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Chronology for Quebecois in Canada

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Quebecois in Canada, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469f38771e.html [accessed 30 August 2014]
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Date(s) Item
Jan 29, 1990 The city council of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario passes a resolution declaring English as the city's official language. This sparks a "political uproar" over the issue of bilingualism. Quebec nationalists cite this as further proof that the residents of Ontario are racist, that it is impossible for French-speakers to live outside of Quebec and that "the dream of a bilingual society can never be achieved."
Feb 7, 1990 Canada's ruling Progressive Conservative Party (PCP) introduces a resolution in the House of Commons stating "that this House reaffirms its commitment to support, protect and promote linguistic duality in Canada."
Feb 12, 1990 The left-wing New Democratic Party (NDP), Canada's second largest opposition group, wins its first federal parliamentary seat in the province of Quebec. The victory of Phil Edmonston, a bilingual anglophone, is considered by many to be indicative of the degree of linguistic tolerance within Quebec.
Feb 15, 1990 Parliament introduces a resolution to reconfirm its commitment to bilingualism.
Mar 1990 The Supreme Court rules that francophone and anglophone minorities have the right to some control over their children's education, when numbers warrant.
Apr 22, 1990 John Nunziata, a Liberal member of Parliament from Toronto, declares that Quebec separatists are "traitors" and compares them to racists.
May 21, 1990 Lucien Bouchard, one of the most senior members of the federal cabinet and a native of Quebec, resigns as Environment Minister and from the ruling Progressive Conservative Party (PCP) because of continuing opposition to the Meech Lake Accords (see June 23, 1990 for details) and alleged government attempts to dilute the "distinct society" clause. His example is eventually followed by 6 other Quebec members of the PCP and Liberal parliamentarians.
Jun 23, 1990 The Meech Lake Accord, a package of amendments to the Canadian Constitution collapses having failed to achieve the necessary ratification by all 10 provincial legislatures. The Accord would have provided for increased powers for the provinces, reform of the federal senate, and (most controversially) an attempt to induce Quebec to sign the 1982 Constitution in return for the recognition that the French-speaking province is a "distinct society." Opposition to the Accords is based mostly upon the grounds that the Accords do not offer sufficient protection to Quebec's English-speaking minority. Despite this, the opposition on this issue agrees to pass the Accords and the Accords are actually blocked over issues concerning native Canadians.
Jul 1, 1990 Britain's Queen Elizabeth II makes a plea for Canadian unity in Ottawa at a Parliament Hill ceremony marking Canada Day. A few hours later, in a protest organized by Parti Québécois, 200 Quebec nationalists turn their backs to the Queen and declare "our real country is Quebec."
Jul 25, 1990 Bloc Québéçois is formed as a political party as a result of the increased nationalist sentiment in Quebec after the collapse of the Meech Lake Accord (see June 23, 1990) by Lucien Bouchard who resigned from the PCP and the federal cabinet last May (see May 21, 1990). Bouchard is joined by 6 other defectors from the PCP and Liberal Democrat parties. It is unclear whether the party is demanding complete independence or will settle for greater autonomy within the Canadian federation. The Bloc remains short of the 12 members of the House of Commons necessary to be recognized as an official party.
Aug 13, 1990 Bloc Québéçois records a decisive by-election win in east-central Montreal with 70% of the vote, compared with 20% for the Liberal Party (which had previously held the seat) and only 5% for the ruling PCP.
Aug 22, 1990 The Quebec National Assembly adopts a measure setting up a 35-member commission to study the province's future political options in the wake of the failure of the Meech Lake Accords (see June 23, 1990 for details).
Nov 1, 1990 Federal Prime Minister Mulroney announces the establishment of a national commission to examine the future of the Canadian federation. Quebec nationalists say that they will not be bound by any findings of this panel.
Nov 9, 1990 Quebec's provincial panel on the province's political future begins a scheduled 6 weeks of hearings.
Feb 10, 1991 Bloc Québéçois announces that it will apply for official status as a political party in the House of Commons. While the party has only 9 members in the House, 3 short of the 12 required to be officially recognized as a party, party members say that they are confident that several PCP members will join them in the coming months.
