The Canadian parliament has approved a government motion recognising Quebec as a nation within a united Canada. The House of Commons voted overwhelmingly in favour of the controversial proposal which the government described as as a way of heading off pressure from French-speaking separatists. But critics say the move could bolster efforts by pro-independence Quebecers who now plan to push for extra powers such as the right to speak at international meetings.
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister, Michael Chong, has reseigned over the issue. He says the separatists will create confusion. “I believe in this great country of ours, and I believe in one nation, undivided, called Canada,” Chong, whose Cabinet brief included Ottawa’s ties with Quebec and Canadian provinces,” he said. “They (the separatists) will argue that if the Quebecois are a nation within Canada, then they are certainly a nation without Canada,” he added.
Chong’s resignation does not threaten the government’s survival, but it underlines political tensions over the status of Quebec, which has held two failed referendums over whether to
break away from Canada.