Canada October 26, 1992

Theme/ Question

To endorse or reject a constitutional reform package that sought to reconcile the conflicting interests of the country's provinces, territories and aboriginal peoples (status of Quebec as ‘distinct society’). Quebec would always be guaranteed at least 25% of the seats in the lower house. The question was framed as:

"Do you agree that the Constitution of Canada should be renewed on the basis of the agreement reached on August 28, 1992?"

Eligibility to vote and electoral design

The referendum was technically a nonbinding guide for the 10 provincial assemblies, each of whose approval was needed for formal ratification of the accord. A "No" vote in any one province, however, had been widely viewed as effectively killing the accord as currently formulated.

Supporters vs. Opponents

Western Canadians tended to oppose the accord because they did not favour concessions to Quebec, whereas Quebeckers voted "No" because they thought the accord did not deliver enough rights to the French-speaking province. Many Canadians voted "No" to vent their anger against the political and business establishment in general and Progressive Conservative Party Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in particular.

Outcome

Nationwide, the "No" side outpolled the "Yes," 54.4% to 44.6%, with 74.9% of eligible voters casting ballots. Metropolitan areas tended to line up behind the "Yes" side.

Other relevant information

The referendum defeat of the proposed reforms dealt a stunning blow to the nation's leading political figures leading to Quebec’s independence referendum of 1995 where 50.58% of the province said "No" to independence while  49.42% voted "Yes".

 

Sources:
Facts on File World News Digest, <http://www.2facts.com>.
Economist Intelligence Unit, Country Reports
Lexis/Nexis & Factiva
Interviews with Policymakers

Suggested Citation: Neophytos G. Loizides, Referendums in Peace Processes Dataset, Queen's University Belfast (available online at http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CentrefortheStudyofEthnicConflict/TeachingResearch/Datasets/ReferendumsinPeaceProcesses/#d.en.173183)