Rob Bull, “Terms for patriation set”, Ottawa Journal (25 August 1975)

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Date: 1975-08-25
By: Rob Bull (Ottawa Journal)
Citation: Rob Bull, “Terms for patriation set”, Ottawa Journal (25 August 1975).
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Privy Council Office Bureau du Conseil privé

AUG 25 1975

Ottawa Journal

Bourassa moves closer to PQ

Terms for patriation set

Quebec Bureau

MONT GABRIEL, Que.— Premier Robert Bourassa took his Quebec Liberal party a step closer to the position of the Parti Quebecois Sunday.

He insisted on requiring that Quebec have “the final powers of decision” over immigration, communications and language before considering opening discussions on the patriation of the Canadian constitution.

The premier’s remarks are his government’s clearest statement to date on what he means by cultural sovereignty, a phrase which emerged as a campaign slogan before the last provincial election in 1973.

Mr. Bourassa made the statement at a news conference following a provincial Liberal think-in at this Laurentian resort 40 miles north of Montreal.

The biggest change in his party’s traditional federalist stance is the demand for ultimate power to decide who can enter and leave his government’s area of jurisdiction, something which is implied by his demand for ultimate control over immigration.

Whether this means that the premier who was elected as a federalist is turning towards separatism depends on a wide variety of factors, not the least being the degree to which Mr. which Mr. Bourassa and his advisers feel a new constitution is necessary at this time.

Mr. Bourassa has been under heavy pressure from Ottawa to agree to constitutional discussions. He may, however, be unsure of what the future holds in store for his province and thus be afraid to commit himself to anything more than the current “common law” relationship with the rest of the country.

When he demands that the Quebec government he the final authority to decide the cultural and linguistic composition of his province’s population, he may be simply stalling and fully aware that he is requesting a concession which is impossible for Ottawa to give because it limits the fundamental nature of Canadian citizenship, the right of anybody to live in any part of Canada he wants, no matter which of the country’s two official languages he happens to speak.

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