Declaration in Defense of Quebec's Right to Self-Determination

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Declaration in Defense of Quebec's Right to Self-Determination
in The Canadian Forum, February 1980.




SUMMARY: The Committee to Defend Quebec's Right to Self-Determination, founded in Fall 1998, was already circulating this statement to collect signatures in the Summer of 1979.



As English-speaking Canadians, we have become disturbed by the refusal of our politicians to acknowledge Quebec's right to self-determination.

Quebec is not a province like the others: the Québécois are a nation. They have a distinct history, a common language, their own civil institutions, and cultural traditions. But perhaps more importantly, they possess a strong sense of their own national identity, and a growing political will to safeguard it through some form of sovereignty. The Québécois, therefore, cannot be denied the right to form an independent state if they so desire.

The so-called "National Unity" campaign, led by the federal government, denies the reality of the two nations of English Canada and Quebec within a single state, and distorts the history of the relations between the two nations. From the conquest on the Plains of Abraham down to the October Crisis of 1970, these relations between the two nations have been neither purely voluntary nor equal. The real thrust of the national unity campaign is to defend the status quo, that is the Canadian state it is existing forms, and to fortify its strength against the Québécois.

Prime Minister Clark, in the last federal election campaign, made it perfectly clear that he would continue the "hard-line" policy of the Trudeau government, bent on denying Quebec's right to self-determination. "Quebec cannot vote its way out of Confederation," he insisted. His government, with virtually no electoral support in Quebec, will preside at the helm of the Canadian state in the critical period of the Quebec referendum and its immediate aftermath. We want to make it perfectly clear that in denying Quebec's right to decide the course of its own political future, including the option of seceding from Confederation, Mr. Clark does not speak for all English Canada.

We detect a real unease in English Canada with the eventual consequences of the "hard-line" position of the major parties on Quebec. A number of important organizations have already taken positions in support of Quebec's democratic right to self-determination — the Committee for a New Constitution, the United Church of Canada, the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the United Steelworkers among them. The Task Force on Canadian Unity, fashioned by Trudeau to support his rejection of self-determination, was obliged to acknowledge the sentiment it found in English Canada to let the Québécois make the decision.

The time has come to organize our voices. The signers of this declaration represent a wide diversity of political viewpoints, including differences over Quebec's future. But we are all firmly united on one fundamental point: it is vital at this time for English-speaking Canadians to come to the defense of the Québécois' right to self-determination.

We invite all to join us in defending this right, which is so inextricably related to our own democratic rights.




