Media Resources: Chapter 07

CBC Archives

René Lévesque and the Parti Québécois
The debate over the place of Quebec within Canada's federal system crystalized in the 1980 referendum on separation. Quebecers voted 59.5 per cent "No" to proceeding with sovereignty negotiations. Premier René Lévesque conceded that the people of Quebec decided to give the federalists a second chance. On the federal side Prime Minister Trudeau admitted that he could not get the disappointed "Yes" voters out of his mind as he and the premiers prepared to return to the constitutional bargaining table.  Their negotiations resulted in the 1982 repatriation of Canada's Constitution.

1995 Quebec Referendum Campaign
A second referendum on sovereignty for Quebec was held in 1995 despite efforts to renew Canadian federalism. With more than two-thirds of the votes accounted for, this clip from CBC Television's live coverage reveals the anxiety as results came in. The "Yes" side surged ahead early; the lead ricocheted back and forth between both sides for most of the night. This footage shows the "No" side gaining significant ground for the first time. In the end, the result was a slim "No" to separatism, as you will read in a future chapter.

Health Care as Federal Policy
One of the best examples of Canadian federalism is the national health care program launched in 1967.  As the BNA Act reserves health care as a provincial responsibility, Canada's provinces are responsible for meeting the national standards of the scheme.  Provincial reaction to national medicare in 1967 was mixed. While most favoured the concept of public health care, Alberta remained opposed to the national program and many provincial governments feared they lacked sufficient equipment and doctors to meet the needs of a system open to all, as we learn in this report.

Elected Senate and Canada's Federalism
Canada's Senate was established as an appointed body in 1867, intended to represent the country's diverse regions.  In the modern era this means the Senate has a credibility problem, since it is not a legitimately elected house. Numerous proposals for an elected Senate have been floated over the years.  In this report, members of a joint House and Senate committee propose an elected Senate with nine-year, non-renewable terms. But the CBC program The House finds the proposal facing stiff opposition. Parliament's lone NDP member still wants to simply abolish the Senate. Quebec premier René Lévesque says he sees little point in "another incipient madhouse added to another." And retired Senator Eugene Forsey predicts that after a great deal of work and wrangling, nothing at all will happen. This illustrates the on-going clash over the Senate inherent in Canada's federal system of government.

TVO's The Agenda

Pharmacare for All
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May have both made campaign pledges to expand prescription drug coverage for Canadians. What would a national pharmacare strategy look like, and what would it cost? The Agenda looks at the various options available to Canadians depending on election results.

The West vs The Rest of Canada
From Ottawa's purchase of Western lands and resources in the 1860s, to an overlooked conference in 1918, to today's debate over the oil sands, mutual suspicion between the West and the rest has been a part of Canada's history since Confederation. Author and journalist Mary Janigan sits down with Steve Paikin to discuss this history in her new book "Let the Eastern Bastards Freeze in the Dark: The West versus the Rest since Confederation." Janigan argues that tensions over who controls the West's natural resources are as old as the country itself.

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