Québec's legitimacy does not need the Supreme Court blessing

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Québec's legitimacy does not need the Supreme Court blessing
August 28, 1998

Text prepared by the headquater of the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Montréal and signed by sovereignists following the opinion of the Supreme Court of Canada.

To democrats throughout the world.

In Canada, a fundamental conflict feeds an endless political crisis: the conflict between two nations, one originating from France, the other from the British Isles.

This conflict has made Canada into a system of subordination of one nation by another. It began with a military defeat in the 18th century, and it is maintained by a political structure that, from the time of the Union imposed by London in 1840 (based on the model of Union with Scotland in 1707 and with Ireland in 1800), and continued in 1867 under the regime wrongly called Confederation, has continually given English Canada the means to increase its demographic superiority, to expand its territory and add new provinces thereby putting Quebec into political trusteeship and making Quebecers into a continually shrinking minority. This subordination manifested itself glaringly in 1982 when English Canada imposed a constitution that neither Quebec's National Assembly nor the Quebec people agreed to.

Canada's structure of domination is the main reason an ever increasing number of Quebecers have become determined to leave Canada. This determination became more evident around 1960 due to factors internal to Quebec but also under the inspiration of the vast and exemplary movement in the Third World to break the bonds of colonialism - and more recently that of the peoples of Eastern Europe. It has continued to grow in the hearts and minds of Quebecers and has been expressed in the ballot box: 24 percent in 1970, 40 percent in 1980, and 49.4 percent in the referendum on 30 October 1995.

The Supreme Court, Canada's national court

This system of subordination has included threats, intimidation and use of force. But mainly it is held in place by the overwhelming demographic superiority and economic force that have given English Canada control of 10 of the 11 parliaments governments and administrations, as well as the main means of communication and the media. The courts, and specifically the Supreme Court of Canada is at front and center of this panoply. At the explicit request of the Canadian Government, the court recently came down with an advisory opinion that some will rush to use to quash Québec's national aspirations.

We are not dealing here with a federal court, even less so a bi-national court. It is Canada's national court (as it describes itself). Ottawa created it alone in 1875. The Prime Minister of Canada alone appoints all the judges. The federal Parliament alone defines its procedures. And finally Ottawa, with the support of Canada's English-speaking provinces gave it a tremendous political boost in 1982 when it imposed a new constitution unilaterally upon Québec, entrusting the court with the mission of watching out for Canada.

It does its job well. The opinions rendered in 1981-82 denying Quebec's veto paved the way for Canada to adopt a new constitution despite Québec's refusal.

A black hole

In its distress following the referendum, Canada turned to the Supreme Court. Their answers to the questions were exactly what Ottawa expected: "Canadian law does not provide for Québec to declare independence. International law does not provide for situations like that of Quebec, which is not a colony under the classical meaning of the term."

These cut and dried answers are a three-fold denial of Québec: denial that Quebecers are a people, denial of the organic state subordination under which Québec lives and, what is even worse, denial of Québec's right to self-determination.

By reinforcing the anti-Québec positions of English Canada, this opinion will stir up Ottawa's ardour against Québec. There's already a free-for-all as people jockey to come up with the best way to interfere in Québec's national self-determination: should the wording of the question be targeted? or vote counting? or should an unattainable majority be demanded? This ruling is devised to increase difficulties, erect obstacles and break wills. Of course, at the end of this new obstacle course, there is an obligation for English Canada to negotiate. This conclusion is significant, but federalist spokesmen will hurry to trivialize it, or even sidestep it.

Underhanded politicians still have plenty of room to concoct their own interpretations, failing which the Supreme Court will be there to complete its thoughts on the black hole that it knowingly dug and from which many a surprise could appear. Our leaders should beware.

The right to be a Quebecer

All courts of law must respect appearances and, even more so, obvious facts, or they run the risk of becoming ineffective.

What could be more obvious than the legitimacy of Québec's struggle forged through four centuries of history and expressed ever more clearly and widely. What's more, a broad consensus has been established in Québec in support of the right of the people of Québec to determine their future without outside interference.

And now a Canadian court, not a Québec court, has stated the obvious. Québec did not need this blessing. Nonetheless, since the court was created by Ottawa and is revered by Canadians, we say to Canada and to its government "our cause is legitimate. So please stop distorting its meaning, ridiculing our motives and demonizing our leaders. Our leaders are neither monsters nor traitors: they are patriots, men and women who love their homeland and intend to make it a country."

Québec's cause is now seen to be legitimate even by the judges of the Supreme Court of Canada. Therefore, citizens and democrats of all countries, and particularly those of English Canada, have every right to support and encourage Québec. Yes, that means everybody, and above all the people living here in Québec, be they Aboriginals who live on this land from time immemorial, English Quebecers or new citizens hailing from afar. All should be reassured that nobody will have the right to threaten them anymore with the terrible accusation of being "traitors to Canada". They can now freely show their support for Québec.

All who live and vote in Québec now know that they have the right to be Quebecers, fully.