Mar 9 - 10, 1991 During a provincial party convention, the ruling Liberal Party in Quebec adopts the Allaire report which calls for almost full political autonomy for Quebec, despite opposition by party leader and Quebec Premier, Robert Bourassa. A proposal to guarantee the rights of English-speakers in Quebec, especially in cultural matters and social services, is also adopted.
Mar 21, 1991 A report by Ontario's committee on the province's role in the Confederation states that Ontarians want all of Canada's constitutional woes addressed, not just the future of Quebec.
Mar 25, 1991 In an annual report, Canada's commissioner of official languages says that Canada's policy of services in both English and French is a success despite criticism that official bilingualism is an expensive failure. He further states that "we cannot promote the unity of Canada without full recognition of all the dimensions of its linguistic duality..." and urges that a limited form of bilingualism be incorporated into Ontario's constitution as it already is in Quebec, Manitoba and New Brunswick.
Mar 27 - 29, 1991 The Quebec commission recommends that a referendum on independence for Quebec be held no later than October 1992. Federal Prime Minister Brian Mulroney rejects the proposal.
May 27, 1991 58% of Canadians think that the country will not split up while 26% think it will. However 33% of the residents of Quebec think that the country will stay together while 44% think that it will split up.
Jun 12, 1991 About 35 demonstrators vow to fight "the racist, fascist" Reform Party. The Reform Party opposes special treatment for Quebec and French-speakers.
Jun 21, 1991 The Liberal Party administration of Robert Bourassa approves a bill which gives the Quebec government the right to call an independence referendum if an acceptable constitutional reform offer is not devised by October 1992. Bourassa resists pressure from Parti Québéçois for an immediate referendum to capitalize on the post-Meech Lake disenchantment felt by many francophone Quebeckers toward anglophone Canada. Bourassa's attitude coincides with opinion-poll evidence which suggests that while a majority of Quebec's population supports sovereignty for the province, there is a growing concern about the potential negative effects of breaking up the Canadian federation. These negative consequences include recent warnings by prominent Quebec business leaders concerning the negative economic consequences of independence and concern over the possible exodus of the province's English-speaking minority.
Jul 30, 1991 The chief of the James Bay Cree Nation, an Indian tribe, tells a UN commission that if Quebec declares sovereignty, the Cree Indians of James Bay will also declare themselves an independent nation.
Aug 12, 1991 Parti Québéçois wins a by-election to fill the Quebec National Assembly seat from Quebec City's riding of Montmorency.
Sep 24, 1991 The ruling PCP presents a new constitutional reform package that includes, among other things, the recognition of Quebec as a "distinct society" empowered to control such areas as employment training, immigration, cultural programs, broadcasting and tourism but with the proviso that similar powers would be granted to other provinces. Quebec's Premier, Robert Bourassa, expresses a readiness to negotiate his province's future within the government's proposals but emphasizes that he will not bargain away the province's existing economic powers. Parti Québéçois leader Jacques Parizeau opposes the package describing it as "the biggest power grab" by the government in a half century.
Oct 30, 1991 The Federal Economic Council of Canada releases a report that attempts to predict the economic consequences of partial independence for Quebec. Both sides of the debate find fuel for their positions in the report.
Nov 28, 1991 Facts on File reports that Canadians have recently began to argue that Quebec should not be allowed to retain control over the northern half of its territory if it splits from the rest of Canada. That territory, known as Ungava, had been granted to Quebec by the Canadian government in 1912. The area was rich in minerals and natural resources.
Dec 1, 1991 Canadian Prime Minister Mulroney warns Quebec that if it splits from Canada, it would have to renegotiate the US-Canada Free Trade Agreement on its own.
Mar 1, 1992 The PCP, along with the Liberals and New Democratic Party (NDP), endorse a package of constitutional proposals designed to avoid the breakup of the Canadian federation. The package goes beyond the Meech Lake Accords (see June 23, 1990) in its proposed redistribution of power, particularly to Quebec. The proposals include greater provincial controls over areas such as regional development, energy, manpower training, forestry, mining, housing, recreation and urban affairs. Recognizing the distinct nature of Quebec's French-speaking culture, it asserts that "the first priority is to ensure that Quebec feels itself a full and willing partner in the constitutional family once again." The package, however, falls short of Quebec's demand for sole control over 22 areas of jurisdiction and shared control in others. Quebec Premier Bourassa states that the proposals are unacceptable to Quebec in its current form and demands more concessions in the area of power sharing. He does, however, recognize the proposals as a starting point for future negotiations. Parti Québéçois leader Jack Parizeau rejects the proposals as an "affront" to Quebec's legitimate demand for self-government.
