Exclusive: Stephen Harper’s legal challenge to Quebec secession

The PM’s position is nearly identical to Jean Chrétien and Stéphane Dion, writes Paul Wells

Paul Chiasson/CP

[UPDATED: I have now embedded the documents discussed here at the bottom of this post so you can read them in their entirety - pw]

On Wednesday the Attorney General of Canada intervened in a Quebec Superior Court case, calling for Quebec’s iconic Law 99 to be thrown out. This is the first time Stephen Harper’s government has taken any formal legal position on Quebec secession, and the position it has taken is practically identical to those Jean Chrétien and Stéphane Dion used to hold.

This will take some explaining.

The Clarity Act was not the final word in the legal battle between the Chrétien Liberals and Lucien Bouchard’s Parti Québécois government. The Clarity Act, tabled in 1999 and given royal assent in 2000, set out Parliament’s obligations in the event of a provincial referendum on secession. (Really, a Quebec referendum.) It demanded that Parliament judge both the clarity of a question and then, later, of any referendum majority, before beginning to negotiate secession. And it described the subjects that must be discussed in such a negotiation.

But Bouchard could not tolerate what he perceived as an outrage against Quebec’s right of self-determination, so he had the National Assembly pass Law 99, “An Act respecting the exercise of the fundamental rights and prerogatives of the Québec people and the Québec State.” Passed only weeks before Bouchard resigned as Premier, Law 99 is a sweeping declaration that only Quebec voters and the Quebec National Assembly can decide Quebec’s place inside or outside Canada. It is a self-issued license for unilateral declaration of independence, and amounted to a declaration that none of the Chrétien-era legal battles over secession, culminating in a Supreme Court reference and the Clarity Act, had ever happened, or that if it had, it need not hinder Quebec:

3. The Québec people, acting through its own political institutions, shall determine alone the mode of exercise of its right to choose the political regime and legal status of Québec.

4. When the Québec people is consulted by way of a referendum under the Referendum Act (chapter C-64.1), the winning option is the option that obtains a majority of the valid votes cast, namely 50% of the valid votes cast plus one.

13. No other parliament or government may reduce the powers, authority, sovereignty or legitimacy of the National Assembly, or impose constraint on the democratic will of the Québec people to determine its own future.

The Chrétien government made no legal challenge of Law 99. Neither did any of its successors. It fell to Keith Henderson, the last leader of Quebec’s dying Anglo-rights Equality Party, to challenge the law as an individual. His lawyer is Brent Tyler, a frequent advocate for anglophone rights back in the days when language politics were more salient in Quebec politics.

It’s taken 13 years for their challenge to get anywhere at all. Lawyers for the Quebec government — and recall that for most of this time, the Quebec government in question was Jean Charest’s — have defended Law 99 by (a) stalling whenever possible; (b) insisting that the law is a general declaration of principles, and that any specific challenge to its provisions is too hypothetical for courts to consider. Henderson and Tyler have won against those arguments, but it has been slow going.

Now it seems that Quebec Superior Court is preparing to hear the case, for real, in 2014. And suddenly things have gotten very interesting very quickly.

First, Tyler and Henderson filed a “Re-Amended Motion for a Declaratory Judgment,” essentialy re-stating their entire case for the umpteenth time, and it’s a broadside against almost every paragraph of the Bouchard law. One example among many:

“It lies within the power, not of “the Quebec people,” acting alone, but of the people of Canada, acting through the various governments duly elected and recognized under the Constitution, to effect whatever constitutional arrangements are desired within Canadian territory;”

But it goes on for 17 pages. With lots of such arguments.

So second, the Quebec attorney general’s lawyers filed a defence, and for once it was an argument on the facts, not a mere stalling tactic. I hope to post all these documents soon, but to summarize, the Quebec AG’s defence is curious: it argues, in effect, that this law spelling out “fundamental rights” of the Quebec people does no such thing, and that there is no need to view its provisions as any dispute with Canadian law and the Canadian constitution. I believe that, if they read the Quebec AG defence and were honest with themselves, Quebec sovereignists would be as upset at their own government’s attempt to low-bridge Law 99 as with any other part of this drama.

But the third event is the big one. Faced with the blatant contradiction between Law 99′s plain language and the circumstances of its adoption on one hand; and the these-aren’t-the-droids-you’re-looking-for defence of AG Quebec on the other; the federal Justice Department is intervening, for the first time in 15 years, to assert the primacy of Canadian law in any debate over Quebec’s future.

AG Canada argues in two steps: First, that “Sections 1 to 5 and 13″ of Law 99 “should be read down so that their potential scope of operation is brought within the limits of the legislative power of Quebec authorized by the Constitution of Canada.” “Reading down” is a form of judicial pruning: if a province makes grand claims about its authority, a court may “read down” the language so that it can mean no more than what a province is able to do within its jurisdictions. Essentially, the feds are asking the Quebec Superior Court to declare that Law 99 is mere throat-clearing with no more legal meaning than if the New Brunswick legislature had announced an ability to repeal gravity.

Secondly, if the Court finds it can’t read down these provisions, AG Canada says it should simply declare them “ultra vires” — outside Quebec’s constitutional competence — and therefore “of no force or effect.”

To make things clear, the feds call on the Court to declare: “that (1) under the Constitution of Canada, Quebec is established as a province of Canada, and (2) the impugned Act does not and can never provide the legal basis for a unilateral declaration of independence… or the unilateral secession of the ‘Québec State’ from the Canadian federation.”

There’s a lot more detail (even than what I’ve given!) but I can’t cut-and-paste the documents I have, and half of them are in French, so some of that will await another day. A few things are worth pointing out.

First, Stephen Harper has been kept personally apprised of the progress of the Henderson/Tyler challenge to Law 99. William Johnson, the journalist, Anglo-rights activist and author of the first book-length Harper biography, has been writing to Harper to urge him to act against Law 99.  ”I urged Harper to send a reference to the Supreme Court on Quebec’s Bill 99,” Bill Johnson told me in a letter in February of this year. “The (unofficial) feedback I received from someone close to Harper was that, for Harper to act on 99, there would have to be a groundswell of support in the media. So I’m working on it, perhaps awkwardly, but with determination.”

Johnson got precisely nowhere in his attempt to make Law 99 a matter of public controversy. He couldn’t even get me to write about it. But the Justice Department and Privy Council Office have lawyers who watch every twitch in this case, regardless of any public attention. Finally this month they decided the Quebec government had made arguments on the fundamentals which required rebuttal.

The other thing that strikes me is that there was no public announcement of the federal government’s action. I found out about it when Brent Tyler wrote to me, sending me the pertinent documents. When Chrétien intervened in 1997 in a Quebec lower-court case on secession, his Justice Minister Allan Rock sent out news releases, held news conferences, explained every move. This time it was all under the radar until now.

But the law is the law. Once again there is a direct legal confrontation between the governments of Quebec and Canada over the manner in which Quebec would one day leave Confederation, if it could. Stephen Harper, author of the Québécois nation motion in the House of Commons, has made a new move.

UPDATE, 5:20 p.m.: Here are the documents discussed in this article. First, the re-amended motion from Keith Henderson and lawyer Brent Tyler, calling for Law 99 to be thrown out:

Next, the response from Quebec’s Attorney General, saying this is much ado about hypotheticals:

Finally, the intervention from the Attorney General of Canada, calling for Law 99 to be “read down” or thrown out:




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Exclusive: Stephen Harper’s legal challenge to Quebec secession

  1. LOL. 7 years of government by stealth, and now he knocks off CETA and Quebec seccession on back to back days.

    • Yes, his timing sucks.