Over the centuries that we have resisted against those who have tried to dominate Québec, we have learned that nothing comes easily. After a brief stint at the helm, Ottawa's judges have now stepped back to make room for the politicians. We know what to expect from them. What we earn will come from within, from our determination, from the YES that we will express whenever and however we decide to do so, in order to get out of the system of subordination known as Canada. We will raise Québec to the status of a free and sovereign country, a full member of the United Nations. But time is of the essence.

28 August 1998


A collective of sovereigntists:

  • Clément ARCAND, président, PQ Laporte
  • Gilles ARCHAMBAULT, écrivain
  • Lise ARCHAMBAULT, militante
  • Magella ARCHIBALD, SNQ Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean
  • André P. ASSELIN, avocat
  • André AUCLAIR, écrivain
  • François BABY, professeur d'université
  • Michelle BACHAND, syndicaliste
  • Maxime BARAKAT, médecin
  • Denis BARBEAU, président, PQ Vachon
  • Yves BEAUCHEMIN, écrivain
  • Jean-Guy BEAULIEU, Jonquière
  • Mario BEAULIEU, président, PQ Montréal-Centre
  • Sylvain BEAUPRÉ, SNQ Abitibi
  • Jules BÉLANGER, historien
  • Jacques BELLEMARE, avocat
  • Jacques BERGERON, administrateur
  • Joseph BERGERON, retraité
  • André BERNARD, professeur à la retraite
  • Marie-Andrée BERTRAND, professeur émérite UdeM
  • Pascal BÉRUBÉ, vice-président, FEUQ
  • Denise BOUCHER, poète
  • Jules BOUCHER, ancien député
  • Claude BOULAY, ingénieur
  • Dominique BOULAY, AIS
  • Sylvie BROUSSEAU, présidente, PQ Nelligan
  • Claudette CHALIFOUR, SSJBM
  • Jean-Pierre CHALIFOUX, président, PQ Verdun
  • Pierre M. CHAPUT, administrateur
  • Céline CHARBONNEAU, présidente, BQ Papineau-St-Denis
  • Claude G. CHARRON, auteur
  • Gilles CHARRON, SNQ Abitibi
  • Éric CIMON, président, BQ La Salle-Émard
  • Édouard CLOUTIER, politologue
  • Salomon COHEN, administrateur
  • Valérie COLAS, membre exécutif, AGE sshalc UQAM
  • Robert COMEAU, historien
  • Pascale CONSTANT, SNQ Richelieu/St-Laurent
  • Jean-Marie COSSETTE, SSJBM
  • Reine COSSETTE, présidente, PQ Marguerite d'Youville
  • Michel CTÉ, SSJBM
  • Yvon CTÉ, enseignant
  • Daniel COURCY, président, PQ Crémazie
  • Yanik CRÉPEAU, AIS
  • Bernard DALLAIRE, professeur à la retraite
  • André d'ALLEMAGNE, politologue
  • Fernand DAOUST, syndicaliste
  • Pierre DE BELLEFEUILLE, ancien député
  • Michel DESJARDINS-ROUSSIN, artiste
  • Hélène DES LAURIERS, présidente, PQ Laurier-Dorion
  • Jean-Luc DION, ingénieur IPSO
  • Georges DOR, écrivain
  • Pierre DROUILLY, sociologue UQAM
  • Pierre DUBUC, L'Aut'Journal
  • Nikolas DUCHARME, président, FEUQ
  • Jacqueline DUGAS, écrivain
  • Raôul DUGUAY, poète
  • Yves DUHAIME, ancien ministre
  • André DUPONT, traducteur
  • Pierre FALARDEAU, cinéaste
  • Lucie FAVREAU, AIS
  • Marc-André FORCIER, cinéaste
  • Bernard FRAPPIER, Vigile
  • Claude GAGNÉ, syndicaliste
  • Claude GAGNON, enseignant retraité
  • Christian GAGNON, ingénieur, président, PQ Outremont
  • Jean GAGNON, réalisateur radio
  • Madeleine GAGNON, écrivaine
  • Jean GAUDREAU, U. de M.
  • Louis GAUDREAU, étudiant
  • Jean-Marie GÉLINAS, amitiés Québec-Israël
  • Richard GERVAIS, philosophe, IPSO
  • Laurent GIROUARD, archéologue
  • Liliane GOULET, SSJBM
  • Raymond GRAVEL, prêtre-curé, l'Épiphanie
  • Suzan GRAVEL, enseignante
  • Pierre GRAVELINE, éditeur
  • Jean-Luc GOUIN, philosophe
  • Bernard GUITÉ, président-fondateur, BQ Westmount-St-Louis
  • Camille HAMELIN, membre PQ Laurier-Dorion
  • Réginald HAMEL, historien de l'édition Québécoise
  • René HARVEY, Recto Verso
  • Caroline HÉBERT, membre exécutif, AGE sshalc, UQAM
  • Marcel HENRY, SSJBM
