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 the Fall of 1978, 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 in its 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 Jennie Hornosty, professor, University of Saskatchewan
Jack Layton, teacher, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute Patricia Marchak, professor, University of British Columbia
Richard Lee, professor, U of T Murray MacAdam, Canadian News Synthesis Project
Harriet Rosenberg, professor, Glendon College, York University Paul Carson, professor, U of T
Rene Champagne, professor, University of Sudbury Roberta Ann Imboden, professor, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute
Peter Fitting, professor, U of T David Grimshaw, Instructor, Ryerson
J.G. Debanne, professor, University of Ottawa Derek Allen, professor, U of T
Philip Resnick, professor, University of British Columbia Caroline Dawson, St. Michael's College, Ontario
Michael Wallace, professor, University of British Columbia Norman Epstein, professor, University of British Columbia
Albert Watson, Institute of Christian Thought, U of T Peter Rosenthal, professor, U of T
Bob Luker, Neill-Wycik Cooperative College, Toronto Wayne Roberts, Research Associate, McMaster University
Ben Shek, professor, University of Toronto E.G. Petter, Nelson, British Columbia
Chandler Davis, professor, U of T Sandra Gryziak, Toronto
Anthony Mardiros, professor emeritus, University of Alberta Rabbi Reuben Slonim, Congregation Habonim, Toronto
Pat Armstrong, Vanier College, Montreal Paul Genuist, professor, University of Saskatchewan
Hugh Armstrong, Marianopolis College, Montreal T.P. McKenna, Therafields, Toront
Charles Roach, lawyer, Toronto Lillian Marcus, Toronto
Sherrill Cheda, teacher, Seneca College Gordon Cleveland, Lecturer, Seneca College
Marcelo Acuna, York University E. Mahood, professor, University of Saskatchewan
Lorenne Clark, professor, U of T O. McKayne, professor, University of Saskatchewan
Robert Brym, professor, U of T Leon Muszynski, Toronto
R.C. Hutchinson, professor, U of T John Marshall, M.D. Occupational Health Consultant, Ontario Federation of Labour
Paul Copeland, lawyer, Toronto Michael Gaynes, Toronto
Roland Penner, professor, University of Manitoba Greg Keyley, professor, Dalhousie of Ottaw
A. Wernick, professor, Trent University Caroline Andrew, professor, University of Ottawa
Phil Hebert, Executive of Graduate Assistants Association, York University Robert Dickson, professor, Laurentian University
Stephen Endicott, professor, York University Geoffrey Tesson, professor, Laurentian University
Dan Heap, NDP, Alderman, Toronto Peter Gallus, Business Agent, Graduate Assistants Association
Gordon Cressy, NDP Alderman, Toronto Jean Lafontant, professor, Laurentian University
Gad Horowitz, professor, U of T Andrew Jackson, Instructor, Capilano College, Vancouver
Henry Laycock, professor, Queens University Sandy Stienecker, Instructor, Seneca College
Dan McKinnon, shop steward, CUPW, Edmonton John Bell, Instructor, Seneca College
Evie Mandel, Edmonton Women's Coalition Gary Webster, Lecturer, University of P.E.I.
Michael Lebowitz, professor, Simon Fraser University F.P. von Dreger, professor, U. of P.E.I.
Don Brown, professor, University of British Columbia Lloyd Wagner, professor, Laurentian University
Nelson Clark, Parkdale Community Legal Aid Jim Robb, lawyer, Edmonton
Chris Huxley, professor, Trent University Rick Lampshire, National Representative, PSAC, Edmonton
Charlene Ganage, Teaching Assistant, Trent University Muriel Zenn, Executive Director, Outreach, Edmonton
Michael Cooke, Christian Movement for Peace, Toronto Bill Petrie, staff representative, CUPE, Edmonton
Alice Heap, NDP, Toronto Henry Milner, Committee of Anglophones for Sovereignty-Association, Montreal
Graduate Assistants Association, York University Phyllis Jensen, University of Toronto
Gary Caldwell, professor, Bishop's University, Quebec F. Murray Greenwood, University of British Columbia
Myrna Kostasch, author, Toronto J.F. Conway, professor, University of Regina
Michael Michi, president, York G.A.A. John Fagan, Instructor, University of Regina
Canadian Peace Congress K.M. Knuttila, Lecturer, University of Regina
James Rinehart, U. of Western Ont. D.M. Kouri, Instructor, University of Regina
Roderic Beanjot, U. of Western Ont. J.K. Roberts, professor, University of Regina
Ruth Gamberg, Dalhousie Pam Smith, Laboratory Instructor, University of Regina
Frank Natch, Trent Univ. Dr. R.M. Stirling, professor, University of Regina
J.P. Lapointe, Trent Univ. B. Barlow, professor, University of Regina
T. Morris, Trent Univ. R. Renshaw, Holy Cross Fathers, Toronto
Sister Ruth McLaren, SSND R. Warburton, University of Victoria, B.C.
Sister Helen Zettel Don Mitchell, Lecturer, University of Regina
Sister Mary-Jo Pellerin Martha Tracey, Researcher, University of Regina
Corrine Schnurr, SSND Thomas J.A. Hartley, Teacher, Centennial College
Phil Rawkins, Ryerson Ed File, professor, York University
Jennifer Welsh, Ryerson Pamela McCallum, professor, Trent University
Gregory Macleod College of Cape Breton John Hillman, professor, Trent University
Tim Ryan, Toronto School of Theology Alan Lewis, professor, Trent University
Cy Gonick, Canadian Dimension Magazine Jean Paul Lapointe, professor, Trent University
Sandra Aunger, Queens Peter Royle, professor, Trent University
Jack Layton, Ryerson H.B. Lapointe, professor, Trent University
Paul Trollope, Editorial Committee, Body Politic
Phyllis Clarke, U. of T.
Michael Kaufman, Social Science, York U.