M989.397.95 | Meech Lake Monster

Drawing, cartoon
Meech Lake Monster
Aislin (alias Terry Mosher)
1988, 20th century
Felt pen and ink on paper
26.5 x 29.7 cm
Gift of Mr. Terry Mosher
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Brian Mulroney (44) , Canada (139) , Caricature (294) , Cartoon (19139) , Constitutional debate (80) , Drawing (18637) , drawing (18379) , Meech Lake Accord (35) , Political parties (800) , Politicians (860) , politics (10928) , Politics (1624) , Progressive Conservative Party of Canada (109) , Provincial (500) , Québec or Canada political events (600)
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Keys to History

"In 1988, Brian Mulroney promised that he would bring Quebec into the Canadian fold if the country approved the Meech Lake constitutional deal. Failure to ratify the accord, he stated dramatically, would result in Canada falling apart - thus, this Meech Lake monster cartoon. In fact, the Meech Lake proposal failed, and the country still hasn't fallen apart!"

Terry Mosher (alias Aislin)

  • What

    In 1982, Canada's constitution was repatriated without the approval of Quebec. When he took over as Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney set about to rectify that situation. At the Meech Lake Constitutional Conference his government proposed an accord aimed at revamping the Canadian constitution in order to fully integrate Quebec in the federation. Quebec sovereignists regarded the accord as completely unsatisfactory, while many English-speaking Canadians thought that its provisions on Quebec as a distinct society went too far. Thus, for those in each camp, the tranquil waters of Meech Lake seemed to have spawned a monstrous creature: Mulroney transformed into Frankenstein, the protagonist of Mary Shelley's famed novel.

  • Where

    Quebec, one of the ten provinces that make up Canada, is home to one-quarter of the country's population. Because Quebec's population is 80% French-speaking, Quebec is different from the rest of Canada, and thus for several decades has demanded recognition of its unique status. The Meech Lake Accord sought to affirm in the constitution Quebec's distinct character within Canadian society.

  • When

    Signed by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and all of the provincial premiers in June 1987, the Meech Lake Accord was severely criticized, first by New Brunswick, then by the western provinces. To be enshrined in the constitution, the accord had to be ratified by all ten provincial legislatures by June 23, 1990, at the latest. On that date, however, two provinces, Manitoba and Newfoundland, had failed to ratify it, thereby scuttling the accord. This event led to a sharp rise in the popularity of the nationalist movement in Quebec.

  • Who

    Brian Mulroney was born in Baie Comeau, Quebec, in 1939. He was leader of the Progressive Conservative Party and Prime Minister of Canada from 1984 to 1993.