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Fighting for Meech Lake

Unfinished business brought the First Ministers back to the constitutional bargaining table in 1987. Many Canadians felt uneasy about Quebec's exclusion from the 1982 Constitution and so the negotiations began again under the leadership of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney with the Meech Lake Accord. CBC Archives examines the backroom lockdowns, the "distinct society" debate and the ultimate undercurrent of constitutional discord.

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Ontario premier David Peterson has a formidable task ahead of him. Support for the constitutional accord has been steadily declining. Before the Newfoundland legislature, a province that has yet to endorse the accord, Peterson pleads his case. If Meech is not accepted, this country will fall apart, he urges.

New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna also addresses the gallery. He is equally passionate. "A wave of intolerance rolls across the country like a tidal wave going back and forth and back and forth until the population feels weak and dissipated," he says in this CBC Television report.
• Politicians, businessmen and academics came to Newfoundland in an attempt to persuade premier Clyde Wells and the legislature to pass the Meech Lake accord.
• Ten years after the failure of the Meech Lake accord, premier David Peterson reflected on Well's firm stance. "He was so wrong, it's almost inexcusable," he said in a CBC Television interview. "I don't know very many thoughtful people who think in retrospect that he did the right thing."
Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: June 20, 1990
Guest(s): Paul Dicks, John Efford, Rex Gibbons, Frank McKenna, David Peterson
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Brian Dubreuil
Duration: 2:49

Last updated: May 21, 2013

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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