I think it is a little difficult for Japanese to understand Quebec's independence problem. Recently I happened to meet two Canadians
in Nagoya. One of them came from Quebec, and was in favour of Quebec's separation from Canada, and the other came from New
Foundland and was in disagreement with Quebec's seperation.
So, I intended to study this problem by using internet web. At first, I compiled some documents from the web, and then summarized
these into Japanese.
I found that the basic, and the most important document, particulary for Japanese to understand this problem was " The draft bill on
Quebec sovereignty". So at first I will list the key points of this bill. And then I will add some documents to it, being summarized in
Japanese also. And at the conclusion, I will add some of my own comments on this problem.
The draft bill on Quebec sovereignty
Tabled by Premier
Jacques Parizeau, in the National Assembly of Quebec, on December 6, 1994
It will set forth the fundamental values and main objectives of the Quebec nation wishes to make its own once it has acquired the
exclusive power to make all laws, collect all its taxes and conclude its treaties.
Quebec is a sovereign country.
The government is authorized to conclude, with the Government of Canada,an agreement the purpose of which is to
maintain an economic association between Quebec and Canada. Such an agreement must be approved by the
National Assmbly before being ratified.
The Government shall, in accordance with the procedure determined by the National Assembly, see the drafting of a
constitution for Quebec and to its adoption.
The constitution shall include a charter of human rights and freedoms. It shall guarantee the English-speaking
community that its identity and institutions will be preserved. It shall also recognize the right of Aboriginal nations to
self-government on lands over which the have full ownership. Such guarantees and such recognition shall be exercized
in a manner consistent with the territorial integrity of Quebec.
The constitution will provide for the decentralization of specific powers to local and regional authorities together with
sufficient fiscal and financial resources for their exercise.
Quebec shall retain the boundaries it has with the Canadian Confederation at the time section 1 comes into force. It
shall exercise its jurisdiction over the maritime areas and the territories adjoining its coastline in accordance with the
terms and conditions provided in the rules of international law.
Every person who holds Canadian citizenship and is domiciled in Quebec at the time section 1 comes into force is a
Every person who, after the coming into force of section 1, is born in Quebec or is born outside Quebec to a father or
mother holding Quebec citizenship is also a Quebec citizen.
Quebec citizenship may be held concurrently with citizenship of Canada or of any other country.
The legal currency of Quebec shall continue to be the Canadian dollar.
Quebec shall assume the obligations and enjoy the rights arising out of the treaties to which Canada is a party and the
international conventions to which Canada is a signatory, in accordance with the rules of international law.
The government is authorized to apply for the admission of Quebec as a member of the United Nations Organization and
other international bodies.
Quebec shall take the necessary steps to remain a member particularly of the Commonwealth, the French-speaking
community, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the North American Aerospace Defence Command, the North American
Free Trade Agreement and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
Continuity of Law
Laws passed by the Parliament of Canada that apply in Quebec at the time section 1 comes into force, and the
regulations under such law, shall remain in force until amended or repealed by the National Assembly.
Pensions and supplements payable to the elderly shall continue to be paid by the Government according to the same
terms and conditions. Permits,licences and authorizations that have been issued shall remain in force until their expiry.
The courts of civil or criminal jurisdiction shall continue to exist: the judges presiding over them shall continue in their
appointment and retain their authority. Cases pending may be continued until judgment. The Court of Appeal of Quebec
shall become the court of highest jurisdiction until a Supreme Court is established under the new constitution provided
for under section 3.
The judges of the Federal Court and of the Supreme Court of Canada who were members of the Quebec Bar shall become,
if they so wish, judges of the Superior Court and of the Court of Appeal of Quebec, respectively.
The Government may, in keeping with the procedure provided by law,.appoint all persons required and take all steps
necessary to facilitate the application of the Canadian laws that continue to apply in Quebec, pursuant to section 10.
The sums required for the application of those laws shall be taken out of the consolidated revenue fund.
In making appointments under this section, the Government shall give priority to the public servants and other employees
of the Government of Canada or of an agency or body thereof, who resides in Quebec.
Until the coming into force of the new constitution provided for in section 3, the laws, rules and conventions which govern
the internal constitution of Quebec and access to English-language schools shall remain in force.
Apportionment of the Property and Debts
The government may conclude, with the Government of Canada, any agreement relating to the apportionment of the
property and debts of Canada, and to any other matters susceptible of facilitating the application of this Act.
Coming into force
This Act comes into force one year after its approval by referendum, unless the National Assembly fixes an earlier date.
This Act shall be submitted to a referendum.
This Act may come into force unless a majority of votes cast by the electors in a referendum held in accordance with the
Referendum Act on the following question are cast in the affirmative:"Are you in favour of the Act passed by the National
Assembly declaring the sovereignty of Quebec? YES or NO"
Result: 1995・・・Quebeckers vote against sovereignty, 50.6% to 49.4%
Source:Key dates in the history of Quebec
And see, "Mood at separatist headquaters: Joy turns to despair"
Q. Should Quebec separate from Canada?
A. Yes. 39 % ・・・Quebec
10 % ・・・Rest of Canada
No. 43 % ・・・Quebec
80 % ・・・Rest of Canada
No opinion. 18 % ・・Quebec
10 % ・・Rest of Canada
Q. Should just Quebec. or all of Canada vote on Quebec's Independence?
A. Yes. 45 % ・・・Quebec
24 % ・・・Rest of Canada
No. 40 % ・・・Quebec
65 % ・・・Rest of Canada
No opinion. 15 % --Quebec
11 % --Rest of Canada
I was surprised to see "The draft bill on Quebec sovereignty" tabled by Premier Jacques Parizeau, in the National
Assembly of Quebec. It was almost perfect constitution of an independent country, and even though Qubeckers
voted against it, it was very close to 50 %.
And I heard, when the referendum finished, the Quebec Premier reassured the separatists their dreams were not dead,
and told the crowd, "We were so close to having our own country. Well, it's just been put off for a short time."
Like this, Quebec's independence problem is going to be a big problem for Canada in future, and it will be one of the
extreme models of two systems existing in one country.
Recently some trade companies moved their headquarters to Toronto from Montreal, and also they moved them to
Ontario from Quebec, because they didn't want to remain in a French-speaking society in English-speaking Canada.
As you know, French is the official language in Quebec government and the trial courts.
If such a act as the Draft Bill on Quebec sovereignty comes into force in the future, this movement may speed up more
around the new country. So, Quebec citizens have to work together better on how to solve such a problem and how to
develop their own country. If not, their decisions may change satisfaction to despair.
Now, I remember the Agricultural Land Reform in our country after World War 2. It was the new national policy that let the
peasants become the landowner of their rented agricultural land. And the poliy was a great success, in our country, for
the new landowners were very satisfied , and worked harder and harder than ever before, and made wonderful
agricultural lands all over Japan.
Like this, if Quebec citizens have a lot of pride in their new country, and at the same time they are going to work harder
more and more, they will succeed in being a powerful country in the world.