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How to Achieve Quebec Independence
 

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CHAPTER 3

Break the promise, break the deal

 

Canada must end because its federal government broke the promise of the deal that is Confederation. And when you break the promise of a deal, you break the deal itself.



What deal are you talking about? And what “promise”?

When Canada was formed, a solemn promise was made to the linguistic and religious communities, many of which were to became minorities with the creation of the four provinces of Confederation, that if any provincial legislature were to abrogate their civil or minority rights, the federal government would swiftly and without hesitation “veto” such legislature. Specific federal powers were put into the BNA Act primarily for this reason:

The main reason for (the inclusion of the power of “disallowance”) in the Constitution Act, if we are to trust the opinion of most of the Fathers of Confederation, was to protect minority rights (in the words of Macdonald, the rich being in minority…), not to subjugate the provinces.[31]

R. MacGregor Dawson recognized three classes of cases which justified disallowance, the third concerning fundamental rights:

Thirdly, those provincial acts which affect fundamental rights of Canadian citizens. These rights should be the same in all provinces of Canada and should be unassailable by provincial statutes.[32]

What other powers are there in addition to disallowance?

Reservation, the declaratory power, and the section 93 provisions concerning schools. Pierre Trudeau referred to “blunt tools left in the BNA Act: disallowance, taxation -- all modes of taxation; the declarative clause; expropriation for federal purposes, and so on.” [33]

This "veto" power, as it was referred to in the Confederation Debates,[34] wasn't just some obscure one-time mention; it was a promise and commitment made numerous times and, indeed, Confederation may not have taken place had those powers not been put in and that specific promise not made.

Why was violation of minority and individual rights a concern?

With Confederation came the creation of the four provinces that prior to 1867 didn't exist...and because they didn't exist, there weren't provincial minorities such as the English/Protestants of Quebec. So it was with the creation of Canada that provincial minorities such as the Quebec Anglophones came into being. The Fathers of Confederation knew this, acknowledged this, and foresaw the problems that could -- and did -- arise from it.

The potential for abuse of minorities by the new provincial majorities and their representatives in the new provincial legislatures was dealt with quite clearly and unambiguously in the Confederation Debates.

Can you give some examples of the promise from the Confederation Debates?

... I feel it comes hard on me to hear honorable gentlemen say that there is no security for (the minority English in Quebec) in the future, but that the French ... may do anything they choose in the lower branch of the Legislature. But, honorable gentlemen, if the lower branch of the Legislature were insensate enough and wicked enough to commit some flagrant act of injustice against the English Protestant portion of the community, they would be checked by the General Government.

-- Hon. Sir E. P. Taché, p. 2367

...and...

 

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