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Bouchard, already popular, became a sensation: in addition to his medical struggles and charisma, his more moderate approach and prominent involvement in the Meech Lake Accord while in Ottawa reminded undecided nationalist voters of Federal missteps from years past.

Bouchard's speeches asked Quebecers to vote "Yes" to give a clear mandate for change, and that only the clarity of a "Yes" vote would provide a final solution to Canada's long standing constitutional issues and a new partnership with English Canada for the betterment of both. Pursuant to the Referendum Act , both committees were required to contribute to a brochure sent to every voter describing their positions. We're not talking about the Constitution, we're talking about the separation of Quebec from the rest of Canada. Provincial governments were also far more hostile to the constitutional process than they had been in the decade prior, with even the federal government's typical ally, Ontario, being firmly against any pursuit of constitutional accommodation.

French President Jacques Chirac , while answering a call from a viewer in Montreal on CNN 's Larry King Live , declared that, if the "Yes" side were successful, the fact that the referendum had succeeded would be recognized by France. In response to the referendum, aboriginal peoples in Quebec strongly affirmed their own right to self-determination. First Nations chiefs said that forcing their peoples to join an independent Quebec without their consent would violate international law, violating their rights to self-determination.

Aboriginal groups also demanded to be full participants in any new constitutional negotiations resulting from the referendum. The Grand Council of the Crees in Northern Quebec was particularly vocal and prominent in its resistance to the idea of being included in an independent Quebec. Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come issued a legal paper, titled Sovereign Injustice , [63] which sought to affirm the Cree right to self-determination in keeping their territories in Canada. On October 24, , the Cree organized their own referendum, asking the question: "Do you consent, as a people, that the Government of Quebec separate the James Bay Crees and Cree traditional territory from Canada in the event of a Yes vote in the Quebec referendum?

The Inuit of Nunavik held a similar local vote, asking voters "Do you agree that Quebec should become sovereign? Five days before the vote, United States President Bill Clinton , while recognizing the referendum as an internal issue of Canada, gave a minute-long statement extolling the virtues of a united Canada, ending with "Canada has been a great model for the rest of the world, and has been a great partner of the United States, and I hope that can continue.

The "Yes" side was provided airtime for a rebuttal in English and French. Lucien Bouchard was given the task in both languages, with the "Yes" campaign stating that a federal politician should give the response. Fisheries Minister Brian Tobin , expressing anxiety to his staff about the referendum the week before, was told about a small rally planned in Place du Canada in Montreal for businesspersons on October Tobin's Canada AM appearance resulted in calls flooding MP's offices in English Canada, and bus companies volunteered hundreds of vehicles to take Canadians from outside of Quebec to Montreal.

The federal government's intervention in the rally attracted strident protests from the "Yes" side, who felt the discounts and coordination were an illegal intervention in the referendum. Opinions on whether the rally had an impact were divided and unable to be gauged, as the rally happened while the final polls for the Monday referendum were being produced.

The proposal of June 12, was rejected by voters, with The margin was significantly smaller than the referendum. There was a majority "Yes" vote in 80 out of National Assembly ridings. While there was disappointment in the results of Montreal and the Beauce , Quebec City's soft support for "Yes" was the greatest surprise for the "Yes" side.

The riding with the highest "Yes" result was Saguenay along the northern shore with After the result became known, Dumont and Bouchard made speeches accepting the result as part of the movement's democratic convictions and expressing hope that a subsequent referendum would bring a "Yes" victory.

Bernard Landry confronted Parizeau at a Cabinet meeting the next morning about the remarks, stating that the movement "had to hide its head in shame. It was later revealed that he had declared he would retire anyway if the "Yes" side lost, in an embargoed interview with TVA taped days before the referendum. In the event of a "Yes" victory, Parizeau had said he intended to return to the National Assembly of Quebec within two days of the result and seek support for a motion recognizing the result of the referendum.