    • Maybe you’re getting just a wee bit giddy there? As the prophet says, nothing is written.

    • Sounds like something that might have been said of Mulroney just before the PC party was smashed to pieces.

    • The Quebec court has finally decided to hear the case.

  2. Don’t look to the Clarity Act to set out Canada’s role in a referendum, look to the Supreme Court’s decision in Re: Secession (which the Clarity Act in many respects had to observe verbatim, because that’s all it had the authority to do and the Liberals weren’t constitutional crazies.) And recall the Supreme Court will trump both regular federal or provincial legislation as well as the Quebec Court’s decision, none of which will be enforceable to the extent they differ from the SCC’s judgment.

  3. why is AG intervening now? Is he trying to pre-empt some action planned by the PQ based on Bill99?

    • The Harper government has taken the position, as the Chrétien government did before, that the claims of the Quebec government lawyers at court are so sweeping they can’t be allowed to stand unchallenged, or it would seem the federal government had no problem with those claims. The “action” is the lawyers’ arguments themselves.

      • Why now and not in February?

      • fine but, only population decide. They have accept a 50.9% decision, everybody will have to decide the same in a similar decision for the YES in a next referendum.

  4. Wait! NB repealed gravity? Why wasn’t I told??

    • It hasn’t repealed gravity, it has replaced it with levity instead.

      • LOL…

  5. Can’t bring myself to open those docs just yet…but, if i have this
    right? The QC liberals foot dragged[ low bridged] on supporting the
    anglo or non francophone community for close to 13 years[ as did the
    federal libs for some of that time, which might explain some of their
    decline in QC]. It’s nothing to worry your little heads about was the
    message, it doesn’t mean what you think it might mean – no reason to
    upset the apple cart. And Harper’s done nowt for 7 years either.
    Now a PQ govt is saying pretty much the same
    thing….lowbridging… thereby betraying its constituency in turn; It
    doesn’t mean what you think it does, go back to sleep. And now the feds
    step up.
    Why? Why now? Why the PQ betrayal of its principles? Why the Harper move on that? Just because the matter has finally made it up to bat? A matter of principle? I doubt it, a bit late
    for that surely? Political advantage? Why not, it’s Harper? What’s to be
    gained? Queering the pitch for JT? Always possible. And what of the CPC’s
    recent …we ought to let the province sort it out pitch to
    Franco-phones outside of Montreal, over the PQ charter? But that was
    yesterday’s chess move i presume.[.It might explain the lack of public
    fanfare though]

    • Your comment is almost incomprehensible. Before you ramble…think through your arguments. Try to use somewhat reasonable grammar. Think about what you want to say and be reasonably concise.

      *sigh*
      Regards,

      A bored law student in Contracts class

      • Maybe?But this is a blog, not a law review. I merely asked a series of questions and wondered if there were partisan political considerations underlying the move. The fact you bothered to go to the length of telling me exactly who you are , what you know, as if that gives you moral authority to judge, leads me to fear you might turn out to be yet another of those smug, self satisfied , arrogant little pricks that so frequent study law.
        Get some perspective please. Regards.

  6. 1. I had no idea this was going on. After all these years of praising Dion for his clarity act, it’s hilarious that not a single soul in the media found it even noteworthy to mention this bill 99. Kudos to Wells for actually reporting the news. A big thumbs-down to all others in the Canadian media for one more in a long line of failures to report anything that might fly in the face of their own political agendas. Canada’s media is an embarrassment.

    2. Nice to know there are still a few anglophones with balls in Quebec (not many though).

    3. Kudos to Harper for doing the right thing.

    4. A big thumbs-down to a justice system that could allow any case to drag on for 13 years. This is another embarrassment.

    • The Liberals deserve less than no credit for the Clarity Act. During the 1995 Referendum, they did everything they could to prevent Henderson and Tyler from spreading their ideas. The Liberals only passed the Clarity Act after the near loss, when it became clear that they would lose their voting base in Quebec if they didn’t.

      • No credit except for, you know, passing it. And the freamework changed completely in 1998 after the supreme court ruled on the matter.

        • Nonsense. If they wanted a Supreme Court ruling, they could and should have asked for one well before the 1995 Referendum.

          Instead they mocked anyone who brought up these issues as “extremists”, and did everything they could to bury all discussion until it couldn’t be suppressed any longer, and started to gain traction. It was only THEN that the Liberals nipped over to the head of the parade and tried to pretend that they’d been leading it all along. It was absolutely disgusting, and I will never forget it.

  7. I have hatred towards the people who attack democracy and Quebec. Now, I really hate conservatives. If he wants to create problems, it is on the right path.

    • Opponents of federalism – both the separatists, and the self-styled ‘moderate’ federalists, also claimed that the Clarity Act was an attack on “democracy and Quebec”. They were completely wrong, of course.

      Not only that, but after passing the Clarity Act, the Liberals got more votes in Quebec in the next election than they had in the past two. It wasn’t just morally and legally correct, it was actually popular. The fact is that Quebeckers respond well when our leaders finally find the basic decency to stand up for the law.

      • So, a province getting a majority of votes at 60% couldn’t step out of the federation BUT a government (any provinces or federal) can lead the country and spit on the opposition with only 35% of the votes ?

        Tell me how you really care about democracy! A province should always be able to decide about it’s future alone. The feds have nothing to do in the question.

        I see all this situation to be a proof that Quebec should become sovereign. The feds are trying to take legal actions and they did used fraud to get to their objectives, they know that if they don’t take extreme measure we’ll leave. And I still wonder why they are afraid, most separatists plans are to keep a strong economic bond with the Canada but to remove a government stage that is more than 30% a copy of what we already have here.

        Another point : Most peoples in Quebec voted Liberals because they had no really other options. The Bloc wasn’t never a serious option, neo-democrats were’nt populars… you are left with the liberals or the conservatives… And most people here won’t vote for a conservative party…

        • At 60 % it would be clear that a province would wish to secede. The Clarity Act does recognize that a province can secede when it is clearly the intention of its citizens. At 50 % plus one vote, a person could rationally think the next day it no longer is 50 % plus one but 50 % minus two. The 50% plus one vote is totally ridiculous. The margin has to be higher than the usual margin of spoiled ballots encountered in every election that involves millions of ballots. Quebecers love to quote the NFLD referendum – and that precedent would be a good threshold (52.3%).
          No matter what percentage a party receives, the fact remains that we vote to elect individuals to parliament and governments must have the confidence of a majority of its 308 members to act legitimately.

          • And the fact that both system are used by people thinking they are democratic is ridiculous.

            The point about the 60% : if you ask for people if you want to leave, 45% of people can decide to stay. If you ask people if they want to stay, 45% of people can decide to leave…

            This is why we have to keep the 50%+1. I totally agree that a vote where we get a majority at 50,5% is too tight. But at the same time, depending of the question you use one group is clearly at a disavantage.

            If the feds want to keep the clarity act, I want the question to be a yes/no about staying in the federation. If they don,t agree with that, they clearly aren,t working for the democraty but for their own motive.

          • The question should be a simple yes/no about leaving the federation. QC is already in – there is no reason to have a vote for staying in. Referendums are held when a change is being considered, not when nothing is being considered. The people of Quebec have to clearly indicate, in a simple yes/no question their intention to leave the federation, with a clear majority, well above the average of spoiled ballots present in all voting that involves millions of ballots.

          • Why should the question should put the separatist at a disadvantage ? In fact, we should actually do a referendum to actually sign the constitution…

            I’d prefer that the Clarity Act ask for a minimum of participation. That would be equal for everyone. Yes I do want the Quebec to be sovereign, but in fact I’d hate the separatist to have an advantage in a referendum. I don’t want the feds to have one with a clarity act, I don,t want the sep. to have one too.

