Canada, House of Commons Debates, “Request that Resolution Considered in Quebec National Assembly be Considered at Constitutional Conference”, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess (24 November 1981)
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, House of Commons Debates, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, 1981 at 13156.
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COMMONS DEBATES — November 24, 1980
REQUEST THAT RESOLUTION CONSIDERED IN QUEBEC
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY BE CONSIDERED AT CONSTITUTIONAL
Mr. Gilles Marceau (Jonquiere): Madam Speaker, my question is directed to the Minister of Justice, whom I wish to congratulate on the agreement reached on equality of women and aboriginal rights. Starting today and during the next low days, the Quebec National Assembly will be debating an important resolution containing basic principles for the future of Canada, that is, the principle of Canadian duality and special status for Quebec. Although he is not now considering this resolution, is the minister prepared to give the House tho assurance that the constitutional process will not end once the resolution has been passed here in Ottawa, and second, that the contents and the basic principles of this resolution will be discussed at a future constitutional conference?
Hon. Jean Chrétien (Minister of Justice and Minister of State for Social Development): Madam Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that the constitutional process will not end after the vote to be held shortly on the resolution. This is the first stage in developing a new constitution for Canadians. There will be other conferences. In fact, one is to be held some time during the next few months, in order to discuss, with the provinces, how yesterday’s agreement on aboriginal rights is to be implemented. There will be further stages in the discussion on the Constitution and obviously, if the Government of Quebec wishes to continue the debate in order to amend more specifically the three elements with which it cannot agree at this time, we are always prepared to discuss these issues. I regret it has not been possible to have discussions on this matter during the last two or three weeks, because according to my information at this time, the provinces would have been prepared to consider various amendments that might have been satifactory to the government of Quebec. But in any case, I can give the hon. member the assurance that we are prepared to make changes later, since then we will finally have the Constitution here in Canada, with a mechanism for amending the Constitution in Canada. without going through the British Parliament. Therefore if the government of the province of Quebec does not make a decision within the next few days, the door will still be open and attempts to improve the situation can still be made. I am sure that the other provinces will be willing to consider any reasonable proposals.