THE NATIONAL DEAL: THE FIGHT FOR A CANADIAN CONSTITUTION
Volume 11 Number 2.
A Globe and Mail political reporter and a columnist have produced a detailed narrative of constitutional negotiations from the May 1980 Quebec referendum to the accord of November 1981. Their stated aim is to chronicle a "political drama" in the tradition of Theodore White's books on American presidential elections.
Sheppard and Valpy amassed countless "personal and political minutiae;" they have passed these on to the reader in abundance. Trudeau, whose style and tactics the authors admire, is the protagonist, but other participants are also delineated with lavish use of adjectives and metaphors. "Oatsy western premiers" share the stage with other premiers and with a variety of politicians and mandarins, federal and provincial. There are detailed reports of meetings and conversations, formal and informal. Over all towers Machiavelli, who is invoked, quoted, and paraphrased.
The result is a chronological re-enactment, with commentary, of the machinations of groups and individuals who influenced the struggle for constitutional agreement. (For a less colourful but more analytical treatment of the topic one might wish to read Edward McWhinney's Canada and the Constitution 1979-1982, (University of Toronto Press, 1982). Sources are not cited in footnotes; there is no bibliography. An appendix gives the text of the Constitution Act 1982. There are also a glossary, an index, sixteen pages of photographs and cartoons, and a chronology.
Louise Dick, Branksome Hall School, Toronto, ON.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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