PSC 103 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Quebec Act, Clarity Act

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Doctrine of ‘national self-determination’
The right of nations or peoples to be states
-Article One of UN Charter (Subsec. 2)
-TO develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights
and self determination of peoples and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen
universal peace.
-Recognized by the UN-decolonization (Assembly resolution-1960)
PREAMBLE to THE REFERENDUM BILL
“This time has come to reap the fields of history. The times has come at last to harvest what has
been sown for us by four hundred years of men and women and courage, rooted in the soil and
now returned to it. The times has come for us, tomorrow's ancestors, to make ready for our
descendants harvests that are worthy of the labours of the past. May our toil be worthy of them,
may they gather us together at last. “
“At the dawn of the 17th century, the pioneers of what would become a nation and then a
people rooted themselves in the soil of Quebec. Having come from a great civilization, they
were enriched by that of the FIrst Nations, they forged new alliances, and maintained the
heritage of France.”
“The conquest of 1760 did not break the determination of their descendants to remain faithful to
a destiny unique in North America Already in 1774, through the Quebec Act, the conqueror
recognized the distinct nature of their institutions.Neither attempts at assimilation nor the Act of
Union of 1840 could break their endurance.
SUPREME COURT REFERENCE
2 Quesrions (a third asked, but dismissed by court)
a) Can Quebec unilaterally secede from Canada?
b) Does international law give the right to a nation to secede from the state unilaterally?
REFERENCE OPINION
“Although the COnstitution does not itself address the sue of a referendum procedure...a
referendum undoubtedly may provide a democratic method of ascertaining the views of the
electorate on important political questions on a particular occasion. THe democratic principle
identified above would demand that considerable weight be given to a clear expression by the
people of Quebec of their will to secede from Canada… Our political institutions are premised
on the democratic prinicple, and so an expression of the democratic will of the people of a
province carries weight… The referendum result, if it is to be taken as an expression of the
democratic will, must be free of ambiguity and both in terms of >>>>>*****
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