Roger Tassé, architect of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, dies at 85

MONTREAL—Roger Tassé, who is considered the architect of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, died in hospital Saturday in Gatineau, Que. He was 85. His wife, Renée Marcil Tassé, was at his bedside. She told The Canadian Press that Tassé had been receiving dialysis treatment for several years and that doctors had been closely monitoring his condition since discovering water in his lungs. In 1980, Tassé led a team of Justice Ministry lawyers tasked with helping political leaders reach an agreement on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In 1982, he was deputy justice minister in the Liberal government of former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau where he played a lead role in the repatriation of the Canadian Constitution.

During his long career in federal politics Tassé also served as deputy solicitor general in the 1970s, then attorney general. In the 1980s and ’90s he represented the government in negotiations of the Meech Lake accord and subsequent Charlottetown accord.

In 1992, when he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Université du Québec en Outaouais, then known as Université du Québec à Hull, he said the biggest challenge he faced in drafting the charter was “to find the right balance between, on the one hand, greater protection of our fundamental freedoms and, on the other, the demands of the common good.”


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