22 November 2006
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The true intention of the Bloc leader and the sovereignist camp is perfectly clear.
It is not to recognize what the Québécois are, but what the sovereignists would like them to be.
For the Bloc, this is not about Quebec as a nation; the National Assembly has already pronounced on that. This is about separation.
To them, nation means separation.
We saw his true intentions on October 27, when he said: "…the NDP has recognized for decades that Quebec forms a nation, yet every time there is a referendum, they act contrary to the positions they’ve taken."
In other words, if we recognize the Québécois as a nation, we must vote "yes" in a referendum on separation.
And the Bloc leader’s attempt to lead the Québécois, in good faith, to support separation in spite of themselves reminds us of his mentor Jacques Parizeau and the "lobster traps".
But the Québécois are not fooled by these clumsy tactics.
The former PQ Premier, Bernard Landry, posed the following question: "once that recognition is achieved, you have to know that you will then be faced with the following question: Why should the Quebec nation be content with being the province of another nation and forgo equality with your nation and all other nations?"
The answer is clear, because the Québécois have always played an historic role in advancing Canada with solidarity, courage and vision, and building a Quebec that is confident, self-reliant, united and proud within a Canada that is strong and united, independent and free.
When he landed in Québec City, Champlain did not say, "This isn’t going to work: it’s too far, it’s too cold, it’s too difficult." No. Champlain and his companions worked hard because they believed in what they were doing, because they wanted to preserve their values, because they wanted to build a long-lasting, secure country.
And that is exactly what happened almost 400 years ago: the founding of the Canadian state.
Mr. Speaker, the Québécois know who they are.
They know they have contributed to Canada’s founding, development and greatness.
They know they have preserved their unique language and culture and promoted their values and interests within Canada.
The question is a straightforward one: do the Québécois form a nation within a united Canada? The answer is yes.
Do the Québécois form a nation independent from Canada? The answer is no, and it will always be no.
All throughout their history, the Québécois have always recognized the prophets of doom and the true guides of their destiny.
The leader of the bloc and his separatist friends are not concerned with defining who the Québécois are, but rather, what they want them to become, a separate country.
The separatists don’t need the parliament of Canada to define what is meant by the sociological term "nation", but the bloc has now asked us to define the Québécois, so we must take a position.
Our position is clear – do the Québécois form a nation within Canada?
The answer is yes.
Do the Québécois form an independent nation? The answer is no.
And the answer will always be no.
Because the Québécois from Cartier and Laurier to Mulroney and Trudeau have led this country and millions like them have helped build it.
And with their English and French speaking fellow citizens and with people drawn from all the nationalities in the world, they have been part of making this country what it is – the greatest country on earth – a shining example in a dangerous and divided world, of the harmony and unity of which all peoples are capable.
And we will do what we must, what our forefathers always have, to preserve this country – a Canada, strong, united, independent and free.