August 21, 1998 |
In the first legal ruling on Canada's most divisive issue, the Supreme Court said Thursday that Quebec--home to a powerful separatist movement--cannot secede without seeking the federal government's consent. But the high court left open the possibility of a breakaway arranged at the bargaining table. It said federal officials would be obligated to negotiate if, as separatist leaders hope, a clear majority of voters in the mostly French-speaking province approved secession in a referendum.
December 27, 1997 |
After nearly a decade of steady political advancement toward their dream of creating a French-speaking nation in North America, Quebec's separatists are in sudden, serious retreat in the face of a vigorous counterattack by Canada's federal government. The charge is being led by an unlikely captain: a 44-year-old intellectual named Stephane Dion who was recruited into politics just two years ago from the University of Montreal.
June 4, 1997 |
Quebec's separatists Tuesday were contemplating election results that exposed weaknesses in their movement and yielded a measure of optimism to Canadians--and Americans--who hope to see Canada remain united. The Bloc Quebecois, the separatist party in the Canadian federal Parliament, won 44 of Quebec's 75 seats and 39% of the popular vote in the mostly French-speaking province in Monday's election. But that was down from the 54 seats and 49% that the party received in the last election, in 1993.
March 16, 1997 |
The Bloc Quebecois, a Quebec separatist party that forms the official opposition in Canada's Parliament, chose former Communist Gilles Duceppe as its new leader. The 49-year-old won the leadership with 53% of the ballots mailed in by party members. About 50,000 of the Bloc's 113,000 members voted. In his acceptance speech to the convention in Montreal, Duceppe called for a "dialogue of equals" between Quebec and the rest of Canada.
April 5, 1996 |
For a quarter of a century, Quebec delegations have worked as sort of shadow embassies and consulates to their Canadian counterparts. They have served to remind the world of Quebec's distinct place as the center of French language and culture in North America, to promote trade and investment, and, when a separatist government is in power in Quebec City as it is now, they tout the province's aspirations toward independence from the rest of Canada.
February 24, 1996 |
That cracking sound coming from north of the U.S. border isn't ice breaking in the spring thaw. It's the splintering of Canada's body politic. Members of Parliament return to work in Ottawa on Tuesday after an extended mid-winter recess and are still without a consensus on the best strategy for battling Quebec's resurgent separatists. Is it time to get tough with the secessionists, even at the risk of violence? Should the government draw a line in the snow and dare the separatists to cross it?