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During the 1980 referendum debate in Quebec, Pierre Trudeau had committed to bring Quebec into Canadian confederation. He saw the way to this end through the act of repatriating the Canadian Constitution form Great Britain with an amending formula and entrenched rights for all Canadians. After the Federal forces were victorious in the referendum, Trudeau quickly set to work to come up with an agreement among the Provincial Premiers which could be taken the British Parliament with the request that they pass an act giving recognizing Canada's complete sovereignty over all matters in Canada.

Talks and negotiations with the provinces quickly broke down and by 1981 Trudeau had decided that he could go it alone and constructed his own constitution and act which he sent to London for approval. The provinces all reacted strongly against his actions and in a Supreme Court decision the judges decided that while he could implement his plan unilaterally, Canadian tradition had included the participation of the provinces. After much soul searching the Premiers and Prime Minister decided to make one more attempt at reaching an unanimous agreement for  bring home the constitution and they convened in Ottawa in November of 1981.

Most of the Premiers, known as the gang of 8 had come to the conference with the objective on increasing provincial powers at the expense of the Federal government and it was not until Trudeau convinced Levesque to agree to a deal which would see a referendum after 2 years in exchange for his support, was the solidarity of the gang of 8 broken. That night, November 4th, Jean Chretien, Roy Romanov of Saskatchewan and Roy McMurtry of Ontario meet in the kitchen of the Chateau Laurier Hotel and hammered out an agreement that dropped the "opt out" clause from the agreement. This consensus of the Federal Government and 9 of the provinces, without Levesque and Quebec, was agreed to.

The next morning saw the arrival of Levesque at the breakfast meeting and the rolling out of the agreed upon deal by the rest of the participants. Levesque who had just the day before betrayed the other Premiers was outraged at their betrayal of him. He left the conference and announced that Quebec would reject the deal by using it's veto power over an deal. The Supreme Court of Canada issued a ruling on December 6, 1982 which effectively rejected any notion of a Quebec veto over the agreement.


On April 17, 1982 after the Canada Act had been passed in the British Parliament, it was signed into law by the Queen at a ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Canada finally had brought the constitution and the Charter of rights and Freedoms home.