Polemics & Exchanges

On Sovereigntists

Sean Scallon’s analysis of Quebec sovereignty (Cultural Revolutions, June) misses the point.  In Reference on certain Questions concerning the Secession of Quebec from Canada (1998), the Supreme Court of Canada held that the people of Quebec have a constitutional right to press for independence by all means allowed in parliamentary democracy; that the people of Quebec have a constitutional right to a peaceful referendum, at public expense, on independence from Canada; that a clear vote on a clear proposition for independence cannot constitutionally be rejected by the government of Canada, which will have a constitutional duty to negotiate differences or grant independence in such a case; and that, if the government of Canada fails to negotiate in good faith, Quebec may proceed unilaterally to independence, which will become lawful as soon as the nations of the world recognize the new country, it being understood under international law that such recognition should be accorded as soon as the new regime successfully establishes a civilized legal order with the support of the population.

The separatist movement then and there began to die, because the right of secession made a termination of Anglo-Canadian hostility against Quebec a patriotic duty, whereupon French Canada immediately felt more comfortable within the union. ...

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