Opening Speech of the 14th National Congress of the Parti Québécois
[...] At the moment of my assermentation speech as Premier, in January 1996, I summarized in a word the situation that all could observe. This word was: difficult. Difficult, the life of hundreds of thousands of Quebecers, women and men, deprived of employment or plunged into precariousness; difficult to revive the economy; difficult to put an end to decades of governmental budgets financed by deficits; difficult to manage a State stripped of any capacity to make development choices.
It is then that I called upon the help of Seneca, politician, writer and Roman philosopher. Seneca, who said: "It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that things are difficult."
Thus, it appeared that the response to "difficult", that was, that had to be the words "to dare". Well! we have dared.
[...] Remember the teaching of Seneca. The antidote is "to dare". We have already done it, to the greatest confusion of skeptics.
My friends, we shall dare once again. From now, we dare putting at the forefront of public debate the question of the political future of Quebec.
We shall dare say to our fellow citizens that the Quebec people has a task to finish; that we must complete the journey that our predecessors so valiantly carried out up to where we are now. We shall dare say to ourselves that all depends on us, on our solidarity, on our imagination, on our determination. We shall dare say to Quebecers that we must end the waste of our energy and devote all our strength and all our resources to our national development. We shall dare remind people the Quebec values of democracy, welcome, compassion, warmth, pride in our history and determination to last. We shall dare continue to explain our project to English Canada and hold out the hand of the partner we want to be. But we shall also dare to cross the glance of misunderstanding, strong of the legitimacy of our project. We shall dare behave as a people that nobody shall be able to make guilty to want to affirm itself and take its place at the sides of others.
It shall be difficult, yes. But it shall be much more difficult if we do nothing. It is much easier to lift our heads, to look up and to choose by ourselves our future than to be subjected to the one others impose upon us.
Because at the end of the effort, I see a people at the measure of the country of which it is capable, of the country which it will make, of its country.
I see a new people of America, strong of the vitality of its culture and its French language.
I see a people respectful of the rights of aboriginal nations, recognized by freely negotiated agreements.
I see a people mindful of protecting the rights of its English-speaking minority. I see a people open like its large river which enriched it with all contributions.
I see a people with ambitions high and straight like its mountains. I see the country of Quebec, large like its forests, vigorous like its rivers.
This country, I do not wish to see it only as a promised land, I wish that we enter it all together, as soon as possible.
This is a translated excerpt of the Parti Québécois document Notes pour une allocution du Président du Parti Québécois monsieur Lucien Bouchard. This is an original and unofficial translation for this site.
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