  an  inter-provincial With  antagonism  aspirations,  and  the most  with  the  the  discussions  central  toward  faltered  government  provincialist  complexity  of the  task  i n v o l v e d i n r e s t r u c t u r i n g the upper chamber, n e g o t i a t i o n s t o reform the Senate were soon shelved due t o a l a c k of p r o g r e s s ; o b v i o u s l y , Senate reform, r e g a r d l e s s of any p l a u s i b i l i t y t o the argument t h a t s u b s t a n t i a l changes t o the i n s t i t u t i o n would dampen r e g i o n a l cleavages,  was  constitutional  probably  considered  propositions  that  part were  of  a  second-tier  of  the  of  beyond  d i s c u s s i o n s geared toward r e s o l v i n g the age-old and i s s u e s of p a t r i a t i o n and an a p p r o p r i a t e amending But  even among the  prime p r o p o s a l s  on  the  scope  top-priority  formula. 1980-81 agenda,  B r i t i s h Columbia's quest f o r r e g i o n a l s t a t u s w i t h i n the f e d e r a t i o n was  being g i v e n short s h r i f t .  The proposed amending  favoured by the f e d e r a l government was won,  briefly,  unanimous support  government i n 1971.  formula  the V i c t o r i a formula, which the  federal  Over the ensuing decade, however, the  formula  G i b b i n s , And No One  of the p r o v i n c e s and  Cheered, pp.  131-132  85 —  unquestionably a n a c h r o n i s t i c today, g i v e n i t s c e n t r a l - C a n a d i a n  chauvinism  (Ontario and Quebec each would be a f f o r d e d vetoes over  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l change) —  was q u i c k t o l o s e support amongst western  p r o v i n c e s such as A l b e r t a and BC.  Gaining acceptance i n i t s p l a c e  was  (later  an  Alberta-inspired  formula  known as  the  Vancouver  consensus) which, i n i t s p r o v i s i o n s , allowed i n l i e u of unanimity, any  province  to  opt  out  of  f u t u r e amendments.  Although  this  formula was more f a v o u r a b l e t o a l l the p r o v i n c e s , i t would a l l but k i l l BC's  r e g i o n a l a s p i r a t i o n s i f i t were accepted.  BC,  in  1978,  had put f o r t h a revamped V i c t o r i a formula t h a t would p r o v i d e t h e westernmost  province  accompanying  veto  "regional" entities A t l a n t i c Canada). odds w i t h  with  over  i t s fifth-region  status  through  f u t u r e amendments along w i t h  four  an  other  ( O n t a r i o , Quebec, the p r a i r i e p r o v i n c e s , and BC's  i t s western  r e g i o n a l a s p i r a t i o n s u l t i m a t e l y put i t a t (and A t l a n t i c )  c o u n t e r p a r t s and  probably  c o n t r i b u t e d t o the concept's q u i c k demise d u r i n g the n e g o t i a t i o n s of  1980  and  1981.  In the end,  a l s o f a i l e d , g i v i n g way  however, the Vancouver  consensus  t o a more i n c l u s i v e formula t h a t r e q u i r e s  unanimous p r o v i n c i a l consent on such matters as Senate reform and the composition of the Supreme Court of Canada.  Other amendments  r e q u i r e the approval of the f e d e r a l government and  seven  p r o v i n c e s with a t l e a s t f i f t y percent of the p o p u l a t i o n .  of t e n  86  CONCLUSION  R E G I O N A L I S M I N T H E NEW C O N S T I T U T I O N A L E R A  C o n s t i t u t i o n a l P o l i t i c s a f t e r 1982: After  1982, the hapless,  A B r i e f Overview  angst-filled  spectre  known  as  Canadian U n i t y vanished f o r a h a l f decade before r e t u r n i n g t o haunt the Canadian p u b l i c d u r i n g f u r t h e r rounds of n e g o t i a t i o n s i n 1987, 1990  and 1992. When i t reappeared, the phantom l e a r n e d  political  landscape  example,  had changed.  had entrenched w i t h i n  The Charter  the p o l i t i c a l  that the  of R i g h t s , f o r  culture  a new and  broader c o n s t i t u t i o n a l process r e q u i r i n g the t r a d i t i o n a l p o l i t i c a l class  to  bring  on  board  newly-constitutionalized  groups  ( m i n o r i t i e s , women, a b o r i g i n a l s ) t h a t had e i t h e r been i g n o r e d o r spurned throughout pre-1982 d i s c u s s i o n s . T h i s new sense of e q u a l i t y r i g h t s extended t o t h e p r o v i n c e s , which had e s t a b l i s h e d t h e i r own, competing v e r s i o n s  of equality,  making i t exceedingly d i f f i c u l t t o reach a c o n s t i t u t i o n a l agreement t h a t allowed f o r the p a r a l l e l v i s i o n s of the f e d e r a t i o n as f o s t e r e d by  Quebec  produce  and t h e Rest  political  peace;  of Canada  t o i n t e r s e c t long  the f a i l u r e s  of the Meech  enough t o Lake and  Charlottetown accords a r e i n some ways a testament t o t h i s .  