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Meech Lake: ‘The last supper’

The Story

The latest constitutional conference has been dubbed "the last supper." With the June 23rd deadline quickly approaching, optimism for saving the Meech Lake accord runs thin. On June 3, 1990, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and the ten provincial premiers gathered in Ottawa for another marathon negotiating session. Seven days later, at 10:30 p.m., Mulroney announces that an agreement has been made. "No one loses in the agreement," Mulroney explains. "It has one simple objective: it is about a united Canada. And Canada wins."But there is a condition. Newfoundland's premier, Clyde Wells, says he'll accept the agreement only after receiving his province's approval, either through referendum or a free vote in the provincial legislature. Manitoba and New Brunswick have also elected to submit the accord to their legislatures before June 23, 1990. 

Medium: Television Program: The National
Broadcast Date: June 9, 1990
Guest(s): Robert Bourassa, Gary Filmon, Brian Mulroney, Clyde Wells
Host: Peter Mansbridge
Reporter: Paul Adams
Duration: 5:50

Did You know?

• During the bargaining session, the first ministers also agreed to set up a study on Senate reform. They also established that the "distinct society" phrase wouldn't override the provisions in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Protection for the equality of sexes was also agreed to and included in the accord.

• New Brunswick's Frank McKenna described the negotiations as "a typically Canadian product. It was awkward; it was not pretty."

• With the June 23 deadline looming, Wells found that there wasn't enough time to hold a referendum. A frustrated Wells agreed to settle for feedback from the Members of the House of Assembly.


Constitutional Discord: Meech Lake more