PM to recognize francophone Quebec as 'a nation'

PM to recognize francophone Quebec as 'a nation'
November 23rd, 2006  
Team Infidel

Topic: PM to recognize francophone Quebec as 'a nation'

PM to recognize francophone Quebec as 'a nation'
Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in Parliament he would recognize the country's francophone Quebec province as a "nation" within Canada. In an unprecedented move to woo Quebec separatists, he said he would present a motion later in the day asking the House of Commons to "recognize that Quebecers constitute a nation within a united Canada." Quebec has held and lost two referendums on separation from the rest of Canada, in 1980 and 1995. Federalists won the second vote by a narrow margin.

Harper's surprise move, he said, was aimed at blocking "an unusual request" by the separatist Bloc Quebecois to define Quebecois as a nation.
Quebecers typically understand the term to mean "a people," while Anglophone Canadians consider it akin to nationhood, with all the international responsibilities and benefits that come with it.
Politicians have tried to avoid debating this sensitive issue over the past decade, fearing it would lead to a constitutional crisis, or a loss of support in the next election in Quebec province, which holds 25 percent of parliamentary seats.
"For (the Bloc), 'nation' means separation," Harper said.
"Quebecers have always played a historic role in advancing Canada with solidarity, courage, and vision, and to build a confident Quebec, an independent Quebec that's proud and has solidarity within a strong and united Canada, an independent and free Canada," he said. "Do Quebecers form a nation within a united Canada? The answer is yes. Do Quebecers form an independent nation from Canada? The answer is no, and it will always be no."

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