Mar 1992 Keesing's reports that support among Quebeckers for secession has dropped to between 50% and 60% from a peak of 70%.
Jun 13, 1992 After 3 months of intensive negotiations, the interprovincial talks on constitutional reform collapse without agreement. The talks had been undertaken by the English-speaking provinces with a view to agreeing to a package which would induce Quebec to remain in the Canadian federation.
Jul 7, 1992 Protracted talks on the issue of constitutional reform among the Premiers of Canada's 9 English speaking provinces and the federal government produce a compromise known as the Pearson accord. The new accord contains elements of the Meech Lake Accord (see June 23, 1990) including the recognition of Quebec as a "distinct society." It also provides for increased power for the provincial governments, including a veto for all provinces over future constitutional change.
Aug 23, 1992 A constitutional conference including all 10 of Canada's provincial Premiers reaches a broad agreement on all outstanding constitutional issues which becomes known as the Charlottetown Accord. This includes increased autonomy for Quebec (and any other province that seeks it) through a transfer of numerous powers and areas of responsibility from the federal to the provincial sphere of government including mining, forestry, tourism, urban affairs, housing and recreation. The federal government also commits itself to make concessions in the areas of culture, immigration, communication, labor training and regional development. Quebec also receives recognition of its "distinct society," a guarantee that its share of seats in the federal House of Commons will never fall below 25% and, along with the other provinces, a veto over future changes to federal institutions. All 3 of Canada's major political parties support the package.
Aug 29 - 30, 1992 A special 4,000 member Liberal Party convention in Quebec endorses the Charlottetown Accord. Many supporters of the Parti Québéçois oppose the package.
Sep 24, 1992 The Alliance for the Preservation of English in Canada (AOEC) announces that it has formed a committee to oppose the Charlottetown agreement.
Oct 26, 1992 In a referendum, the Canadian electorate votes 54.4% to 44.6% to reject the Charlottetown agreement. 55% of Quebec's voters reject the agreement on the grounds that the concessions to their province are insufficient. The only provinces which strongly support the agreement are Prince Edward's Island, Newfoundland and New Brunswick. Ontario, with one-third of Canada's population very narrowly supports the accord. The Northwest Territories also support thee agreement. In the western provinces, where the newly established populist Reform Party had campaigned strongly against the agreement on the grounds that it made too many concessions to Quebec, the agreement was rejected by the highest margins in the country.
Feb 16, 1993 A federal court is asked to torpedo a constitutional amendment expanding francophone rights in New Brunswick. Opponents of the amendment say that it would lead to the recognition of Quebec as a "distinct society" without the approval of any other province.
Feb 24, 1993 Brian Mulroney announces his resignation as Prime Minister and head of the PCP. His failure to find a solution to the Quebec problem is one of the factors that has contributed to his record unpopularity.
Apr 15, 1993 The Washington Post reports a ruling by the UN Commission on Human Rights in favor of an undertaker who wished to display English wording on the sign outside his business in Quebec. The non-binding ruling finds that Quebec legislation dating from 1977 and allowing outdoor commercial signs only in French runs counter to Article 19 of the UN's Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
Sep 14, 1993 Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa announces his retirement from politics due to ill health.
Oct 25, 1993 The Liberal Party wins 177 out of 295 seats in Canada's House of Commons defeating the PCP which wins only 2 seats. Bloc Québéçois wins 54 out of 75 seats in Quebec. The Reform Party, which opposes the country's alleged domination by Ontario and Quebec as well as the special treatment offered to Quebec, wins 52 seats, most of them in the western provinces of Alberta and British Columbia where the party wins an overwhelming majority of the seats.
Nov 4, 1993 Liberal Party leader Jean Chretien is sworn in as Canada's 20th Prime Minister. Bloc Québécois, as the second largest party in the House of Commons, is recognized as the official opposition. This is criticized by many on the grounds that Bloc Québéçois is not a national party.
Dec 15, 1993 Daniel Johnson is elected head of Quebec's Liberal Party and automatically as provincial Premier.