The  success of A l b e r t a i n arguing a g a i n s t the n o t i o n of "second-class" provinces  had become a cornerstone of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l p o l i t i c s i n  the West, causing i n the process the m a r g i n a l i z i n g o f BC's revamped  87 regional  formula  regional  status  f o r Senate reform within  the  and  i t s concomitant c a l l  federation.  In  short,  for  British  Columbia's r e g i o n a l a s p i r a t i o n s , generated from the p o l i t i c a l c l a s s r a t h e r than from any g r a s s - r o o t s movement, became anathema t o Western  counterparts  and  comprised of t e n equal Also  gone was  the  their  collective  view  of  a  BC's  country  provinces. Western p r o v i n c e s '  chief  nemesis  —  the  Trudeau government and i t s a g g r e s s i v e , c e n t r a l i z i n g p u r s u i t s . With a  more  consensus-oriented  Conservative  and  Western-based  Progressive  government i n power, t h e r e were s t r o n g i n d i c a t i o n s  that provinces  such as B r i t i s h Columbia would not be r e q u i r e d t o  engage i n h o s t i l e t u r f wars with the n a t i o n a l government.  As  the  1980s progressed, concerns about Western a l i e n a t i o n were supplanted by a s h o r t p e r i o d of c o n s t i t u t i o n a l r e m i s s i o n .  The  f a c t t h a t the  search f o r a renewed f e d e r a t i o n had become subdued i n the West i n the post-Trudeau e r a was evident when, i n 1986, agreed  t o r e t u r n t o the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l t a b l e not  unanswered q u e s t i o n s but  the F i r s t M i n i s t e r s t o address  r e g a r d i n g r e g i o n a l i n f l u e n c e a t the  t o b r i n g Quebec i n t o the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l  round" of n e g o t i a t i o n s .  Pandora's Box was  f o l d with  a  the  centre, "Quebec  reopened, and Canada's  f u t u r e as a country remains an open q u e s t i o n .  The BC Government. Regional S t a t u s , and Senate Reform Before c o n c l u d i n g my a n a l y s i s of B r i t i s h Columbia's quest f o r r e g i o n a l s t a t u s , i t seems necessary t o b r i e f l y examine the i s s u e ' s most r e c e n t i n c a r n a t i o n .  Late i n 1995,  following a  terrifyingly  88 close  call  for  sovereignty, by  federalists in  the  second  Quebec  the L i b e r a l government i n Ottawa —  referendum  appearing hobbled  a number of hasty promises i t made t o Quebeckers i n the  days of the campaign — Quebec  with  what  constitutional e q u a l i t y was u n i t y debate.  introduced  was  therefore The  The  last  l e g i s l a t i o n designed t o p r o v i d e  purportedly  changes.  a  question  brought t o the  veto of  over  all  regional/provincial  f o r e f r o n t of the  f e d e r a l government had  future  national-  proved once again t h a t ,  i n the world of Canadian p o l i t i c s , a noble a c t of c o n t r i t i o n can quickly  transformed  into a  harrowing m i n e f i e l d  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l brinkmanship.  The  of  acrimony  be and  78  Myth-Making Power of Government Having c h r o n i c l e d B r i t i s h Columbia's f a i l e d attempt t o  r e g i o n a l s t a t u s w i t h i n the c o n s t i t u t i o n , I w i l l now s i g n i f i c a n c e of myths and p o l i t i c s : Was its  on  BC's  obtain  return to  the  myth-making i n Canadian c o n s t i t u t i o n a l  p o s i t i o n on c o n s t i t u t i o n a l change a f f e c t e d  l a c k of c r e d i b l e myths, and  d i d the  by  p r o v i n c i a l government's  pragmatic approach i n h i b i t the promotion of such myths? I mentioned  I t was d u r i n g t h i s n a t i o n a l debate t h a t the i s s u e of BC's r e g i o n a l s t a t u s rose t o prominence. BC was dismayed t o f i n d t h a t the C h r e t i e n government had — r e p r i s i n g the 1971 V i c t o r i a formula — grouped i t w i t