Parizeau's immediate plans after the referendum relied upon what he felt would be general pressure from economic markets and the business community in English Canada to stabilize the situation as quickly as possible, which he believed would mitigate any catastrophic initial events such as blockades and prepare for negotiations. Despite the prominent placement of Bouchard in the referendum campaign, Parizeau planned to retain all authority with regard to negotiations, and to appoint most members of the negotiation team if they were to occur.

Parizeau's hopes for international recognition , a practical requirement of statehood, rested with France and the Francophonie. In interviews conducted in , Bouchard [] and Dumont [] both believed that negotiations would have resulted had the "Yes" side won and that Quebec would have remained in Canada with a more autonomous status. Bouchard, while approving of Parizeau's intention to unilaterally declare independence should negotiations be refused, [] implied that he and Dumont would have been able to control negotiations and offer a subsequent referendum on a new agreement.

As the referendum was only of force and effect pursuant to a provincial law, neither the provincially sanctioned "No" committee nor the Federal government had any input on the question of the referendum. Federalists strongly differed on how or if a "Yes" referendum result would be recognized.

THE RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION

Reform party leader Preston Manning, a prominent proponent of direct democracy , would have recognized any result, with critics suspecting he preferred a "Yes" vote for electoral gain. Little planning was made for the possibility of a "Yes" vote by the Canadian federal government, with the general consensus being that the referendum would be easily won and that planning would spark panic or give the referendum undeserved legitimacy.

Some members of the federal cabinet met to discuss several possible scenarios, including referring the issue of Quebec's independence to the Supreme Court. Senior civil servants met to consider the impact of a vote for secession on issues such as territorial boundaries and the federal debt. Premier of Saskatchewan Roy Romanow secretly formed a committee to study consequences if Quebec successfully seceded, including strengthening Saskatchewan's relationships with other western provinces , also seceding from Canada, or joining the United States.

When the counting was completed, approximately 86, ballots were rejected by Deputy Returning Officers, alleging that they had not been marked properly by the voter.

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Each polling station featured a Deputy Returning Officer appointed by the "Yes" who counted the ballots while a Poll Clerk appointed by the "No" recorded the result of the count. Controversy arose over whether the Deputy Returning Officers of the Chomedey , Marguerite-Bourgeois and Laurier-Dorion ridings had improperly rejected ballots. All ballots of the three ridings plus a sample of ballots from other ridings were examined. The inquiry concluded that some ballots had been rejected without valid reasons, but the incidents were isolated.

The majority of the rejected ballots were "No" votes, in proportion to the majority of the valid votes in those districts. Two Deputy Returning Officers were charged by the DGEQ with violating elections laws, but in were found not guilty a decision upheld by the Quebec Court of Appeal , after it was found that the ballots were not rejected in a fraudulent or irregular manner, and that there was no proof of conspiracy.

In , the Quebec Superior Court denied an application by Alliance Quebec that attempted to force the DGEQ to give access to all 5 million ballots, ruling that the only authority that could do so expired in Citizenship Court judges from across Canada were sent into the province to ensure as many qualified immigrants living in Quebec as possible had Canadian citizenship before the referendum, and thus were able to vote.

The goal was to have 10, to 20, outstanding citizenship applications processed for residents of Quebec by mid-October. The Canadian Unity Council incorporated a Montreal-based lobbying group called Option Canada with the mandate to promote federalism in Quebec. The Committee handed out pamphlets during the referendum, including a form to be added to the list of voters.

1995 Quebec referendum

The pamphlet gave out a toll-free number as contact information, which was the same number as the one used by the Canadian Unity Council. After the referendum, the DSEQ filed 20 criminal charges of illegal expenditures by Option Canada and others on behalf of the "No" side, which were dropped after the Supreme Court of Canada in Libman vs. Quebec-Attorney General ruled sections of the Referendum Act restricting third-party expenditures were unconstitutionally restrictive under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

After the referendum, the ballot for Quebec elections was redesigned to reduce the size of the space where voters could indicate their choice [] and the rules on allowable markings were relaxed, so that Deputy Returning Officers would have fewer grounds for rejecting ballots.