  • Marcel HENRY, président, PQ Anjou
  • Juan Jose HERNANDEZ, commissaire CSIM
  • Alain HORIC, éditeur
  • Claire JACQUES, enseignante en soins infirmiers
  • Claude JASMIN, écrivain
  • Henri JOLI-COEUR, administrateur
  • Stéphane LABRÈCHE, membre exécutif, AGE sshalc, UQAM
  • Louise LADOUCEUR-CTÉ, avocate
  • Françoise LALIBERTÉ, SSJBM
  • Marthe LAPOINTE-BENOÎT, traductrice
  • Martin LAQUERRE, membre-exécutif, AGE sshalc UQAM
  • Gaétan LARIVIÈRE, membre BQ, Laurier-Dorion
  • Louis LA ROCHELLE, administrateur
  • Robert LA ROSE, SSJBM
  • Germain LAVALLÉE, SSJB Richelieu-Yamaska
  • France LAVERDIÈRE, SNQ Laurentides
  • Gordon LEFEBVRE, politologue
  • Josée LEGEAULT, candidate à l'investiture, PQ Mercier
  • Jean-Marc LÉGER, conseiller en relations internationales
  • François LEMIEUX, SSJBM
  • Louisette LE TOULLEC, enseignante retraitée
  • Raymond LÉVESQUE, chansonnier
  • François LINA, étudiant
  • Robert LORANGER, géographe
  • Alain LUPIEN, membre exécutif, PQ Gouin
  • Paul LUPIEN, président, PQ Jacques-Cartier
  • Marc MALTAIS, membre de Jeunes Souverainistes
  • Valérie MASSING, éducatrice
  • Danielle MESSIER, biologiste
  • Pierrrette MÉTHÉ-HAMEL, diététiste
  • Yves MICHAUD, journaliste
  • Marie-Thérèse MILLER, IPSO
  • Guy MILOT, graphologue
  • Denis MONIÈRE, Cercle Godin-Miron
  • François MORIN chercheur
  • Jacques-Yvan MORIN, ancien ministre PQ et professeur de droit
  • Pierre MORIN, médecin
  • Rosaire MORIN, L'Action nationale
  • Johan NACHMANSON, entrepreneur
  • Jean-François NADEAU, éditeur
  • Robert NADEAU, philosophe
  • Lise NOËL, écrivaine
  • Louis O'NEILL, éthicien
  • Jean OUELLET, Maison des Patriotes, Saint-Denis
  • Fernand OUELLETTE, écrivain
  • Ercilia PALACIO, professeur
  • André PAYETTE, journaliste
  • Hélène PELLETIER-BAILLARGEON, écrivain
  • Pierre PERRAULT, cinéaste
  • Jean-Paul PERREAULT, Impératif français
  • John PHILPOT, avocat
  • Robin PHILPOT, traducteur
  • Jean-Guy PLANTE, SSJBM
  • Anne Claire POIRIER, cinéaste
  • Yves PRÉFONTAINE, écrivain
  • Mariette PRINCE, SSJBM
  • Jérôme PROULX, ancien député
  • Yannick PROULX, président, PQ Marquette
  • Paul-André QUINTIN, professeur
  • François REBELLO, étudiant
  • André RENY, professeur
  • Gilles RHÉAUME, MSQ
  • Michel RIOUX, L'Action Nationale
  • Michel ROBERT, philosophe IPSO
  • Jean ROBITAILLE, Recto Verso
  • Michèle ROSSIGNOL, comédienne
  • Bruno ROY, écrivain
  • Ivan ROY, médecin-psychiatre
  • Thibaud SALLE, IPSO
  • Pablo SANTOS, intervenant social
  • Kadri SHÉRIFI, professeur
  • Christian SINAVE, médecin IPSO
  • Jacques SOULIÈRES, SNQ de l'Outaouais
  • Victor TEBOUL, enseignant
  • Annie TELLIER, membre exécutif, PQ Laurier-Dorion
  • France THÉORET, écrivaine
  • Jean-François THUOT, Génération Québec
  • Benoît TREMBLAY, professeur HEC
  • Denis TREMBLAY, directeur, module lettres UQTR
  • Gilles TREMBLAY, compositeur
  • Guillaume TREMBLAY, éducateur-poète
  • Nathalie TREMBLAY, co-présidente de Génération Québec
  • Isabelle TREMPE, étudiante
  • Pierre TRUDEL, AIS
  • Fernand TURCOTTE, médecin, IPSO
  • Pierre VADEBONCOEUR, écrivain
  • Armand VAILLANCOURT, peintre-sculpteur
  • Guillaume VAILLANCOURT, commissaire CSM
  • Marcel VAIVE, AIS
  • André VANASSE, Bloc québécois Drummond
  • Paul VEILLEUX, retraité
  • André VÉZINA, communicateur
  • Daniel VIGNEAULT, membre exécutif, AGE sshalc, UQAM
  • Michel ZIMMERMAN, bijoutier-joallier

To show your support:

  • Tél : (514) 843-8851
  • Fax : (514) 844-6369

See also

  • Reference re Secession of Quebec, 1998 2 S.C.R. 217 - a Reference by the Governor in Council concerning certain questions relating to the secession of Quebec from Canada, as set out in Order in Council P.C. 1996-1497, dated the 30th day of September, 1996