Photo of Ovide Mercredi, Charlottetown, PE, 1992.

Ovide Mercredi, Charlottetown, PE, 1992.

Native leaders played significant roles in the constitutional debates leading to the Charlottetown Accord.
PARO/PEI (Acc. 4547 S.7 file 39 #11).

In 1992, the Mulroney government embarked on yet another round of negotiations designed to resolve Canada's frustrating constitutional impasse. The constitutional conferences that culminated in the 1992 Charlottetown Accord were conducted, in a break with past practice, with full Aboriginal participation. Several provisions in the accord dealt with Aboriginal peoples, another departure in constitutional undertakings. Included was the recognition of the inherent right to Aboriginal self-government, an idea that met with agreement from federal, provincial, and territorial authorities. This concession marked a change in government attitudes from the position taken five years earlier in the Meech Lake constitutional discussions. The Charlottetown Accord was defeated in a national referendum on 26 October 1992. Though the accord itself was lost, the principle of self-government was recognized in these negotiations.

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