The Quebec government also changed the Electoral Act so that voters would need to show a Canadian passport, Quebec drivers' licence or Quebec provincial health care card at the polling station for identification purposes in future elections. Parizeau's resignation led to Bouchard becoming the leader of the PQ and Premier unopposed. While Bouchard maintained a third referendum was forthcoming provided "winning conditions" occurred, his government's chief priority became reform of the Quebec economy. Daniel Johnson would resign as leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec, and after significant pressure in English Canada, Charest resigned as national PC leader and was acclaimed as leader of the Quebec Liberals.

Bouchard would defeat Charest in the election , and subsequently continue his government's focus on austerity. Bouchard retired in and was replaced by Bernard Landry who, despite promising a more robust stance on the sovereignty issue, was ousted in the Quebec election by Charest, who would become Premier. Third, we have carefully considered other works addressing the global influence of Canadian constitutionalism, e. Cameron eds.

Last, but not least, we were deeply inspired by the work of Peter Russell, in particular his masterpiece, the Canadian Constitutional Odyssey , which is still regarded as a benchmark in this field. What challenges did you face in writing the book? The greatest challenges were to select the relevant case studies and to strive for internal consistency within the book. The influence of the Quebec Secession Reference is not self-evident in all the legal orders that are analysed throughout the book.

In fact, we were interested in stressing the existence of both explicit and implicit impact of the Reference, and the emergence, even independently of the Reference, of similar arguments and approaches to secession. The chapter by Erika Arban offers a good example of this methodological choice. In fact, the Ethiopian Constitution, with which the chapter deals, predates the Secession Reference, yet its provisions regarding secession try to address similar problems and challenges.

As mentioned before, the Reference has been a turning point in many respects. It made it possible to think of secession as a conceivable option within the legal order. Even if most constitutional systems in the world do not recognise a right to secession, the idea that constitutional law can and should confront secessionist claims has been gaining ground.

Basically, the Reference was the starting point of a shift in the balance between law and politics. We think that the chapters of the book, for all their differences, testify to this ongoing evolution. In light of this, we think that the book can provide a contribution to the debate about the relationship between populism and constitutionalism, the role of referendums, and the concept of majority. We are currently preparing a book proposal for a collective on the constitutional implications and ambitions of Italian populism. Regardless of Quebec government's refusal to approve the constitutional amendment because the promised reforms were not implemented, the amendment went into effect.

To many in Quebec, the constitutional amendment without Quebec's approval is still viewed as a historic political wound.


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The debate still occasionally rages within the province about the best way to heal the rift and the sovereignty movement derives some degree of support from a belief that healing should take the form of separation from Canada. Hence the impression they had in of a breach of trust, of a violation of the national bond's integrity. Perceived as trickery in Quebec, the repatriation [sic] of has placed a time bomb in the political dynamics of this country".

The failure of the Meech Lake Accord—an abortive attempt to redress the above issues—strengthened the conviction of most sovereignist politicians and led many federalist ones to place little hope in the prospect of a federal constitutional reform that would satisfy Quebec's purported historical demands according to proponents of the sovereignty movement.

These include a constitutional recognition that Quebecers constitute a distinct society, as well as a larger degree of independence of the province towards federal policy. In Montreal, June 25, I walked along rue Sherbrooke to Olympic Stadium, submerged in the immense river of white and blue that seemed unstoppable on its march to sovereignty. Three days earlier, Bourassa, former minister of federalism, had hurriedly changed his tune: "English Canada must understand that Quebec is, today and forever, a distinct society, free and able to assume its destiny and its development.

The contemporary sovereignty movement is thought to have originated from the Quiet Revolution of the s, although the desire for an independent or autonomous French-Canadian state has periodically arisen throughout Quebec's history, notably during the Lower Canada Rebellion.

Part of Quebec's continued historical desire for sovereignty is caused by Quebecers' perception of a singular English-speaking voice and identity that is dominant within the parameters of Canadian identity. This is a point contested in other parts of Canada, particularly in places such as Manitoba, which has a significant French-speaking population and where, in the s, that population tried to assert francophone language rights in schools. Speculation persists that the Quebec government opposed this assertion of francophone identity outside of the province because of the impact it would have on the assertion of anglophone language rights within its own borders.

