Osgoode Hall Law Journal

Document Type

Special Issue Article


The Charlottetown Accord of 1992 was a set of proposals for amendments to the Constitution of Canada. These proposals were designed to achieve a national settlement of a variety of constitutional grievances, chiefly those arising from Quebec nationalism, western regionalism, and Aboriginal deprivation. The Accord was defeated in a national referendum. In the case of Quebec, the defeat of the Charlottetown Accord, following as it did on the defeat of the Meech Lake Accord, has made the option of secession relatively more attractive, but there are sound pragmatic reasons to hope that Quebec will not make that choice. In the case of the West, there is evidence that the westward movement of wealth and political power is resolving regional grievances without the need for constitutional amendment. In the case of the Aboriginal peoples, the settlement of their land claims and their progress towards self-government can proceed under the existing Constitution. Thus the failure of comprehensive constitutional reform should not preclude Canada from managing the tensions that the reform movement was designed to resolve.