          • Don’t forget that this proposal was put on the table by Stephen Harper when he was a Reform MP. The Quebec Contingency bill, which was never adopted, included a referendum held by the federal government on the same day as the QC referendum asking if citizens wanted their city to remain in Canada. You have every right to want an option to partition the QC territory. I don’t think this is a desirable situation.
            Why sign the constitution? No province has signed it anyway. The constitution was signed by PE Trudeau, J. Chretien, A. Ouellet and Elizabeth II. It became law because it was adopted by a majority vote in the Canadian parliament, including, possibly all MPs from QC. This ‘signing the Constitution’ is a myth.

          • Your ‘myth’ is what I don’t like about the federation. the other 9 provinces gave their approval to the constitution act. Quebec never did. And in my opinion, it matters.

            The federal government always went out of their rights. They kept the income taxes after the war, they did used fraud to block the last referendum, they nefer used any referendum to include Quebec in the federation (it failed for NB, they never tried for Quebec, they made the right party win the vote and never asked public opinion on the matter).

            Harper pushed the fixed date election law and was the first to go against it once he was in palce. He use cheap political moves to force his laws to get trough.

            I really don’t see why Quebec should stay in a country that tried for more than 200 years to make us lose our curtural identity (and they are still trying…)

            We (Canada and Quebec) are actually losing a lot of time and money on politics because we don’t have the same values and the same opinions. We got a lot of ministry in double because of that… We also have many programs that won’t fit together because they try and fail to follow the needs of west and east Canada…

            In my opinion, each provinces should be independent and de federal government should manage territorial issues : army, natural resources, environment and health legislation. About the other programs : provincial power. If provinces want to join their program together they can do it. If one of them don’t want to it shouldn’t be forced to. I think it is a problem when you have to wait on 2 government to move on a project. And I don’t want a nation-wide central government.

            As for the Clarity Act : it has to act on the question clarity, on a minimal participation rate. Those are important points that weren’t really controlled on the last two referendum. As for the 67% rule, I still think they are only trying to push something to try to demoralize people… For this Act to be valid, it should include all referendum, even municipal ones. It should be a change on the way we take the “important” decision nation-wide and not only take act on a secession matter.

            You either apply a rule to all occurence of a situation (referendum on an important decision) or don’t apply it.

          • In the upcoming referendum on Scottish Independence, the British government (equivalent to the Federal government in the Canadian situation) is prepared to accept a 50%+1 outcome, however the (clear) question that is being asked has been jointly determined by the Scottish and British authorities. Would those pushing for an Independent Quebec agree to similar arrangements in the preparation of any referendum, if it meant that the narrowest majority would be acceptable?

          • In fact I think it has to be that way. The final question that will be voted for has to be made by both government to be legitimate.
            I would even add a minimum participation rate for the vote to be valid.

            I want Quebec independance but not at the cost of a cheap politic maneuver… It has to be done in proper ways. I don’t want to kick out Canadians of here, I want to be able to decide for my own future and don’t live a life that Alberta (or any other provinces) voted for…

          • Thanks Sebastien for considering my question.
            I too live in Quebec and do not want Quebec independence at the cost of some cheap political maneuver. I agree with you that the requirement of 66% or 60% for an important vote to pass is not universal in law (even if it is quite common), but I do think it quite understandable that opponents to independence (both within and outside of Quebec) might find it difficult to except 50%+1, when in the previous referenda they have had zero input in the setting of the question. You seem sympathetic to a mutually ‘agreed’ referendum question, but do you see any evidence that many others in the independence movement share that opinion?

          • I’d say most of those I know agree that the last 2 questions were clearly made up to fool people or some even state that we lost because the questions ere poorly made and people didn’t knew what they voted on… I don’t think most separatists will like the idea to have Otttawa include in the question writing. But as far as I know, a referendum question is never written by only 1 party. Each referendum I saw in my life (saw enough to state this out) each party had to internally vote on the question and approve it before de referendum. Longer procedure… I’d even invite other countries likes France, Great Britain, USA, to take position on the question. That will help on getting a neutral question.

          • I’d say a question agreed upon by Canada and Quebec is quite satisfactory. I see no need for foreign involvement. And yes the margin should be 50% plus 1 off ballots cast.

          • Normally major changes to any organization require a two thirds majority. It is changes that demand this level of result, not simply staying with the status quo.

            As to the question, in the first referendum the question was ambiguous in that it proposed the “sovereignty-association” relationship with Canada that had not been negotiated, and which probably would not be accepted by anyone else. The second referendum’s question was so convoluted that it could have meant almost anything.

          • I agree about the questions. We should vote on a clear plan and agreement that would take place, not only a question…

            As for the major changes : Your “normal” isn’t normal. People tends to use that rule, but nothing in any laws or book force it. Usually people put it in place to block a decision, then the rule stay in place. I saw it happend 2 times…

            If the 50%+1 rule would give an advantage to the feds. they would keep it that way. They claim to protect the people but if we turn the situation around they wouldn’t push it as hard as they do. This is why I would like a vote about “staying there”. If the feds. are really trying to protect the decision of the majority, they would also push the 66% for that type of referendum too.

            AND : why don’t they use it for any new laws they vote on ?

            Really, the 66% rules would have to be put on when nobody needs it to be legitimate. Now that someone can take advantage of it it’s not time to make changes.

            And : thank for the discussion here. Usually people just get too frustrated on the matter to bring in decent point and facts. :) And sorry if sometime my English sounds bad… I don’t use it enough :-s

          • Pas probleme pour l’anglais. Moi je pratique la langue francaise pas suffisament, surtout en matiere ecrite. De plus les lettres accentees ne sont pas convenables avec mon clavier.

            En tout cas la regle de 67% est etabli pour organizations ‘a but non lucratif’ agrees dans tous les provinces sauf C.B., ou le gouvernement demandent 75%. Pour la constitution canadienne il est typiquement 7 sur 10 provinces s’il n’est pas parfois meme 100%.

        • Nonsense.

          Separation is a permanent constitutional change. As such, it requires substantial consent – well over 50% – and consent from everyone affected by it, which means all of Canada. Even the party constitution of the PQ requires 67%+ for any change.

          That’s simply a standard throughout the democratic world – the usual level required for constitutional changes is generally from two thirds (67%) to three quarters (75%). The threshold for any constitutional change in Canada is indeed 50%+1, but throughout the entire country, and with a majority in at least seven provinces – not just 50%+1 on an unclear question in a single province.

          And separation must be negotiated. The idea that the PQ could claim 50%+1 as justification for an illegal act of revolution – even if they did count the votes honestly, unlike 1995 when they cheated – and dictate terms to Canada, is absolute insanity.

          They could at best claim a mandate to begin NEGOTIATING separation. But everything would be on the table, including how to split the federal debt, and which parts of Quebec’s current territory would remain within Canada.

          • “The threshold for any constitutional change in Canada is indeed 50%+1″
            But for a province to change his own membership in Canada, it’s not right to go to 50%+1 ? Re-read yourself please. We’re not even asking for a constitutional change, we’re stepping out of it. We’re telling to others Canadians that we no longer want to be linked to their politic.

            I totally agree about the unclear question, it has to be done at least like England and Scotland : both party have to work on the question.

            And if you read my other comments, you’ll see I favor voting on an actual separation plan rather than just a question of “would you like to do it”. I don’t want to state on the matter before knowing how it would be done.

