M2002.131.109 | Repatriation of the Constitution: Trudeau, Chrétien and Levesque in Bed

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Drawing, cartoon
Repatriation of the Constitution: Trudeau, Chrétien and Levesque in Bed
Serge Chapleau
2001?, 21st century
Graphite on paper
43.3 x 35.7 cm
Gift of M. Serge Chapleau
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Cartoon (19139) , Drawing (18637) , drawing (18379) , politics (10928)
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Keys to History

In this drawing done some 20 years after the constitutional negotiations of 1981, the cartoonist offers a completely different take on the "night of the long knives" of November 4, 1981, when the Government of Canada and 9 of the 10 provinces signed an agreement to which Québec was not a party. Chapleau's cartoon echoes the old saying, "Politics makes strange bedfellows."

  • What

    The negotiations between Ottawa and the provinces in 1981 produced a controversial outcome: the Canadian Constitution was patriated in 1982, but without the agreement of Québec, which refused to sign.

  • Where

    The 1981 negotiations took place primarily in Ottawa, the capital of Canada.

  • When

    An agreement on the patriation of the Constitution was reached in November 1981.

  • Who

    The scene shows the minister responsible for the constitutional negotiations, Jean Chrétien, flanked by Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, holding a document titled Rapatriement (Patriation), and Québec Premier René Lévesque, who looks particularly distressed by the situation.