Mar 23, 1994 The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that the national gap in the median income of English-speakers and French-speakers increased from 4.9% in favor of the English-speakers in 1977 to 10.3% in 1992. For households the gap widened from 9.9% to 14.1%. Only French-speaking men in Quebec earned more than their English-speaking counterparts.
May 17, 1994 Canadian Indian Affairs Minister, Ron Irwin, says that lands held by indigenous peoples in Quebec could remain part of Canada if Quebec chooses to separate from Canada.
Jun 5, 1994 Parti Québéçois leader Parizeau warns that his supporters will withhold business from the Bank of Montreal if it continues to issue dire economic assessments of the effects of a separatist victory in Quebec's upcoming elections.
Jul 18, 1994 Federal Prime Minister Chretien along with the leaders of Canada's 10 provinces signs an agreement to reduce internal trade barriers.
Sep 12, 1994 Parti Québéçois wins 44.7% of the vote and 77 out of 125 seats in provincial elections in Quebec. The ruling Liberal party wins 44.3% of the vote and 47 seats. The new Parti Action Democrat (PAD), composed of former liberals who wish to keep Quebec within the Canadian federation but with increased autonomy, wins 6.5% of the vote and 1 seat.
Sep 14, 1994 Parti Québéçois leader and soon to be Quebec Premier Parizeau declares that the Parti Québécois' victory "extinguished" any hope of accommodation between Quebec and the rest of Canada. He declares his intention to hold a referendum on independence. However, he offers some reassurances to Quebec's 700,000 strong English-speaking minority and 60,000 native peoples (Keesing's September, 1994). Many commentators emphasize the closeness of the election results and that some Parti Québéçois supporters do not support secession. This creates some uncertainty as to whether Parizeau will be able to accomplish his goal of independence for Quebec.
Dec 7, 1994 Quebec Premier Parizeau tables a draft bill which declares Quebec an independent state.
Jan 26, 1995 According to a poll, 54% of Quebec respondents who have an opinion are against the Quebec National Assembly adopting a bill declaring sovereignty.
Feb 13, 1995 Bloc Québéçois is defeated by the Liberal Party in 2 federal by-elections.
Apr 5, 1995 Quebec Premier Parizeau announces that the referendum on sovereignty, originally scheduled for June, will be postponed until autumn. The move is considered by many to be implicit acknowledgment that Parti Québéçois has not succeeded in mustering a majority in favor of separatism.
Apr 8 - 9, 1995 The growing division between Parti Québéçois leader and Quebec Premier Parizeau and Bloc Québéçois leader Bouchard grows during a separatist conference. Bouchard suggests a European-style economic union between sovereign Quebec and Canada as a means of placating those who fear the economic consequences of independence. Parizeau rejects the plan on the grounds that such a sacrifice of sovereignty could only be made by a state which had already achieved full sovereign powers.
Jun 12, 1995 Quebec Premier and Parti Québéçois leader Parizeau signs an agreement with other separatist leaders, including Bloc Québéçois leader Bouchard and Parti Action Democratique leader Dumont, to join forces to push for Quebec sovereignty.
Jun 13, 1995 According to a poll, only 40% to 45% of Quebec respondents support sovereignty.
