The Constitution Act, 1982: the Foreseen and Unforeseen

Hon. Barry L. Strayer


I started preparations for my first constitu- tional conference in an office overlooking Was- cana Lake nearly forty-seven years ago. I was a young lawyer in the Department of the Attor- ney General of Saskatchewan. Prime Minister Diefenbaker had announced that there would be a Conference of Attorneys-General in early October 1960, chaired by Justice Minister Ful- ton, to seek agreement on “Repatriation of the Constitution.” As I expressed interest in the conference to the Attorney General, and had recently taught constitutional law for a year at the University of Saskatchewan, I was made the secretary of the Saskatchewan delegation. This involved most of the work of research and writ- ing position papers and speeches. But it also in- volved making hotel and travel reservations for which I claimed no particular skill! Of course, after four such meetings in 1960 and 1961 we reached no agreement on repatriation, but it gave me on the job training in constitutional reform.

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