            And a minimum participation rate is required (like the 7 out of 10 provinces for constitutional change). The majority of the population have to vote on this. This is what matters : if we get a participation rate at 55%, I totally agree that’s not representative. Even with a 67% rule, if we get a 55% participation rate, that would means the independance would have been chosen by less than 36.85% of the population, which isn’t right.

          • A province leaving Canada is taking territory away from ALL Canadians – so it requires a change to the constitution of the entire country. It affects all Canadians, not just Quebeckers.

            The question of what level vote would be required to begin negotiations is political, and maybe a Yes vote of 50%+1 in Quebec would be enough if the federal government of the day accepted that. However, that alone would only begin negotiations. It would not in any way make separation legal. For that to happen, there would have to be a specific constitutional change, and it would have to be adopted through the usual amendment process.

            The problem is that the PQ is trying to claim that a simple majority of 50%+1 of whatever number of citizens vote would give them the right to declare independence unilaterally, without negotiations of any kind, without accepting Quebec’s share of the federal debt, and that they would have the right to keep all of Quebec’s present territory. That’s completely false, and any such attempt to declare independence unilaterally would be completely illegal under Canadian AND INTERNATIONAL law. It would only lead to violence and chaos.

          • Tonight I’ll take time to read the full Constitution Act, to rule out the fact if that it’ll take or not a Constitutional change to step out of Canada.

            As for the federal debts, Ducceppe stated that if we are to leave with a part of the federal depts, it’s normal that we keep those assets. So if we leave with some army debts, we’re going to keep everything linked to it. Which is normal.

            If the PQ stated otherwise, never heared of it. Beside, I don’t vote for them actually, I don’t trust them on getting out of the old separatist “war”. A new party is forming up, Option Nationale, and they main objective is to get Quebec independance and work with Canada towards a strong economic collaboration and stop losing time with cultural squabble.

          • I can assure you, it will take an amendment to the Constitution.

            I imagine Quebec could claim some federal assets – but it won’t be up to Quebec to dictate the division, and the assets may not outweigh the amount of debt Quebec has to assume. It’s wrong for the PQ or any separatist party to pretend that they wouldn’t have to negotiate these issues, or that the negotiations around this division of debt and assets would be easy.

            Option Nationale is the party that was founded by Jean-Martin Aussant – the former PQ member who has since emigrated to the United Kingdom because he couldn’t get a decent job in Quebec. That hardly inspires confidence…

          • Actually reading the Constitution, and it hitted me : a lot of changes have been made to the constitution without public vote. And as I read for now, a lot of work have already been done to remove Quebec from the constitution. Number of siege in the House of Common don’t rely on Quebec anymore (for example). Removing Quebec from Canada would only result as removing chairs in the Parliament.

            As for the federal assets : I never stated out it’ll be easy. It won,t be that hard, but it will take quite some time to sort this. And nobody will dictate the division : we state out the value of each assets, see wichs % goes to Canada, wich % goes to Quebec and we use this to figure out how much money Quebec owes to Canada and how much we’ll keep and how much we’ll give back. Will take time yes, but it’s not impossible to do.

            Option Nationale lost their leader to his family and he took a job offer in a domain outside CANADA. Yes, he couldn’t find a job in the entire country. He moved to England. A political man left for his family. Really outrageous. No really we should pass a law that once you’re in politic, you have to die to leave it. (Sorry, I really needed to take that out of my chest. Do you seriously attack a man who decided to take care of his family ?)

            I’m still reading the Constitution and really hope to find where we’ll need a solid amendment to take Quebec out because with the last amendments, as far as I read it won’t take more than liquid paper to get our name out of there.

          • Bill 99 is all about whether Quebec would have to negotiate separation. Bill 99 states very clearly that Quebec gets to decide everything, and has no obligation to recognize anything that the Parliament of Canada decides. See for yourself:

            http://www.canlii.org/fr/qc/legis/lois/lrq-c-e-20.2/derniere/lrq-c-e-20.2.html

            The federal goverment is challenging this on the ground that Quebec is trying to legislate something that is beyond its authority.

            As for Aussant, of course he has the right to take a job in England. But I, and many others, believe he loses a lot of political credibility by doing so.

          • Now that I’ve read the Constitution (in English, to be sure we’ll read the same text), I can clearly state out : No extreme change would be needed for Quebec to leave. Removing Quebec from the Constitution won’t affect any other provinces in the constitution. If you don’t agree with this, tell me which point you think that would need a amendment and we’ll talk about it. Otherwise this point is closed : Removing Quebec from constitution will only need liquid paper. No more.
            All the work to remove Quebec from the Constitution have already been done by the past. We only need to erase references to our province and we’re out. Beside, the last constitution have amendment that state out that if one province don,t give it’s approval, the constitution don’t take effect on their territory until they come to an agreement. Which is where I can say : we never signed the last constitution. And the rest of Canada never cared bout it. Do you really need other proof that we have to step out of the federation ?

            I read the Clarity Act too. Bill 99 also.

            The amendment the Supreme Court is talking about probably refers at the fact that the constitution don’t have an “go out” mechanism. I totally agree that an amendment should be done on that point, but it should be done for all provinces, not only for Quebec, or else it will go against the last couple of amendment made to iron out provinces specials rights. But for that we would have to agree on the constitution first before amending it. But beside of that, we actually can erase out Quebec from the constitution without any problems. Look for one in the constitution, you’ll see, there’s none.

            For both the Clarity Act and the Bill 99 : they are both legitimate. The Clarity Act don’t take position on a percentage, Bill 99 does. Bill 99 state out we,re the only one that can vote on our independence, and it’s right. No other provinces can vote on it. But as stated earlier, to assure the question neutrality and clarity, both the federal and provincial government has to agree on the question. Which is completely normal.

            All of this is only new cheap political maneuvers to bring up old can of worms. The only point we need to take position on is the percentage of vote required. And my opinion : 50%+1 is a clear majority when you get at least 75% of participation. At 67% of clear majority you would need only 56% of participation, which isn’t enough. 60% of participation on a matter that important isn’t representative of anything. You’re 67% clear majority with no minimum participation rate can be “less clear”… As far as I know, the Clarity Act is actually the most unclear act you could possibly imagine to get for a referendum vote.

            Get the federal government to state out on a percentage, like the provincial one did, then we’ll be able to have a real debate over it. Before that, we’ll just debate on air.

          • If you’re correct in your analysis of how simple it all is, then the PQ has nothing to worry about, because the court decision will be in their favour.

            However, I’m pretty sure your analysis is incorrect.

            We’ll see what the court says.

          • I made it simple to we can debate on facts and not on where a coma should be placed.
            The court will have a hard time to get the Bill 99 out, because it don’t clearly act against the Clarity Act. Both Bill are kept vague on a couple of poitns and this is where the court have to take position.
            And in the event they state that the Bill 99 isn’t illegal but the Clarity Act will take precedence (which would be in my opinion the only way out of this mess), the 50%+1 rule would apply on a question deemed clear enough for the federal, Quebec population will all have the rights to claim their independance and the federal will have to engage negociations with the province if the “Yes” win.

            But for now, I see all of this situation as an attemp from both old federalist and separatist to bring up old fights between people. Both Act are results from that fights and should be ammended to make them clear.

          • Reference re Secession said that secession was to be treated as a constitutional amendment. So it would seem logical that the same requirements that would apply to all amendments, would apply to the secession process. I would be interested to hear your response.

            I am writing a paper on this topic for my American law school. While I am trying to learn as much as I can, you Canadians and Quebecers live and breathe this issue and your insight will trump my research.

          • I have a question for you : Do you really think the other countries will agree that all Canada have to vote on Quebec’s secession ?

