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We have no scores to settle with either the Canadian government or Canadians in general. We wish them well. We simply think we would be better partners as neighbors rather than feuding "spouses." Nor do we want our internal debate to lessen in any way the quality of the current relationship between Washington and [[w:Ottawa|Ottawa]]. We fully intend—once sovereign—to maintain good relations with both.
When Quebecers [[w:Quebec general election, 1994|elected my government]] on September 12, 1994, they were told—both by us and by our [[w:Parti libéral du Québec|Liberal party]] opponents—that we planned to hold a referendum on sovereignty this year. Last December we expressed how this platform would be accomplished. We put a blueprint on the table in the form of a draft bill that Quebecers will be asked to discuss and amend, and then to adopt or reject in a referendum. The draft bill explains that sovereignty is our ability to vote on all our laws, to manage all our taxes, and to sign all our treaties. The bill states our willingness to ensure the continuity of Canadian laws, permits, and regulations during the transition period. It deals with minority rights within Quebec, and it foreshadows a regionalization of resources and responsibilities.
This past winter, we created 18 itinerant commissions to gather comments on the draft bill. More than 50,000 people participated in the process (out of a voting population of approximately 4 million), a process that will produce a modified bill on sovereignty thus molded by popular participation for passage in the National Assembly. Quebecers will then be asked to adopt or reject it in a referendum.
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