h the P r a i r i e provinces as p a r t of a r e g i o n a l v e t o , w h i l e Quebec and O n t a r i o each had i t s own v e t o . After p r o t e s t s from the BC government and the f e d e r a l Reform p a r t y , the n a t i o n a l government acquiesced by g r a n t i n g BC i t s own v e t o . Of course, i t was only a 'de f a c t o ' veto i n the sense t h a t Ottawa was p l e d g i n g t o use i t s c o n s t i t u t i o n a l l y - e n t r e n c h e d veto t o b l o c k any changes t h a t were d i s a g r e e a b l e t o regions not i n a p o s i t i o n t o b l o c k such changes with t h e i r own c o n s t i t u t i o n a l v e t o . / B  89 i n Chapter One founded  t h a t BC's  reputation  p r o v i n c i a l p o l i t i c i a n s have gained a w e l l -  for  pragmatism  on  a l l issues,  while  p a r t i c u l a r a t t e n t i o n t o economic growth and development. of BC's its  The  issue  r o l e and p l a c e w i t h i n C o n f e d e r a t i o n had been c o n s i d e r e d  politicians  onset  paying  of  as  something unchangeable —  paradigm-shifting  provincialism  at  least until  beginning  in  the  by the mid-  seventies. That  transformation  regional status. the  distinct  province's  brought  with  i t demands  from  BC  for  These demands, however, were s e r i o u s l y hurt  lack  of  historic,  grass-roots  c i t i z e n r y f o r such a concept.  support  among  by the  Had the people of BC been  the impetus behind the c r e a t i o n of such a concept, i t s f a t e a t  the  hands of Canada's f i r s t m i n i s t e r s might have been much d i f f e r e n t . The  BC  government's r e g i o n a l i s t aims r e s t e d on the  t h a t the p r o v i n c e ' s economic s t r e n g t h , geographical  argument  uniqueness, and  burgeoning p o p u l a t i o n c o n s t i t u t e d a separate and d i s t i n c t r e g i o n i n Canada and  necessitated  increased  B r i t i s h Columbia's problem was had  t o p o i n t out and  political making.  players  one of c r e d i b i l i t y ; the f a c t t h a t i t  i n d i c a t e d the  weakness of  other  i t s attempt at myth  Myths, as I mentioned i n the i n t r o d u c t i o n , become commonly  A gap  early  influence.  e x p l a i n i t s r e g i o n a l self-image t o the  accepted only a f t e r a lengthy  what was  p o l i t i c a l power and  i n c r e d i b i l i t y , i f I may  wrong w i t h BC's  '80s.  because one  p e r i o d of  The  BC  put  gestation. i t t h a t way,  i s precisely  quest f o r r e g i o n a l s t a t u s i n the 1970s and  government's c a l l  f o r regionhood rang hollow  cannot c r e a t e myths out of a i r ; they must have  90 a  chance t o  society.  infiltrate  Had  earlier  psychological  g e n e r a t i o n s of  been so pragmatic, had of  the  much  they not been so i s o l a t i o n i s t i n the  better.  r e g i o n a l quest was of m e r i t .  For  the  i n both houses of p a r l i a m e n t . the  might  have  bottom-line  issues  province's  or not  arena  served  their  that  t r y i n g to redress d i d hold a considerable  B r i t i s h Columbia has  meant t h a t  a people  provincial politicians  f e d e r a l - p r o v i n c i a l r e l a t i o n s , they  citizenry  makeup of  this degree  been under-represented i n Ottawa,  I t s s t a t u s as a 'have' province  economic  strength  has  benefitted  have less  f o r t u n a t e p a r t s of the f e d e r a t i o n without any a d j o i n i n g i n c r e a s e i n political must  influence  concur  with  outside Roger  c o n s t i t u t i o n a l accord  of  i t s won  p r o v i n c i a l border.  Gibbins's  declaration  represented a  "tragic lost  that  the  opportunity"  One 1981 to  mend r e g i o n a l cleavages. The BC's  pragmatic  thrust  of  policy-making  prominent  throughout  h i s t o r y , w i t h i t s modern emphasis on economic development, has  provided  the  province  w i t h many t a n g i b l e b e n e f i t s , but  the manner of a coherent c o n s t i t u t i o n a l p l a t f o r m paved the way  t h a t would have  Of course, the nature of  f e d e r a l - p r o v i n c i a l r e l a t i o n s a l s o played a r o l e i n t h i s . 