            The Constitution have no secession mecanism. And this is why we’ll have to amend it. But the federal government try to force us to belive that 7 provinces out of 10 will have to agree on our secession, which is totally wrong. It’s like asking Scotland to accept that all Great-Britain vote on their referendum.

            But to have a neutral view on this you should get your hands on all informations wrote by the Supreme Court on this. Althought I don’t see them as neutral since they are named by the government, they will have a wider view on the matter ;-)

          • Will other countries agree that all of Canada must vote on Quebec’s secession under international law? Some might and some might not. Though, many people did not like the way the supreme court applied international law in Reference re Secession. They felt it ignored other instances where provinces seceded unilaterally, and limited its focus on former colonies or oppressed peoples to much.

            But, it seems the solution to Quebec’s problem is to simply get a large majority to vote “yes” on secession. The larger the majority, the harder it would be for the world and Canada to justify the status quo, even-though the Supreme Court said “democracy does not trump federalism.” 50% plus one will probably not be enough.

            I share your skepticism about the supreme court. They needed to find a politically acceptable answer to a legal question, and in the process created the confusion that lead to the Clarity act…

          • “Do you really think the other countries will agree that all Canada have to vote on Quebec’s secession ?”

            Yes – those that respect international law will. Canada’s allies will. Any country that wants to maintain friendly relations with Canada will. And any country that has any separatist movement of its own that it doesn’t want to encourage, will.

            All of which means that the new illegally-declared Republic of Quebec pretty much can expect NOT to be recognized by any country in Western Europe, continental North and South America, Australia, or most of Asia.

          • Man… you really think the other countries will let something like this go on ? Read all of this again. We’re talking about the fact that people living outside Quebec don’t have a word to say about Quebec staying or leaving.

            What you,re implying is that everyone will team up to force Quebec staying in the country ? And you wonder why separatist hate federalist ? You really wonder why Quebec hate Canada ? You got a clear answer here : Canada always forced Quebec to be a part of it.

            Do we really need to do a war and kill people to get out of that bullshit ? If that’s so, let things heat up out there and eventually you’ll get your war.

          • No, I’m saying that the rest of the world will not recognize Quebec independence without Canada’s consent. That’s a simple fact, and it’s criminally dangerous for separatists to refuse to recognize it.

            And you’re misrepresenting the case. Nobody in Canada wants to keep Quebec prisoner – in fact, most Canadians would be more than happy to have disloyal Quebeckers out of their country and paying their own bills instead of draining money from the rest.

            However, Canadians are NOT going to tolerate a unilateral declaration of independence in which Quebec attempts to refuse to pay its fair portion of the federal debt, to kidnap three and a half million loyal Canadians, to seize federal property without compensation or negotiation, and to impose its will on aboriginal nations that want to remain Canadian and on territories in Quebec where a clear majority wants to stay Canadian. If Quebec tries that, there certainly will be violence. And QUEBEC will be to blame.

          • And there will be violence the day Canada will try to bring out the Constitution to invalidate any referendum they agreed on the question.

            If nobody in Canada wants to keeps Quebec prisoners, why are you still trying to tell me that all Canada will have the right to vote about Quebec secession ? You don’t live in Quebec you don’t get to vote. You are not the Qubec’s government, you don’t get to vote. You live with Quebec decision. And this is what the bill 99 state out. Keep you hands out of our referendum if you don’t live here. Period.

            And you’re totally wrong on one point : never, in any laws or public declaration, a Quebec Prime Minister stated out that once we’ll leave Canada we’ll kidnap people and refuse to pay our share of the debt. It is a 100% normal that we pay for any federal assets staying in Quebec. And we won’t force people to stay. If Canadians want to go back in Canada they’ll be able to.

            And I think your position on aboriginal people is funny. You wanna protect those people who got their terrotory stole by Europeans, but you want to rules on Quebec territory ? Seriously ?

          • There will never be any need to invalidate a referendum, because a referendum has no legal effect. However, a unilateral declaration of independence is something different; and if a government of Quebec tried to declare independence without the consent of Canada, that’s completely illegal. Any independence for Quebec must be negotiated with Canada, period.

            Because the independence of Quebec would very directly affect all of Canada. All Canadians would be giving up their rights to move to Quebec and work in Quebec.The division of territory, debts, and assets would involve the rights and obligations of all of Canadians. It is NOT something that people in Quebec have a right to dictate without any regard for Canada.

            And I’m afraid you’re the one who is mistaken. Parizeau had every intention of declaring independence from Canada unilaterally the very next day. And the leaders who follow him say the same. As I pointed out earlier, Bill 99 itself claims that everything is for Quebec to decide, and Canada has no say.

            As for aboriginal peoples: in 1995 the Cree had their own referendum, and it was over 95% in favour of staying in Canada if the rest of Quebec voted to separate. Are you saying that Quebec wouldn’t respect that? Cree land wasn’t even part of Quebec until 1960 – how could Quebec possibly justify an illegal attempt to seize it after an illegal declaration of independence?

            Note that after the 1995 referendum, Parizeau himself admitted that he was planning to let the Mohawks in Kahnawake remain part of Canada. How would you force them to join Quebec?

          • I never said I would force anyone to join Quebec or stay in Quebec or block any borders to Canadians.

            And get your fact straight : It is to nobody but us to declare our independance. Since when a law prohibit a whole population from declaring their independance ? The Clarity Act even state out that Ottawa will have to enter negociation about the independance if we were to seccede.

            Declaring our independance is our rights. Our responsibility will be to answer to Ottawa when they’ll call to start the negociations about the federal assets and the territory. Canada have nothing to say about if we,re going to leave or stay. You doN,t have the right to vote on the referendum itself. And yes, you will ahve to live by the fact we’re leaving. But as it has been stated out many times in this thread, Quebec can’t leave without it’s share of federal debts and without getting in negociation about a couple of things.

            But to Canada to actually have the right to vote on our secession ? No. You won’t have anything to say about it. The day we’ll decide to leave Canada, no Canadians outside Quebec territory will have the right to lift a finger about it. But Canada don,t only have the right, but Quebec will be forced to take his part of debts. All buildings and assets staying in our terrytory (buildings can’t move) will have to be paid by Quebec. This is a 100% normal.

            In fact, actually I don’t even know why you,re back on this discussion ? Still angry I prove you wrong the last time ? Still mad that I clearly rules out the question about Bill 99 AND Clarity Act and proved that both laws need clarifications but are actually right in their demands ?

          • You’re completely wrong. Quebec is a province of Canada; Quebec has always been a province of Canada. As such, Quebec does not have the right to declare its independence without the consent of Canada, period. It doesn’t matter how many times you say it does; your saying so doesn’t invalidate the laws of Canada, or international law. The Supreme Court didn’t say what you seem to think it did.

            There’s no such thing as a right to declare independence. The only legal way for Quebec to become independent is through an amendment to the Constitution of Canada, passed according to the amendment formula defined in that Constitution. And that means it requires the consent of at least seven out of the ten provinces, representing at least 50%+1 of the population of the entire country of Canada, including Quebec. Many of those provinces require that the amendment be approved in a provincial referendum before the provincial government can accept it. So as a matter of law, people outside Quebec absolutely WILL have a right to vote on the terms under which Quebec is granted independence. And THAT is entirely normal and fair, because it will directly affect THEIR rights.

            I came back to this article because somebody else linked to it, and I noticed that you had commented again. I’m not angry. Furthermore, you haven’t proven anything. You have in fact just ignored all the proof I offered last time. You seem to think that if you keep saying the same thing over and over again often enough, that somehow cancels out the decisions of the Supreme Court and the provisions of international law. It doesn’t.

