Harper to recognize Quebec as nation within Canada

Correction — November 29, 2006

There has been confusion if Harper is calling Quebec a nation or the people a nation. Editors offer this clarification:

Harper also said that he is using the "cultural" and "sociological" sence of the word "nation". Harper is referring to the people and culture in Quebec as a nation.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

File:Stephen Harper voa.jpg

Stephen Harper
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

The Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, announced at 3:00 p.m. Wednesday that he will recognize Quebecois as a nation within Canada, despite a similar Bloc Quebecois' motion.

The separatist Bloc Quebecois (BQ) opposition party originally introduced the motion to recognize Quebec as a nation, without specifying in or out of Canada. But Harper said that he will only recognize the Quebecois as a nation within Canada.

Quebeckers know who they are, they know they've participated in the foundation, in the founding of Canada and its development and in its greatness. They know that they've protected their language and unique culture but they also promoted their values and interests within Canada.

The real question is straightforward: Do Quebeckers form a nation within a united Canada? The answer is yes.

Do Quebeckers form an independent nation from Canada? The answer is no and it will always be no!

I say to my federalist colleagues and I also say to the separatist side that we here will do what we must, what our forefathers have always done to preserve this country, Canada, strong, united independent and free.

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

The Bloc, led by Gilles Duceppe is, by tradition, dedicated to separating Quebec completely from Canada. This has never passed.

"I would say we're devoted to this country with its boundless potential and dedicated to building Canada which includes Quebec while the Bloc is dedicated to destroying Canada," interim Liberal leader Bill Graham in response to Harper's speech. "We are fundamentally opposed to breaking up of Canada ... On this point we must clearly and fundamentally disagree and fundamentally fight for the rights of Canada and the whole of Canada."

Mr. Duceppe opposed the prime minister's position on Quebec.

"It isn't up to the prime minister to decide what Quebeckers will choose as an option," Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe said. "It's up to Quebeckers ... to decide what their future will be ... not as long as they remain within Canada that is supposedly united. They are not a nation as long as they are a country ...Never will I accept the only condition to be a nation is to recognize the right to remain in Canada. We are what we are, full stop."

The Conservatives have ten elected MPs in the province.