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WELLS_90.F03 = Letter to Clyde Wells; 1990-06-03

                                                 604 des Fauvettes
                                                 Ste. Julie, Que. 
                                                 J3E 1G1          

The Right Honourable Clyde Wells, Premier
Newfoundland Legislature
St. Johns, Newfoundland

Dear Sir:
I am writing you to express my appreciation and support for your very principled stand on the Canadian Constitution, in general, and the Meech Lake amendments, in particular. Of all the people involved, your stand appears to be the only one based on true democratic principles. All others, as far as I can ascertain, are playing power politics - trying to increase their power at the expense of others. The whole process can be derisively described as Constitution of politicians, by politicians, for politicians.

"It must be re-emphasized that in a democracy, such as Canada, the structure and powers of governments are defined by the people via the constitution. It follows that, in a democracy, governments may not change the constitution; only the people can. A country where governments change their powers unilaterally ceases to be a democracy."

The above quotation is an excerpt from my letter (see enclosed addendum) nearly ten years ago to Governor General Ed Schreyer, Prime Minister Trudeau and Saskatchewan Attorney General Roy Romanow at the height of the controversy to repatriate the Canadian Constitution. In this letter, I emphasized the necessity of involving the Canadian people in the Constitution-making process and ratification by means of a referendum. I also presented a mechanism by which such a process could be accomplished.

Sadly, the interests of the Canadian people were ignored and the Constitution was repatriated unilaterally in 1982 without the participation of Quebec. The attempt to redress Quebec's grievances via the Meech Lake Accord is just a continuation of this illegitimate process.

In my opinion, both documents should be superseded by a valid Constitution-making process which would come to grips with major issues such as a reformed Senate, the multicultural heritage and especially the status of Canada's Native peoples.

I would like to treat two particular issues:

The legitimacy of Quebec separation, if the people therein should so desire, was established by Rene Levesque in the 1980 Quebec Referendum. This principle extends to any other province or territory. Surely, one cannot question the right of people to try to improve their economic or social wellbeing, provided that it is not accomplished at the expense of others. There can be little argument over principle. Rather, the challenge is to design Canadian political, judicial and economic institutions with sufficient decentralization and flexibility to be able to realize the aspirations of all segments of society throughout all regions of Canada.

The second issue involves changing the Senate into a House of Regional Representation (the so-called triple-E Senate). I, personally, would prefer to have this body elected on a purely area basis, with each Senator representing a particular physical area rather than a certain constituency of people. This would help compensate for the extreme population disparity across the various regions of the country.

Demographics shows that almost one third of Canada's population is concentrated in the greater Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver regions. The fatal flaw of the one-person one-vote formula is that heavily populated areas tend to grow at the expense of the less populated areas. This has more to do with political power than with economic efficiency. Certainly, the "imperialistic" attitude of the industrialized centres toward the "colonial" hinterland is one of the root causes of the dissatisfaction with the existing political order prevalent in our society.

Once again, I congratulate you on your principled statesmanship on behalf of all Canadians and wish you every success in your endeavour to establish a valid Constitution.

Please feel free to use my letter and ideas in any way you see fit.

Respectfully yours,
William W. Zuzak, Ph.D., P.Eng.

cc: UCC; Alberta Report

WELLS_90.F03 = Letter to Clyde Wells; 1990-06-03

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