Gouvernement du Québec


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Open letter "Quebecers, our way of being Canadian"

Québec City, June 3, 2017 – Philippe Couillard, Premier of Québec

The Government of Québec has released a document that will mark the history of Québec and Canada: the Ce lien ouvrira une nouvelle fenêtre. Policy on Québec Affirmation and Canadian Relations. The policy reflects an ongoing historical continuity and is supported by our trajectory as a nation over more than 400 years; it reflects our vision of a 21st century Canada that recognizes collective diversity and a plurality of ways of belonging. Our aspirations and specificity are an essential component in the Canadian identity.

The Policy invites all Quebecers and all Canadians to resume their dialogue on the basis of stronger mutual understanding. The invitation is extended to everyone with an interest in the future of Canada, and in particular to the general population, the Aboriginal peoples, and French-speaking communities across the country. The issues addressed in the Policy concern all Canadians.

The Policy explains how, on the basis of more than 400 years of history including 150 years as a member of the Canadian Federation, our nation is able to reconcile pride in its national identity with a deeply-seated sense of belonging to Canada. The 150th anniversary of the Canadian Federation must offer all parties in the Canadian plurality the means to draw closer together and renew their dialogue.

The affirmation-based process introduced by the Policy provides an opportunity to reaffirm our national pride: that of speaking French as the language of the majority in Québec; our pride in the historical contribution made by Québec's English-speaking community; our pride in our civil-law tradition and our political, economic, cultural, educational and social institutions; our pride in our cultural plurality and in the links we have forged and preserved, on a nation-to-nation basis, with the Aboriginal nations present throughout our territory.

In response to the question of whether it is useful and relevant to reopen the constitutional debate, we can only say: we have not reached that point yet. However, we want to break down the taboo surrounding discussions about the future of our relations within Canada. By resuming the dialogue, we, Quebecers and other Canadians, will be in a better position to share collectively the meaning of the union and our common future. Following this, it will be possible to record our new, shared understanding in the constitutional framework.

Our goal, in releasing the Policy on Québec Affirmation and Canadian Relations, is to re-establish a relationship of trust and a spirit of open-mindedness that will lead to recognition for national and collective identities. The idea of a multiple sense of belonging must be seen, not as a contradiction, but as something to be valued, since it constitutes the very foundation of the Canadian federal model.

Over the coming months and years, Québec will take steps to make itself, and the plurinational model of federalism, better known throughout Canada. The Policy sets out the principles that will guide Québec in the conduct of its Canadian relations. Québec will emphasize proactive diplomacy. Québec will also take care to sustain its dialogue with the representatives of civil society.

We intend to continue to work with our federative partners to maintain and promote profitable relationships within the Federation and to extend alliances to advance Québec's interests, and those of Canada as a whole.

As Quebecers, we are proud to be an inclusive nation, offering a unique model of integration and cohabitation that clearly has potential for inspiring other societies around the world.

I invite all Quebecers to read Québec's affirmation statement, which is based on the major political and constitutional events in our history, and to take part in the dialogue that will allow us to achieve our full and collective potential.

To Canadians in the other provinces and territories, we would like to reaffirm our willingness to contribute to enhance the projection of Canada as an inclusive society that draws strength from its cultural plurality. We invite you to take part in the dialogue that we have begun today, and to continue to form ties with Quebecers as a way of getting to know each other.

Today, Québec has clearly defined the place it hopes to occupy in Canada and proposed a plurinational vision of federalism which, in addition to individual diversity, recognizes collective diversity and multiple ways of belonging in order to strengthen our shared sense of belonging.

We are Quebecers, and this is our way of being Canadian.

Mise en ligne : June 7, 2017

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