Norman Penner, professor, Glendon College Howard Buchbinder, professor, York University
Wally Seccombe, graduate student, O.I.S.E. William Irvine, professor, Glendon College
Graeme Nicholson, professor, University of Toronto Clayton Ruby, lawyer, Toronto
David Livingston, professor, O.I.S.E. Gerry Hunnius, professor, York University
Gregory Baum, professor, University of Toronto Joanne Kates, columnist, Globe and Mail
Robert Albritton, professor, York University Daniel Drache, professor, York University
Lisa North, professor, York University Glen Bell, Parkdale Community Legal Service
David Shugarman, professor, York University Debbie Field, Equal Opportunities Coordinator, O.P.S.E.U.
Norman Feltes, professor, York University The Canadian Forum
Michael Ornstien, professor, York University Catherine Scott, Toronto
Nick Rogers, professor, York University Louis Feldhammer, Professor, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute
Jamie Meuser, medical student Robert Ware, professor, University of Calgary
Donald Cole, M.D. Nestor Makuch, editor, Student
Barry Edginton, Department of Sociology, McMaster University Bohdan Somchynsky, V.P., Ukrainian Canadian Students Union
Mel Watkins, professor, U of T Jars Balan, Hromada, Edmonton
Maureen Fitzgerald, lecturer, U of T Calvin Melnyk, Hromada, Edmonton
Linda Briskin, teacher Sheridan College Bohdan Chomiak, Hromada, Edmonton
I. Verlann, teacher, Sheridan College Andrij Makuch, Hromada, Edmonton
Michael Mandel, professor, Osgood Law School MK Petryshyn, Hromada, Edmonton
Bruce Kidd, professor, U of T R. Petryshyn, researcher, University of Alberta
Vincent di Norcia, professor, Laurentian University John-Paul Himka, Ph.d
Marjorie Cohen, professor, York University Lubomyr Szuch, graduate student, University of Alberta
Danny Goldstick, professor, U of T Larry Pratt, University of Alberta
Frank Cunningham, professor, U of T Max van Manen, professor, University of Alberta
Rianne Mahon, professor, Carlton University Herb Gamberg, professor, Dalhousie
International Women's Day Committee (Toronto) J. Cambell, Toronto
Gordon Darroch, professor, York University Peter Dent, Poco, British Columbia
M. Bodemann, Department of Sociology, U of T Juanita Zerebeski, High School teacher, Toronto
H.J. Glasbeek, Osgood Hall Law School Inge Thierauf, Toronto
Susan Stylianos, teacher, George Brown College Denise Kouri, Saskatchewan Working Women
Grant Wedge, NPD research staff Dan Kossick, Journalist, Regina
Myer Siemiatycki, teacher, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute Almost Tassonyi, lecturer, Laurentian University
Gail Beneke, St. Lawrence Theatre (...)
Jack Layton, teacher, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute
Richard Lee, professor, U of T
Harriet Rosenberg, professor, Glendon College, York University
Rene Champagne, professor, University of Sudbury
Peter Fitting, professor, U of T
J.G. Debanne, professor, University of Ottawa
Philip Resnick, professor, University of British Columbia
Michael Wallace, professor, University of British Columbia
Albert Watson, Institute of Christian Thought, U of T
Bob Luker, Neill-Wycik Cooperative College, Toronto
Ben Shek, professor, University of Toronto
Chandler Davis, professor, U of T
Anthony Mardiros, professor emeritus, University of Alberta
Pat Armstrong, Vanier College, Montreal
Hugh Armstrong, Marianopolis College, Montreal
Charles Roach, lawyer, Toronto
Sherrill Cheda, teacher, Seneca College
Marcelo Acuna, York University
Lorenne Clark, professor, U of T
Robert Brym, professor, U of T
R.C. Hutchinson, professor, U of T
Paul Copeland, lawyer, Toronto
Roland Penner, professor, University of Manitoba
A. Wernick, professor, Trent University
Phil Hebert, Executive of Graduate Assistants Association, York University
Stephen Endicott, professor, York University
Dan Heap, NDP, Alderman, Toronto
Gordon Cressy, NDP Alderman, Toronto
Gad Horowitz, professor, U of T
Henry Laycock, professor, Queens University
Dan McKinnon, shop steward, CUPW, Edmonton
Evie Mandel, Edmonton Women's Coalition
Michael Lebowitz, professor, Simon Fraser University
Don Brown, professor, University of British Columbia
Nelson Clark, Parkdale Community Legal Aid
Chris Huxley, professor, Trent University
Charlene Ganage, Teaching Assistant, Trent University
Michael Cooke, Christian Movement for Peace, Toronto
Alice Heap, NDP, Toronto
Graduate Assistants Association, York University
Gary Caldwell, professor, Bishop's University, Quebec
Myrna Kostasch, author, Toronto
Michael Michi, president, York G.A.A.
Canadian Peace Congress
James Rinehart, U. of Western Ont.
Roderic Beanjot, U. of Western Ont.
Ruth Gamberg, Dalhousie
Frank Natch, Trent Univ.
J.P. Lapointe, Trent Univ.
T. Morris, Trent Univ.
Sister Ruth McLaren, SSND
Sister Helen Zettel
Sister Mary-Jo Pellerin
Corrine Schnurr, SSND
Phil Rawkins, Ryerson
Jennifer Welsh, Ryerson
Gregory Macleod College of Cape Breton
Tim Ryan, Toronto School of Theology
Cy Gonick, Canadian Dimension Magazine
Sandra Aunger, Queens
Jack Layton, Ryerson
Paul Trollope, Editorial Committee, Body Politic
Phyllis Clarke, U. of T.
Michael Kaufman, Social Science, York U.