            As I said before, the court will decide. If you’re right, then you have nothing to worry about. But I’m sure they won’t, because your position isn’t based in law or reality – you’re basically just repeating separatist propaganda.

            When your side loses, you can even appeal to the United Nations. And the United Nations will tell you the same thing: Quebec has no legal right to separate without Canada`s consent.

          • It is hilarious to read you. You really think you are right with your federal propaganda. But you aren’t. You never brought up anything in this discussion. You hid behind a Supreme Court statement that is clearly pointing out that some points in the Clarity Act are wrong.

            And beside, just tell me one country that would accept all those political manoeuvers to try to force Quebec to stay in Canada. If we go back in time, nobody but USA decided to seccede. Same thing for all ex-USSR country.

            Read the constitution yourself and find me an article that need to be ruled out before Quebec get to leave the federation. The only thing I can see that you’ll have the right to vote is the part of the federal debts we’ll be taking with us. And it would be hard to make referendums on this. Provincial governments would have to agree on that plan thought.

            But nowhere I ever saw any secession where the whole country get to vote for a specific part of it to leave. We’re not cutting Canada in half, We’re not representing half of the population, and as you seems pleased to say we’re not even representing something for Canada’s economy.

            So instead of trying to get bill 99 down, should’nt people work on getting the Constituion ammended on the terms of a leaving province (not only Quebec, but a wider view on how debts share would be calculated). Because this is where Canadians will get a right to vote.

            But for Alberta to vote if they let us leave ? No. They don,t have anything to say in this. They will totally have the right to stand up and defend federal assets, nothing more.

          • That`s right, there is no explicit mechanism in the Constitution for how a province (or rather, PART of a province) can separate. That’s why the Supreme Court ruled that it would require an amendment to the Constitution. And they said clearly that Quebec does NOT have the right to declare independence on its own.

            As I said, if there’s any ambiguity to be resolved, the challenge to Bill 99 will resolve it. But I’m sure there isn’t.

            In the meantime, why don’t you answer those questions I asked, which you have ignored? Do you recognize the right of the Cree to stay part of Canada if Quebec separates? If not, how are you going to force them to come along?

          • It’ll be a little more complex than this, but : Their actual territory will be managed and regulated by Canada. Anything outside their territory will be managed by Quebec. And all required agreement would probably be signed between Quebec and Canada, where Canada act as representants of the Cree if they ask them to do it (they totally can represent themself, but we can’t turn down their right to be represented by Canada).

            So yeah, they have the right to remain a part of Canada. They are more or less another nation living in a non-working-country. And I ignored the questions before because they are not revelant to the discussion, but here,s your awaited answer.

            And there is ambiguity to resolve. Or it wouldn’t had took years to solve that matter. But we should work on the Clarity Act at the same time, because Bill 99 is only a direct reaction to this. Quebec patched problems in the Clarity Act.

            I got a question for you, after all of this discussion : What do you think of federalist trying by all means to keep Quebec in the federation ? My point have beed state trought the thread : We can’t build a strong country while we’re still fighting over our cultiral difference. And I can’t understand why federalist try to turn down that fact. English and French people have been in more war than most others countries, and this have been brought with them in North America. And as far as I know, France and England are separate country.

          • I don’t think Canadians want to keep Quebec in Canada “by all means”, if by that you mean against the will of Quebeckers. I think Canadians in general do still want to have Quebec be part of Canada, but not by force. And I do think more and more Canadians are getting fed up with Quebec separatism.

            I don’t see what England and France have to do with it. They haven’t fought any war that I can think of since Napoleon. In fact, they have spent most of the 20th century getting closer to each other – while Quebec tries to separate, England and France have been making closer trade and border agreements with each other, and with other countries in Europe.

            When you mention cultural differences, what do you mean? I know Minister Lisée and others have tried to make a big deal out of anglophones in Quebec not knowing who Marie-Mai is, but does that really matter? There are minor cultural differences everywhere. There are cultural differences within the United States, but it’s still a single country. The same is true in any large country, I think.

            If you mean the Chartre des Valeurs, that isn’t a case of English vs French. It’s a case of ethnic nationalism vs individual rights.

            I also think that it’s a manufactured crisis. There is no massive influx of Muslims trying to impose sharia law in the civil service – that’s ridiculous. The PQ is trying to divide people, and to hide the fact that under the PQ in the past year, Quebec’s debt has expanded while the number of jobs has gone down.

            (As you may have guessed, I’m not a big fan of the PQ!)

            The biggest difference I see is language. And there, French-speaking Quebeckers have their own French language schools, and hospitals, and universities. While there are fewer francophones outside Quebec, they too have rights to their own institutions in places where they live in significant numbers. I don’t mean to exaggerate that, but Quebec politicians (who WANT Quebeckers to feel they are under siege) minimize it.

          • England and France aren’t the same country. They can work on economical bounds and step out of discussions if something don’t go as they want to. because they are separates countries. They stopped losing time fighting each other and worked toward something that would serve both countries.

            When I talk about cultural differences, I don’t talk about Anglophones not knowing Marie-Mai. I talk about Anglophones not understanding why the Charte des Valeurs is important for us. I also talk about the Quiet Revolution that brought major changes in our visions of the government. I’m also talking about how we each manage our government. Do we see major problems between provincial and federal government in Canada ? No. But here, even the PLQ is fed up with the federal government.

            And with Quebec staying in Canada we’re losing time on political matter brought up by those differences while we could work on something useful, like economy.

            Beside : I’m not a fan of the PQ too, Marois did 2 messy reform in healthcare and public schools and people still trust her to be able to lead the province… Never really understood why she won beside the fact that people got tired of Charest…

            Last point, about the Sharia : no, there is no massive amount of Muslim trying to impose the Sharia in Canada, but one of the leader of the anti-charte movement is clearly one of the pro-sharia leader in Quebec. I don’t know if he’s still on stage, I totally stopped listening to that group when I saw him walking in front of them. I still listened to other independant peoples ou small group, those who are also against the Sharia…

          • There are still difficulties between other provincial governments and the federal government! No other province has a serious separatist movement (yet), but the disagreements are there. That’s natural. That’s how it’s supposed to be. Part of why Canada was made into a bunch of provinces instead of a single unitary country, was so provinces would provide a balance to the central government in Ottawa.

            While I agree that the PLQ is not strongly pro-Canada, I think there attitude isn’t because of any special problem with Canada. It’s partly because the PLQ wants to get the vote of soft nationalists, and partly because they’re eager to blackmail the federal government into giving them more power.

            I think the Chartre des Valeurs is very specifically designed to appeal to very longstanding fears of French-speaking Quebeckers being swamped by the Other. And Quebec is very deeply divided on it (I live here too, so I know).

            I don’t think it’s accurate to say that it’s important for “us” (by which I assume you mean French-speaking Quebeckers). The divisions are not completely along the federalist/separatist or Anglophone/Francophone divide. There are some Anglophone federalists (not many, but some) who share the fears that are behind it and agree with it. There are plenty of Francophones who think it’s a terrible idea that demonstrates an ugly and intolerant attitude that doesn’t belong in Quebec. Its opponents include many Francophone separatists, like Jacques Parizeau and Lucien Bouchard.

            [I may have to leave soon, so forgive me if I don't answer your next post.]

          • I saw some people (can’t say if it’s a trend or not) that were against parts of the Charte. And as a pro-Charte, I agree that most points that were raised by people that needed revision or severe discussion need to be took on a serious discussion.

