Opposition balks Trudeau move
Ottawa — Opposition leaders indicated they would reject Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's offer to delay asking Britain to act on his controversial proposals for constitutional reform. Mr. Trudeau startled opposition leaders Tuesday with his offer to await a Supreme Court hearing on the issue if the opposition agreed to stop filibustering and thus enable quick passage of his proposals in the Canadian Parliament.
Although parliamentary leaders were meeting Wednesday in search of a compromise, informed Liberal Party sources said the government was unlikely to accept an opposition demand that the measures be withdrawn from Parliament. Opposition house leader Walter Baker said Parliament could not pass proposals that had been found illegal by a Canadian court. Tuesday the Newfoundland Appeal Court ruled that the federal government had to obtain provincial consent before asking Britain to amend Canada's constitution.
Liberal Party sources said Mr. Trudeau will take the proposals to the Supreme Court, with or without opposition consent. He had wanted Britain to turn over the British North America Act, which serves as Canada's constitution, as soon as possible after parliamentary passage here.