This year marks the 30th anniversary of the patriation of the Canadian Constitution. And guess what? It took us 30 years to learn that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher wasn’t exactly welcoming to Canada’s Aboriginal chiefs and elders seeking participation in the sensitive constitutional talks that resulted in our legal independence from Britain. And the adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
So reveals minutes from a 1980 London meeting between Thatcher and Canadian Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, according to newly de-classified records.
But don’t worry, the “Iron Lady” had nothing against the “Indians”. Nothing racist, I mean. She was just reluctant “get caught up in the burgeoning political drama of a former colony.”
According to this CBC News story:
Margaret Thatcher told Pierre Trudeau she had no desire to deal with “queues of Indians” knocking on her 10 Downing Street door to voice objections about Canada’s plan to patriate the Constitution, newly declassified records show.
Minutes of a pivotal June 25, 1980, meeting in London between the British prime minister and her Canadian counterpart reveal an early reluctance on the part of Thatcher to get caught up in the burgeoning political drama of a former colony.
According to the minutes, Thatcher said “(Her Majesty’s Government) did not want to be accused of interfering in any way. HMG could help; and if, for example, queues of Indians knocked on the door of No. 10, the answer would be that it was for Canada to decide her future and not HMG.” The previous year a delegation of aboriginal chiefs and elders had spent a week in London, seeking British help to get a seat at the constitutional negotiating table.
During the meeting with Trudeau, it was suggested things would be easier for Britain if Canada “was united in its approach.” MORE