Save section 25 and few subsections, we are better off for having the Charter. However, the Charter's benefits have been vastly overstated and pale in comparison to the damage done by the rest of the Constitution Act. Section 35 comes first to mind, but the damage does not stop there. For all his talk of a strong central government, Trudeau did far more to weaken its powers than any other prime minister. Most notably, the Act gave over to the provinces complete control over natural resources. One reason he has escaped criticism on this score is that Meech Lake and Charlottetown were several magnitudes worse and Trudeau came out solidly against both. (It is hard to fathom the provinces collecting less royalties. This is especially so, as report after report has pointed out, of the oil industry. Canada produces 3.3 million barrels of crude a day, most of it in Alberta. Norway produces 2.8 million a day. The Norwegians started a sovereign wealth fund in 1990 that was valued at $600 billion last year. Meanwhile, Albertans are divided over weather a $300 stipend to each Albertan is too lucrative.)
Of course, however bad the Constitution Act has been for the country it has been even worse for the Liberal party. A provincial government headed by René Lévesque and dedicated to the break up of the country was never going to negotiate in good in faith to secure Quebec's place within Canada. Yet Trudeau decided to plow ahead anyway. In a stroke Trudeau dealt his party a blow they have never truly recovered from. The reason the Liberal party came to be known as the natural governing party of Canada was because of the party's dominance in Quebec. The Kitchen Accord brought an end to that dominance. Until now the magnitude of that injury has been masked by what happened in the wake of the failure of Mulroney's unfathomably stupid Charlottetown Accord. The death of its historic foe made the Liberals appear far more vigorous than they actually were. If the 2015 election proves to be the Liberal party's swan song, no post mortem will be complete without the authors of such a document spending a long time in the Kitchen.