Aug 4, 1995 The Equality Party, a political party in Quebec which represented the English-speaking minority, appealed to the United Nations to rule on a law which required immigrant parents to send their children to French-language schools, while parents who attended English-language schools may send their children to either. The Equality Party believes this law, which had been ruled constitutional under the constitution of Quebec, violates the human rights of the immigrant parents. (Agence France Presse 8/5/95)
Sep 8, 1995 The Superior Court of Quebec ruled that a referendum on Quebec's independence from Canada is "illegal," but the judge declined to impose an injunction to stop the process. (Agence France Presse 9/8/95)
Oct 27, 1995 150,000 people from across Canada rallied in Montreal prior to the October 30 referendum on Quebec's independence. Various speakers, including Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, who is from Quebec, urged Quebec to vote to remain part of Canada. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 10/27/95)
Oct 30, 1995 The people of Quebec voted 50.6 per cent to 49.4 per cent in favor of Quebec remaining a province of Canada in a referendum on Quebec's independence. Several groups later brought charges of vote tampering in the close election, including charges that a couple of companies threatened their employees with plant closure if the referendum succeeded. Prime Minister Jean Chretien acknowledged that the close vote indicated that he would have to make changes in the relationship between Quebec and the Canadian government. (Inter Press Service 10/31/95 and Agence France Presse 11/16/95)
Nov 29, 1995 Prime Minister Jean Chretien presented a bill to Parliament to recognize Quebec as a "distinct society," which would grant Quebec the responsibility for all manpower training and worker education. Two days earlier, he also promised to grant "veto power" on all constitutional reforms for each of Canada's four "regions:" Quebec, Ontario, the Maritime Provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland) and the Western Provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan). The first measure passed on December 11, the second two days later.(Agence France Presse 11/29/95, 12/12/95 and 12/13/95)
Feb 2, 1996 The Canadian Senate approved a constitutional veto measure. The list of regions grew to five during debate, as British Columbia, Canada's third largest province, separated from the rest of the Western Provinces. Lucien Bouchard, Premier of Quebec, rejected the measure as meaningless. (Agence France Presse 2/2/96)
Feb 15, 1996 The debate on Quebec's sovereignty continued as Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard promised to hold another referendum on Quebec's independence in another 2-3 years. Ron Irwin, the Indian Affairs and Northern Development Minister in the federal government countered by stating that if Quebec votes to separate from Canada, the Native American tribes in Quebec would have the right to vote to separate from Quebec. (Agence France Presse 2/15/96)
Mar 19, 1996 The Canadian House of Commons voted to investigate Jean-Marc Jacob of the Bloc Quebeçois on allegations he sent a fax to Quebeçois members of the military urging them to join a Quebec army if the October 1995 secession vote had passed. While the right-wing Reform Party wanted to charge Jacob with sedition, the Liberal Party insisted they would only investigate whether Jacob abused his parliamentary privilege, since sedition is a court matter, not a legislative one. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 3/19/96)
Apr 28, 1996 Premier Lucien Bouchard suggested a one-year moratorium to study the issue of the English-language issue on signs in Quebec. The Parti Quebeçois had demanded the elimination of an amendment to Law 101, which allows English on public signs as long as French is predominant. The unamended version - which allowed only French on all signs in Quebec, was scrapped as unconstitutional in 1993. (Agence France Presse 4/27/96)
May 14, 1996 Prime Minister Jean Chretien stated in Parliament that with regard to Quebec "There will be no unilateral declaration of independence and international law will also be respected." (Agence France Presse 5/14/96)
May 16, 1996 The Native people of Canada publicly announced that they did not support a Quebeçois secession from Canada. Ninety percent of Native peoples voted against secession in October 1995, and Ghislain Picard, chief of the Assembly of First Nations for Quebec and Labrador, stated that ten Indian nations plus the Inuit (Eskimo) lay claim to more than half of Quebec's 1.5 million square kilometers. "The political landscape can't be changed unless we consent," he argued. Other tribal spokespersons said that they feared war and violence would result from any attempt to secede. (Inter Press Service 5/16/96)
Jun 24, 1996 Eighty were arrested after a riot broke out on St. Jean Baptiste Day, a usual rallying point for secessionist Quebeçois. Over 2,000 were involved in the riot, although some observers believed it had nothing to do with nationalism. (Agence France Presse 6/24/96)
Aug 16, 1996 A maverick English-language rights activist, Howard Galganov, threatened to lead boycotts against Montreal stores that do not display English-language signs and even go to New York to persuade Wall Street that investors should be wary of investing in Quebec. (Agence France Presse 8/16/96)
Oct 27, 1996 Five hundred Federalists from around Canada boarded trains for Montreal to commemorate the referendum which left Quebec as part of Canada a year before. In separate demonstrations in Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal, hundreds of unity demonstrators gathered on bridges to underscore the importance of "bridging Canada. " (Agence France Presse 10/27/96)