            But a question I asked most people and they mostly agreed the point the followed : What are we trying to stop exactly with this ? The fact that people wears religious sings or to stop public showing of what we consider immoral value ? From my point of view, the Muslims needs to clarify the meaning of their own sings. Their government don’t even agree on it (the extremist ones)…

            And I think the Charte is an extreme measure to face extremist. Some points in the Charte are correct, and most people agreed to them. Some needs clarification or work to be accepted.

            And we can manage the independance matter the same way : some points of Quebec leaving Canada are accepted (or can be) by both side. Why don’t we stop putting energy on the global situation and break it apart to clear out what are the real problems ? I think we’ll agree that the problem is not Quebec declaring it’s independance, but Quebec leaving without negociating about federal debts and territorial matters. The fact we’re the only one to vote about leaving or staying isn’t a problem, the fact that some separatists think we’ll have all the right to tell to Canada how we’ll be leaving is the problem. All the provinces have to take position on what’s going to happen if a province leave.

          • with a majority vote on succession Canada will be forced into negotiations, Areas to be settled during these negotiations are territory and debt/asset division. Once agreement has been reached quebec can seperate. One seperate or maybe before but its not essential are partnership/ trade agreements, citizenship rights, border controls, mutual defence etc etc. If agreement is reached other countries will accept and recognize quebec. If no agreement is reached and Quebec declares a UDI then it becomes more touchy on who will and won’t recognize it.

        • you are completely ignoring the flaws of bill 99

          • And you are probably completely ignoring the flaws of the Constitution and the Clarity Act. It is completely immoral to tell an entire population they would be able to seccede only if you deem it right and that you’ll eventualy state out the acceptance percentage that would take.

            Both Act were made to piss off people. But they can be reformed to be useful. We should focus on going somewhere far away from old fights and get an ending to this.

    • This comment was deleted.

      • Québec has accepted the 50,6 % NO vote in the last referendum.

        You think that Quebec is NOT democratic? lol. You obviously are an anglo-imperialist …

    • I think you are wrong, Quebec is nothing but a cry baby always throwing a tantrum when it doesn’t get what it wants.

      My parents immigrated to Quebec since I was 5 yrs old, I am fed up of being held hostage. We voted NO to 2 referendums! What part of NO did’t the separatists understand?

      They the separatists have shoved and IMPOSED there culture and language down our throats.

      Not to mention embarrass us world wide with pasta gate and the language police.

      This Province is now the 2nd poorest in Canada, I highly doubt it, that separating will will improve its economy, but it will sure speed up it into bankruptcy like Greece.

      Quebec needs to be put back into its place once and for all, a hardline stance should be taken against it. You want to separate you forfiet your Canadian citizenship. No sharing of the Canadian currency, get your own army, and renegotiate all trade agreement with USA and Canada.

      Canada should give all immigrants and others as well as companies, Head offices, who wish to stay in Canada a 1 to 2 years to move to another province.

      Enough Is Enough I speak 4 languages and fed up of this racist Province of Quebec.

      • “I think you are wrong, Quebec is nothing but a cry baby”

        Apparently, you take yourself for a god, as if you are the king of the world?

        Newfoundland had vote 2 time against to be a part of Canada, and the third time the “Yes” win with 52%.

        What now? If Newfoundland want to left Canada, they will have need the permission of the rest of Canada? …

        By the way, the OCDE compare the debt of Quebec with Germany, our economy is good. If we are so poor as you say, why would you keep us as a dictator?

        • This comment was deleted.

          • Sorry for the cursing but : wtf am I reading here ?

            It’s not you who got money thrown to your face because you couldn’t speak a proper english… I understood everthing of what the customer asked for but had to show the total price on the cashier because it always take a seconds before I read numbers in english. If you think english people are angels you’re wrong. That language debate have to finish.

            Most first world countries agreed on the bill 101. They took the time to state out it was necessary. The last one wasn’t necessary though… but it helped. Stop watching Sun News and get out in the street. Montreal have less francophones because we lacked some important rules about which language is learned first here. The language police media talked about made about 5 or 6 errors then it changed their rules. Now they won’t talk of it anymore because they are doing a good job.

            And : poorest city in NA ? Where did you get that ? As far as I know Detroit is in a situation way worse than Montreal. In fact a lot of city in USA are in a worse situation than Montreal. Montreal still have an economic growth. It has slowed down a lot with the last recesion, but as far as I know they still have lights and their police still have a salary, which isn’t the case everywhere. Situation could be better but it’s not as worse as you’re saying.

            And, those taxes pay for public system. I agree they aren’t managed at best, but studies have shown that getting the same services in USA with private insurance would cost around 65% more than what you,re actually paying on taxes (on a 100k$ yearly salary basis). If you want to live with less tax you can go and get a job somewhere else. Nothing prevent you to do it. If having less taxes would be better for the population why is USA failing so much while Norway is one of the best place to live now ?

        • What now? If Newfoundland want to left Canada, they will have need the permission of the rest of Canada? …

          they need permission from the natives because newfoundland is STOLEN LAND.

          • Native was with french people together for to protect some lands when the english attack our region. Lot of french today share blood with native. Quebec respect a lot more native than Canada. Keep it in your mind and start to learn some history lesson on Quebec and native.

      • The majority of Québec population has voted YES for separation in 1995. It’s only the cheating of the federal and roCians votes that’s made the short NO win possible.

        • Except the majority of rejected ballots in the 1995 referendum were “NO” ballots, meaning we won DESPITE their attempts to screw the referendum. Furthermore, those that were accused of falsely tossing out the ballots were brought before the Court of Quebec and, surprise surprise, let off the hook. Big shock that the corrupt Quebec government covered its ass once again when they got busted screwing its people over..

          • Any ballot rejected in Westmount had to be a NO, forcibly.

            It’s quite normal that fresh immigrants voting for the first time in their life and anglo-kenedians coming to vote in Québec referendum from all over the roC did not know exactly how to mark their choice in Québec.

        • The majority voted on a question they never understood.

        • actually both sides cheated

          • - >56000 voters never really existed, all located in >95 % NO vote ridings.

            - Hundreds of thousand roCians who came for the – illegally sponsored – Love-In and voted the next day using a disposition in the law permitting ex-Québec residents the right to vote.

            - >40 000 immigrants were manipulated to move to Montréal in 1995 and instructed to vote NO at the referendum to save canada and their newly acquired citizenship.

            - 30 million dollars were illegally spent by the federal government in this campaign which was 600% beyond the legal limit.

            ~~+~~
            Your turn …

    • does that mean you hate the pq as well?

  8. About time! Thank goodness the Conservatives are finally, FINALLY doing something about this odious and illegal law. Good for Henderson and Tyler – I wish them every success.

  9. Waste of time. Should Quebeckers decide to go, they will go. No current law or court rule arising from that will matter. Secession is a revolution even if it is shaped as a referendum. It is revolution against laws of old country. Any negotiations which may commence at that time will go within framework of international law.

    • And international law will say “sorry, no country for you.”

    • except not really because bill 99 is flawed.

  10. I support Quebec in this and I am in Harper’s riding.

    • You’re hoping to be rid of them?

      It would not be anywhere near as simple as many people think.

      Negotiations would be protracted and would result in much bitterness on both sides.

      The separatists have all sorts of cartesian logic in their claims that separation would be just so, and Canada would grant a whole series of concessions, and the borders would be the same as those of the province, and on and on.

      But no negotiation process ever ends up with ALL the position of one side being taken and none of the position of the other side.

      • In a general sense, while many negotiations are difficult, many more actually fail because they are too difficult to get off the ground. Seriously, what are the chances every province and the Federal government would be able to come to an agreement they were willing to sign to change the constitution to allow Quebec to leave? Especially since only Quebec would have a stake in the matter, everyone else can demand whatever they want with no loss if they don’t get it.