1960s BC  province  had  little  to  get  anxious about  c o n t r o l l e d i t s economic d e s t i n y ,  and  Prior to  i n Ottawa — this fact  —  the  strongly  i n f l u e n c e d t o the i s o l a t i o n i s m of B r i t i s h Columbia's premiers. was  in  t o r e g i o n a l s t a t u s at most, or, at l e a s t , enhanced  i n f l u e n c e a t the n a t i o n a l c e n t r e .  the  little  It  the advent of economic n a t i o n a l i s m and government i n t e r v e n t i o n as  p e r s o n i f i e d by  P i e r r e Trudeau and  his federal Liberals  —  91 t h a t f i r s t caused BC's p r o v i n c i a l p o l i t i c i a n s t o look outward a t Canada's p o l i t i c a l  s t r u c t u r e and c a l l  f o r reform; i t was Quebec  separatism t h a t p r o v i d e d the o p p o r t u n i t y . The  regional  aspirations  espoused  i n detail  i n t h e BC  government's 1978 p r o p o s a l s most c l e a r l y enunciate t h e end of t h e province's isolationism.  But t h e c o n t r i v e d language apparent i n  p a r t s o f t h e document b e t r a y s i t s p r o v i n c e - b u i l d i n g bottom  line.  When these wide-ranging p r o p o s a l s were unleashed on an u n s u s p e c t i n g public  i n the l a t e  s e v e n t i e s , i t seemed t h a t no one —  o t h e r p r o v i n c e s t o BC's own e l e c t o r a t e — of  BC' s argument t h a t  within the federation.  i t deserved  from t h e  q u i t e knew what t o make  a formalized  regional  status  I t i s testimony t o t h e myth-making power of  governments t h a t i n 1996, n e a r l y t h r e e decades a f t e r W.A.C. Bennett first  raised  t h e n o t i o n of a Region  of B r i t i s h  Columbia, t h e  f e d e r a l government took the f i r s t c o n c r e t e steps toward r e c o g n i z i n g the p r o p r i e t y of such a concept.  Although Ottawa's v e t o package  must be taken w i t h a g r a i n of s a l t and accepted as an e x e r c i s e i n p o l i t i c a l expediency, t h e r e i s l i t t l e doubt t h a t i t w i l l add t o t h e s t r e n g t h of BC's d e s i r e f o r r e g i o n a l s t a t u s over t h e l o n g term. Thus, the myth of regionhood corner.  has perhaps  turned a  fateful  I f i t has, i t has been a i d e d by more than t h e p r o v i n c i a l  government's myth-making a b i l i t y .  I t s 'gap i n c r e d i b i l i t y ' has  c e r t a i n l y been d i m i n i s h e d by t h e on-going and seemingly  unending  Quebec q u e s t i o n which has f r u s t r a t e d B r i t i s h Columbians.  And t h i s  f r u s t r a t i o n has been made more p a l p a b l e by the f a c t t h a t , over t h e past few decades, the p r o v i n c e ' s p o p u l a t i o n and economic c l o u t have  92 grown w h i l e i t s p o l i t i c a l i n f l u e n c e w i t h i n the c o u n t r y ' s n a t i o n a l institutions Still,  has  not.  one  question  remains.  Do  BC's  aspirations  regionhood hold v a l i d i t y ? On the whole, the answer i s no. proposal  f o r r e g i o n a l s t a t u s would have provided  The  1978  the p r o v i n c e  with  an i n f l u e n c e i n Ottawa t h a t does not b e f i t i t s p o p u l a t i o n . be the t h i r d most populous province still  f a l l s f a r short of O n t a r i o ' s  deserve the  i n Canada, but and  degree of r e p r e s e n t a t i o n  Quebec's. and  provinces  such  as  Alberta  would  not  BC does not  proposals.  stand  to  It  may  i t s population  i n f l u e n c e a t the  t h a t i t would have been accorded by i t s 1978  for  yet  centre  Certainly,  be  subordinated  (or  lack  r e g i o n a l l y i n such a reformed Senate. And  yet,  Ottawa must  the  still  issue be  of  regional  addressed.  influence  I t seems reasonable  to  of)  in  assume  t h a t , given the p o t e n t i a l f o r the myth of regionhood t o a s s i m i l a t e i n t o the p o l i t i c a l mainstream over the  next number of y e a r s ,  given  growth, BC's  the prospect of f u t u r e p o p u l a t i o n  a s p i r a t i o n s may so.  and  regional  w e l l become r e a l i t y w i t h i n the next h a l f - c e n t u r y  or  93  BIBLIOGRAPHY  Bennett, W i l l i a m R., "Canada: A B r i t i s h Columbia P e r s p e c t i v e , " i n Waris Shere, ed., M i r a c l e s of S u r v i v a l : Canada and French Canada(Smithtown, NY: E x p o s i t i o n P r e s s , 1981) Blake, Donald E., "Managing the P e r i p h e r y : B r i t i s h Columbia and the N a t i o n a l P o l i t i c a l Community," i n P a t r i c i a E. 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