Canada's high court says constitution plans legal

Canada's Supreme Court ruled that Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's plans for constitutional reform, opposed by most of the country's provincial governments, were not illegal, as the provinces had claimed.

The court, which allowed an unprecedented national televising of its action, ruled there was no legal requirements that provincial governments should approve any constitutional amendment. But it said there was a convention that the provinces should endorse changes.

It was not immediately clear how the court's action would affect Mr. Trudeau's controversial plan to "patriate" the constitution, the 1867 British North America Act, from Britain, its former colonial ruler. The plan is to ask Britain to insert a charter of rights and a new amending formula into the act.

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