‘The Constitution Act of 1982 was proclaimed on April 17. It was not perfect. I would have much preferred not to have included the notwithstanding clause that limited the charter of rights. But I certainly prefer to have a charter with a notwithstanding clause than no charter at all. I regretted the dropping of the referendum provision, and I favoured the Victoria amending formula that would have given Quebec a veto. But it would have been hard to insist on a Quebec veto after the premier of Quebec himself had given it away in his April 1981 agreement with the Gang of Eight. On the whole, the Constitution Act largely enshrined the values I had been advocating since I wrote my first article in Cité Librein 1950. And most important, it meant that no longer would there be an easy way for provinces to blackmail the federal government by holding out for more and more new powers in exchange for allowing patriation.
‘I knew there would be ongoing constitutional discussions over time, because in a federal state there is always debate about the division of powers. But after 1982, that debate could take place on a level playing field. The people’s package of 1982 settled the issues of bringing home the constitution, with a charter of rights and an amending formula. Future statesmen could now concentrate on meeting people’s practical needs. For the first time since the first patriation attempt in 1927, Canadians had the luxury of giving themselves constitutional peace by closing - for years to come, if need be - this particular can of worms. Who could have foretold that a new government would be so unwise as to reopen it, a couple of years later? But such thoughts were far from my mind on April 17, 1982, when the Queen came to Parliament Hill to sign the Constitution Act. The day began sunny and warm, but ended in a downpour - an omen, I suppose, of things to come.’
from: Memoirs; Pierre Elliott Trudeau; 1993; McClelland and Stewart.