For a majority of Quebec politicians, whether sovereignist or not, the problem of Quebec's political status is considered unresolved to this day. Although Quebec independence is a political question, cultural concerns are also at the root of the desire for independence. The central cultural argument of the sovereignists is that only sovereignty can adequately ensure the survival of the French language in North America, allowing Quebecers to establish their nationality , preserve their cultural identity , and keep their collective memory alive see Language demographics of Quebec.

At the same time, a brutal gesture by the Saskatchewan legislature brought the first language crises to my doorstep. The legislature precipitously abrogated the only law guaranteeing linguistic rights to the French population. It was revenge for a recent Supreme Court decision that had confirmed the constraining power of the law requiring all provincial laws to be available in French. To avoid having to translate all their laws, Grant Devine's government moved to repeal the act. The French community reacted with indignation and asked for federal intervention".

It has been argued by Jeremy Webber and Robert Andrew Young that, as the office is the core of authority in the province, the secession of Quebec from Confederation would first require the abolition or transformation of the post of Lieutenant Governor of Quebec; such an amendment to the constitution of Canada could not be achieved without, according to Section 41 of the Constitution Act, , the approval of the federal parliament and all other provincial legislatures in Canada.

Woehrling, however, have claimed that the legislative process towards Quebec's independence would not require any prior change to the viceregal post. It has also been argued by prominent Quebecers sovereignists and ex-sovereignists, including former Quebec premier Lucien Bouchard that sovereignty politics has distracted Quebecers from the real economic problems of Quebec, and that sovereignty by itself cannot solve those problems.


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  8. Many federalists oppose the Quebec sovereignty movement for economic and political reasons but many also oppose sovereignty on other grounds. For example, since the referendum, in regards to the declaration of Jacques Parizeau who blamed the loss on " money and the ethnic vote ", many federalists considered the sovereignty movement as an expression of ethnic nationalism. How can Quebec be a nation when they have no constitution?

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    We have had a constitution since before the American revolution. Similarly, the Cree have also asserted for many years that they are a separate people with the right to self-determination recognized under international law.

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    They argue that no annexation of them or their territory to an independent Quebec should take place without their consent, and that if Quebec has the right to leave Canada then the Cree people have the right to choose to keep their territory in Canada. Cree arguments generally do not claim the right to secede from Canada; rather, the Cree see themselves as a people bound to Canada by treaty see the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement , and as citizens of Canada.

    If secession were to proceed, the Cree argue that they would seek protection through the Canadian courts as well as asserting Cree jurisdiction over its people and lands. Professor Peter Russell has said of Aboriginal peoples in Canada : " they are not nations that can be yanked out of Canada against their will by a provincial majority With few exceptions they wish to enjoy their right to self-government within Canada, not within a sovereign Quebec.

    Additionally, those in favour Canadian federalism denounce Quebec separation as a ' Balkanization ' of Canada. The history of the relations between French and British descendants in Canada has been marked by periodic tension. Under British rule, French Canadians struggled to maintain their culture, notably outside of Quebec where they became a minority but within the province as well, as much of the province's economy was dominated by British settlers. The type of association between an independent Quebec and the rest of Canada was described as a monetary and customs union as well as joint political institutions to administer the relations between the two countries.

    The main inspiration for this project was the then-emerging European Community. Advocates of European integration had, from the outset, seen political union as a desirable and natural consequence of economic integration. The reason stated was that if Canada decided to boycott Quebec exports after voting for independence, the new country would have to go through difficult economic times, as the barriers to trade between Canada and the United States were then very high.

    Quebec would have been a nation of 7 million people stuck between two impenetrable protectionist countries. In the event of having to compete against Quebec, rather than support it, Canada could easily maintain its well-established links with the United States to prosper in foreign trade. Sovereignty-association as originally proposed would have meant that Quebec would become a politically independent state, but would maintain a formal association with Canada — especially regarding economic affairs.

