Redress through constitutional change: reimagining the Canada Round for its reparative potential

Date

2022-04-25

Authors

Sherbino, Jordan

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Abstract

The Canada Round was a period of megaconstitutional politics where many of the perennial topics of Canadian politics were viewed through a constitutional lens. This research analyzes the Canada Round of negotiations for its potential to act as a project in historical justice to address the state’s mistreatment of Indigenous peoples. By viewing constitutional change as a means of engaging in political redress, this research offers a corrective to understanding the dynamics of the Canada Round and provides an expanded understanding of redress to compensate for its limited and non-transformative nature in settler-colonial contexts by introducing the idea of redress constitutionalism. Through an analysis of the primary documents from the Canada Round, this research demonstrates that national Indigenous organizations—the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council, the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada, and the Native Council of Canada—sought to employ constitutional change for its reparative potential to address long-standing injustices against Indigenous peoples in Canada caused or worsened by the constitution. Therefore, the failure to significantly renew the constitution was also a failure to significantly engage in redress, remedy their historical exclusion from decision making, and respond to the suppression of their self-determination.

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Keywords

Canada, redress, historical justice, Charlottetown Accord, megaconstitutionalism, redress constitutionalism, constitutional change, Canada Round, constitutional politics

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