        So I don’t believe they’d be protacted and bitter, I believe they would be short, unfruitful and bitter.

        • Heh heh heh… several provincial governments of Quebec have made it very clear that they would demand much from the other provinces in Canada and more from the federal government. Not only Quebec has a stake in the matter.

          Reneging on a fair and reasonable partition of the national debt, for example.

          Plus of course there are political issues surrounding the boundaries of the putative new country, with many groups in Quebec having expressed dissatisfaction with being dragged out of Canada. Ontario would be most affected, but Nunavut might take an interest as well.

          Even the Americans would take a sharp interest if, for example, anyone should try to convert the St Lawrence to anything other than a free international waterway. Plus they would insist on negotiating the entry of the new country into trade agreements rather than allowing the assumption of agreements made with Canada.

          Citizenship as well would enter into it, with only those born in a part of Canada that remained Canadian being able to automatically retain Canadian citizenship. Other provinces would not want non-citizens being allowed to move wherever and be allowed to vote, for example. Dual citizenship would be possible, but would require the usual many years of landed immigrant status and paperwork.

          • You’re wrong about other provinces having a stake (a real stake) in the matter – and I should have made clear the matter means a successful independent Quebec. That’s not to say they could not be AFFECTED, but If the status quo is acceptable to a party and their consent is absolutely required for a change the other party really wants, there is really nothing they have to care about and aren’t at risk.

          • It’s probably why the actual separatist discussion is always crashing in a wall : Old separatists have been hearded, but they spoke nonsense for most of their demands.

            It is normal that we part with a share of the national debts. It is normal that we sign a pact with Canada and USA for the St-Lawrence. It is normal that we don’t remove Canadian citizenship to those who want to keep it. And we can even agree with Canada to give out canadian citizenship to newborn for a couple of years.

            It’s not the economy that fails between Canada and Quebec. It’s the fact that we don,t have the same values and our government fight each month about this.

            Sadly for the group that would get dragged out of Canada, it will happen. Did we really enjoyed being dragged in Canada ? And did we really enjoyed losing Labrador ? No. That territory argument is only fear propaganda from federalist. Quebec won,t build new customs offices only to block Canadians to go trough our territory. Or Ottawa and Hull would become a real mess…

  11. Now we should reversed the question. Do you really want to stay in Canada? If there is 60% of YES, we will stay. So easy to play the canadian way.

    • There have been a number of misconceptions peddled about regarding the “clear majority on a clear question” bit, but absolutely nobody thinks this passes muster, mon ami.

    • So you are a supporter of partition of the Quebec territory?

  12. If you allow the “will of the people,” or the whim of the people, as I call it, they will break up the country, any country, and mess everything up.

  13. It’s up to the Quebec people to decide? We said “no” how many times now? Enough already!

    • It’s up to the Quebec people to decide if they want to open up good faith negotiations to amend the constitution of Canada to no longer have Quebec (a great loss, I am sure I am not alone in feeling). But it’s up to every province to decide if an offer can be put on the table they would be willing to sign.

    • Rest assured – the “It’s up too Quebec people to decide….” is the BIG LIE Chretien and his FIBERALS – spent their years in ‘Power’ – brainwashing Canadians into believing – while this same PRETEND Federal – Party ERASED ALL our Rights, and ALL ability to communicate OUT of existence in what they turned into la YECH – Province! We’ve been FORCED to endure – 30 years of a TOTAL dictatorship – that has criminally re-written ALL our laws – into oblivion — FORCED to endure being totally shut out of ALL Quebec political Party’s (in itself a CRIME) – shut out of the WORKFORCE – 90% of our schools CLOSED — 99& of our English Media ERASED — and our English language being declared ILLEGAL – for God’s sake!! Now tell me – all you non Quebeckers – do you know there are 2.5 MILLION non French – LOYAL Canadians living in the Greater Montreal Area – whop ARE NOT ALLOWED – to live or work in OUR English language? And adding insult to injury – in spite of the FACT that 98% of our population is fluently bilingual — we ARE STILL NOT ALLOWED ENTRY into the workforce – of OUR Federal Government Offices ? Take a look at the REAL Stats. The Federal Government of Canada – has 0.07% non Franco – non pure race Francophones – working for them!! So – what say ALL of you who have TURNED your backs and looked the other way – these past 40 years.. at least TRY to back off on “blaming the victims”… and demand our OVER P[AID MP’S and Senate and JUSTICE Department – get off their DO NOTHING behinds – and start earning their living for a change, okay?

  14. Anglo-imperialists think they own us. They think that we cannot decide for ourselves while they always have imposed their rules without ever getting our consent.

  15. “Essentially, the feds are asking the Quebec Superior Court to declare that Law 99 is mere throat-clearing with no more legal meaning than if the New Brunswick legislature had announced an ability to repeal gravity.”

    Oh come on now. It is Quebec’s decision whether or not they choose to obey gravity. Otherwise their French culture would be challenged! Sheesh!!

  16. It’s time that the rest of Canada, especially the west, get’s to vote on wheather or not WE want to keep Quebec! I for one wish that they would finally get the guts to go, not use Canadian Passports or money or anything else but just go. That would also be with the land mass they entered Canada woith. The rest of the land which makes up Quebec now can be taken over and run by the James Bay Cree.
    The hyphonated french have been here far too long for any good they have done for the country as a whole. Be gone I say and let us be done with them. North America ca=n then have some little french speaking third world country here we can just ignore!!

  17. What on earth is Harper talking about – when he says – there needs to be a ground swell of media support ?? Newsflash to ‘Our’ Prime Minister and the MP’S and Senators up on their ‘Ivory Tower’ ‘See no evil – hear no evil’ hill!! Our PM’S – MP’S and Senate’s – JOB DESCRIPTION is to GUARANTEE The Laws Of Our Land – The Rules and Regulations re: Statutes of Law Making – ARE UPHELD AND OBEYED. Waiting 13 years for this obscene – and flagrantly illegal – abuse of Quebec MNA’S – “Limited powers’ – to be tossed into the trash can – does nothing other than demonstrate – AGAIN – that our boys and girls on the hill – continue to look the other way – while ALL our Rights and Freedoms have been ‘gifted to the criminal law makers’ (See definition of ‘Public Laws’ that have turned our Canadian OWNED Province of Quebec into a total – dictatorship – run by a pack of – ‘ethnic cleansing’ – hee haws whose r’aison d’etres has been to totally destroy our Province and our country!
    And: Pray tell – where is it written in Our Constitution and in Our MP’S etc… job descriptions that – the MEDIA is the RULER and Protector of OUR Laws? And finally where on earth is our $3 BILLION a year Department Of Justice? What say our media tell them all – a 40 year vacation – is long enough and it’s over – starting right now, okay?

  18. It would be good to have a PLUMITIF, if you happen to be in the courthouse again. Judge Michel Côté had ordered THIS “Henderson” file to be joined to an older file of some of the same people on the same points of law, filed 18 years ago in 1995 during the September run-up to that referendum, and known in the law journals as the “Singh” file. The last I looked at the Henderson file, after the Côté judgment, there was a notice in the file that it was about to be shredded. I faxed a letter to court administration pointing out they were about to shred a file that a Judge had ordered be joined to the older file of Singh. I would like a PLUMITIF to see whether Henderson was indeed joined to the older Singh file, or shredded & reconstituted; or the joinder was appealed; or the older file of Singh has been desisted from in order to leave this one, the Henderson file, alive. Thanks, if you can give us a plumitif. By the way, they certify them for free.

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