    In fact, this proposal did result in an increase in support for a sovereign Quebec: polls at the time showed that people were more likely to support independence if Quebec maintained an economic partnership with Canada. This line of politics led the outspoken Yvon Deschamps to proclaim that what Quebecers want is an independent Quebec inside a strong Canada, thereby comparing the sovereignist movement to a spoiled child that has everything it could desire and still wants more.

    In the PQ began an aggressive effort to promote sovereignty-association by providing details of how the economic relations with the rest of Canada would include free trade between Canada and Quebec, common tariffs against imports, and a common currency. In addition, joint political institutions would be established to administer these economic arrangements. But the sovereignist cause was hurt by the refusal of many politicians most notably the premiers of several of the other provinces to support the idea of negotiations with an independent Quebec, contributing to the Yes side losing by a vote of 60 percent to 40 percent.

    This loss laid the groundwork for the referendum , which stated that Quebec should offer a new economic and political partnership to Canada before declaring independence. An English translation of part of the Sovereignty Bill reads, "We, the people of Quebec, declare it our own will to be in full possession of all the powers of a state; to levy all our taxes, to vote on all our laws, to sign all our treaties and to exercise the highest power of all, conceiving, and controlling, by ourselves, our fundamental law.

    This time, the sovereignists lost in a very close vote: However, after the vote many within the sovereignist camp were very upset that the vote broke down heavily along language lines. Approximately 90 percent of English speakers and allophones mostly immigrants and first-generations Quebecers whose native language is neither French or English Quebecers voted against the referendum, while almost 60 percent of Francophones voted Yes.

    Quebec premier Jacques Parizeau , whose government supported sovereignty, attributed the defeat of the resolution to " money and ethnic votes. This law imposes a limit on campaign spending by both option camps. Parizeau's statement was also an admission of failure by the Yes camp in getting the newly arrived Quebecers to adhere to their political option.

    Accusations of an orchestrated effort of 'election engineering' in several polling stations located in areas with large numbers of non-francophone voters, which resulted in unusually large proportions of rejected ballots, were raised following the referendum. While opponents of sovereignty were pleased with the defeat of the referendum, most recognized [ example needed ] that there were still deep divides within Quebec and problems with the relationship between Quebec and the rest of the country.

    Sovereigntism and sovereignty are terms that refer to the modern movement in favour of the political independence of Quebec. The Quiet Revolution in Quebec brought widespread change in the s. Among other changes, support for Quebec independence began to form and grow in some circles. The first organization dedicated to the independence of Quebec was the Alliance Laurentienne, founded by Raymond Barbeau on January 25, These two groups were formed by RIN members to organize non-violent but illegal actions, such as vandalism and civil disobedience.

    The most extremist individuals of these groups left to form the FLQ, which, unlike all the other groups, had made the decision to resort to violence in order to reach its goal of independence for Quebec. In , the RIN became a provincial political party. In , the more conservative Ralliement national RN also became a party. During this period, the Estates General of French Canada are organized.

    Quebec sovereignty movement

    The stated objective of these Estates General was to consult the French-Canadian people on their constitutional future. The historical context of the time was a period when many former European colonies, such as Cameroon , Congo , Senegal , Algeria , and Jamaica , were becoming independent. Some advocates of Quebec independence saw Quebec's situation in a similar light; numerous activists were influenced by the writings of Frantz Fanon , Albert Memmi , and Karl Marx.

    In doing so, he deeply offended the federal government, and English Canadians felt he had demonstrated contempt for the sacrifice of Canadian soldiers who died on the battlefields of France in two world wars. The visit was cut short and de Gaulle left the country. Meanwhile, in the FLQ stepped up its campaign of violence, which would culminate in what would become known as the October Crisis.

    In the provincial election , the PQ won its first seven seats in the National Assembly. In the election , the PQ won 71 seats — a majority in the National Assembly. With voting turnouts high, Prior to the election, the PQ renounced its intention to implement sovereignty-association if it won power. On August 26, , the PQ passed two main laws: first, the law on the financing of political parties, which prohibits contributions by corporations and unions and set a limit on individual donations, and second, the Charter of the French Language.