Feb 28, 1997 Federal Justice Minister Allan Rock declared Quebec's government has no right to declare unilaterally its independence from Canada in the event of a pro-secession referendum outcome, but adds that if Quebec were to decide by referendum to separate from Canada, it needed to start a "constitutional process" with the rest of Canada to decide how to proceed. (Agence France Presse 2/28/97)
Jun 2, 1997 In Parliamentary elections, the Bloc Quebeçois won 44 out of the possible 75 provincial seats, the Liberals 26 and the Conservative Party 5. Jean Chretien of the Liberal Party was re-elected prime minister. (Agence France Presse 6/3/97)
Sep 15, 1997 At a meeting of all Canada's provincial leaders except Lucien Bouchard of Quebec, the premiers adopted seven principles designed to promote the distinctive identity of Quebec. The declaration said the "unique character" of Quebec society, including its French -speaking majority, culture and tradition of French civil law, is "fundamental to the well-being of Canada.." At the same time, the premiers said, all Canadians are equal and have rights protected by law and all provinces, while diverse in their characteristics, have equality of status. Premier Bouchard, however, rejected the measure, since it failed to give Quebec a unique status protected by the constitution. (Agence France Presse 9/15/97)
Nov 11, 1997 French-speaking job candidates sued Air Canada, saying that the firm had conducted training classes for perspective flight crews only in English, in violation of Canadian language law. An Air Canada spokesperson countered that the French language classes had been suspended due to insufficient demand, and that they were unnecessary since Air Canada required all employees to be bilingual. (Agence France Presse 11/12/97)
Feb 5, 1998 A coalition of over 150 business owners in Montreal's Chinatown sent an open letter to Culture Minister Louise Beaudoin asking her to overturn a government order to change their outdoor signs so French predominates over Chinese, which they say would cause a financial burden and would damage the area's "cultural and historical character." (Agence France Presse 2/5/98)
Feb 16, 1998 The Canadian Supreme Court began hearings to decide the constitutionality of Quebec's referenda on unilateral independence. Quebec boycotted the proceedings, saying that only the Quebeçois should have the right to decide their independence. (Agence France Presse 2/16/98)
Feb 17, 1998 A group of Cree Indians filed suit in the Canadian Supreme Court to remain part of Canada in the event of a Quebeçois secession. The Quebec government operates Canada's largest hydroelectric plant on Cree territory, and denies the Crees the right to separate from the rest of Quebec. (Agence France Presse 2/18/98)
Aug 20, 1998 The Canadian Supreme Court ruled that Quebec cannot unilaterally secede from Canada. If Quebec were to separate from Canada, it could only do so only after a clear majority voted in favor of a clear question of sovereignty, after which "negotiations would be necessary to address the interests of the federal government, of Quebec and the other provinces, and other participants, as well as the rights of all Canadians both within and outside Quebec ...there are linguistic and cultural minorities, including aboriginal peoples, unevenly distributed across the country who look to the Constitution of Canada for the protection of their rights." The Court did not make any clear declarations with respect to Native peoples in Quebec. (Inter Press Service 8/20/98)
Sep 21, 1998 Lucien Bouchard and the Parti Quebeçois National Council agreed not to hold another referendum on independence for Quebec until there was a reasonable chance of it succeeding. Hardliners within the party had wanted early provincial elections with a mandate to hold a new referendum. (Agence France Presse 9/21/98)
Oct 26, 1998 In an interview with La Presse newspaper, Prime Minister Jean Chretien stated that all Quebec's demands for independence could be met within the federal structure of Canada. (Agence France Presse 10/28/98)
Oct 28, 1998 Premier Lucien Bouchard called for new elections on November 30, promising another referendum on Quebec's independence if he returned to power, and conditions favored a separatist victory. (Inter Press Service 10/28/98)
Nov 30, 1998 Voters in Quebec's provincial elections gave the Parti Quebeçois 77 seats in the 125-seat legislature, the same number it held before. Liberals won 46 seats, and the Action Democratique retained its single seat. The Parti Quebeçois had moved away from campaigning for independence during this election, and had advocated funding health care and creating a stable government. The Liberals are plagued by infighting. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur 12/1/98)
Mar 10, 1999 The Canadian government refused to attend a reception held by the French government after the French extended the invitation to the Quebec government without notifying the Canadians. The Canadians felt Quebec's attendance would have been inappropriate, since only national representatives were to attend; and moreover, that it was the duty of the Canadian government to extend the invitation to provincial leaders had they so chosen. (Agence France Presse 3/10/99)
Oct 6, 1999 Joseph Façal, an official in the provincial government of Quebec, declared in a newspaper interview with The National Post that the government of Quebec could ignore the 1998 Supreme Court ruling regarding secession because independence is "a political question, not a legal question." Any rules regarding sovereignty would be decided solely by the National Assembly of Quebec (Quebec's provincial legislature). He claimed that this was the position of Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard as well. (Agence France Presse 10/6/99)

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