3     	     A New But Original Relationship in a Common Future
4     	               The Honourable Lucien Bouchard
5     	              Televised Speech, 25 October 1995
8     	     The people of Quebec will make on October 30 [a
9     	decision that] will also be very important to the rest of
10    	Canada. I do recognize and acknowledge that it will have
11    	considerable significance for its future. Many of you will
12    	be upset on Monday night [30 October 1995], especially if
13    	they will have shown sympathy with Quebec. Many Quebeckers,
14    	both those who will vote Yes and those who will vote No,
15    	will probably have been moved by your ultimate efforts to
16    	convince Quebeckers to reaffirm their commitment to the
17    	Canada you believe in.
18    	     Yet Quebeckers will make a decision on Monday, a
19    	decision that they will have carefully reflected upon
20    	through a democratic process, the fairness of which does not
21    	afford any challenge.
22    	     If they vote Yes, they will have decided that Quebec
23    	will become a sovereign country and will have given their
24    	national assembly the authority to proclaim such
25    	sovereignty. But this vote will also mean that the
26    	government of Quebec will be bound to negotiate an economic
27    	and political partnership with the government of Canada.
28    	Quebeckers have been preparing themselves for these
29    	negotiations since 1990.
30    	     The national assembly and the government of Quebec have
31    	sponsored several studies, hired many experts and consulted
32    	the citizens on the economic, social, political and legal
33    	aspects and consequences of Quebec accession to sovereignty.
34    	     Canada must also prepare itself for this negotiation.
35    	Like Quebec, it has responsibilities towards its working
36    	force, its businesses and its national/international
37    	creditors.
38    	     Canada is not deprived of resources and expertise and I
39    	firmly believe it can speedily bring together its best minds
40    	-- men and women of good faith to sit at a table with Quebec
41    	and negotiate what is in its best interest.
42    	     In my capacity as chief negotiator for Quebec, I can
43    	assure all of you that I will invest all my efforts, I will
44    	give the best of myself in this negotiation and bring it,
45    	with the able representatives the government of Canada will
46    	appoint, fruition rapidly.
47    	     I believe strongly in a future partnership between
48    	Canada and Quebec and I think I can speak for an
49    	overwhelming number of Quebeckers, if not all Quebeckers,
50    	who will also want this negotiation to succeed after Yes.
51    	     I'm deeply committed to this partnership which will
52    	endeavour to maintain our economic and monetary union,
53    	ensure the free flow of persons, goods, services and capital
54    	between all parts of Canada and Quebec. I'm also convinced
55    	that we can agree on a set of common institutions where
56    	representatives of both countries will make decisions in an
57    	efficient and productive manner.
58    	     On the No side, the proposal from the beginning has
59    	been that we should choose between a sovereign Quebec and
60    	Canada as we know it now. Right from the beginning, the
61    	leaders of No camp have refused to suggest any change at all
62    	to the Canadian system. Inaction has become their watchword.
63    	     Mr Jean Chretien, who blocked the way for the Quebec
64    	advance towards sovereignty and recognition as a people each
65    	time they wanted to act as a nation now has the gall to try
66    	to make us believe that he is prepared to consider
67    	recognition of the distinct character of Quebec. How can he
68    	ask us to put ourselves at his mercy by a second No?
69    	     The man who is asking us this evening for another blank
70    	cheque on our future is the same one who took advantage of
71    	our weaknesses after a No in 1980 to tear up the
72    	constitution of our ancestors and to impose upon us a
73    	constitution that reduced the powers of Quebec in the areas
74    	of language and education.
75    	     All these questions of a distinct society, of
76    	recognition of this or that, all these word games and
77    	constitutional niceties have been around long enough. We
78    	have wasted too much money and time on sterile squabbles.
79    	     Let us gather together all of our energies as
80    	federalists or as sovereigntists. Let us Quebeckers
81    	recognize ourself for what we are, a people, a vibrant
82    	country -- proud, welcoming and confident.
83    	     There are certain things that one does not ask. It is
84    	demeaning to ask English Canada to recognize us as a people.
85    	All that is finished. We have gone beyond entreaties.
86    	     People in English Canada and at the federal level were
87    	able to say No to us because until now the political weight
88    	of Quebec never counted for more than the simple weight of
89    	an individual.
90    	     The day that we enter upon the world stage as a nation
91    	we will achieve our true dimension, not more not less. That
92    	day, our action will reflect all the authority that we have
93    	been missing up to now. That day we hope with all our hearts
94    	will be next Monday, October 30.
95    	     Then in the days to follow we'll have our first meeting
96    	between nations -- two nations who have never really met,
97    	who hardly know each other, will meet.
98    	     That meeting will be between Quebeckers and Canadians.
99    	They will address each other with respect -- sovereign
100   	peoples show mutual respect. Those two peoples will talk to
101   	each other about their mutual interest and about what they
102   	want to deal with in common.
103   	     The talk will be of commercial exchanges -- jobs ....
104   	They will cover the sharing of the debt contracted by
105   	Ottawa.
106   	     Quebec will repeat once more its intention to fulfil
107   	all its financial obligations and it will act in a
108   	responsible manner. It will confirm its commitment to take
109   	over its fair share of the common burden.
110   	     I would like in closing to reassure you, I would even
111   	like to convince you tonight, that Quebeckers will not
112   	choose sovereignty -- because they reject or dislike Canada
113   	and Canadians.
114   	     And they are certainly not denying Canada a right to
115   	exist and to flourish as a sovereign country. On the
116   	contrary, the people of Quebec will once again be taking the
117   	initiative of the reform, albeit the reform that will see
118   	negotiations and will see Quebec negotiate on -- an equal
119   	footing with Canada.
120   	     For our peoples, this will be an historic moment, the
121   	first authentic meeting of our two collective minds. And
122   	negotiations will be a challenge to our creativity and an
123   	invitation to continue to share through a new but original
124   	relationship in a common future.
127   	  October 1995