The Famous “Kitchen Accord”: Now Available in Digital Format!

In 2009, Library and Archives Canada acquired an original copy of the famous “Kitchen Accord”, handwritten by Roy Romanow. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the proclamation of the 1982 Constitution Act, we are pleased to offer to the Canadian public a digitized copy of this document that played a key role in one of the most important moments of Canada’s constitutional history.

To view this record, visit our description in Archives Search: Kitchen Accord, R12830 (MIKAN 3912727)

April 17th, 2012, marked the 30th anniversary of the proclamation of the 1982 Constitution Act. This event concluded a two year process involving intense negotiations between the federal government and the provinces on the proposal to “patriate” the Constitution to Canada.

The constitutional conference, which was held November 2 to 5, 1981, hoped to put an end to the negotiations. No significant progress was made during the first two days of the conference, and the negotiations seemed to be heading to a dead-end. But the public pressure on the parties to reach an agreement was very strong so many last minute compromise proposals were submitted to parties, especially on November 4. An agreement took shape during the night of November 4 to 5. This agreement would be signed the next day by all parties, except by representatives from Québec. One of the most important, and probably the most famous of these last minute compromise proposals, is the “Kitchen Accord”, drafted during the afternoon of November 4 by Jean Chrétien, Roy Romanow, and Roy McMurtry, respectively federal Minister of Justice, Attorney General of Saskatchewan and of Ontario, in a kitchenette of the National Conference Centre, where the discussions were held. This draft agreement included patriation, amendment formula, Charter of Rights, and a “Notwithstanding” clause that would only apply to some parts of the Charter. There is also a reference to minority linguistic rights that were much debated during the negotiations.

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