Text of the AGREEMENT between
the Parti Québécois, the Bloc Québécois,
and the Action démocratique du Québec

Ratified at Québec City on June 12, 1995 by
Jacques Parizeau, Lucien Bouchard, and Mario Dumont

A common project

As the representatives of the Parti Québécois, the Bloc Québécois and the Action démocratique du Québec, we have reached agreement on a common project to be submitted in the referendum, a project that responds in a modern, decisive and open way to the long quest of the people of Québec to become masters of their destiny.

We have agreed to join forces and to coordinate our efforts so that in the Fall 1995 referendum, Quebecers can vote for a real change: to achieve sovereignty for Québec and a formal proposal for a new economic and political partnership with Canada, aimed among other things at consolidating the existing economic space.

The elements of this common project will be integrated in the bill that will be tabled in the Fall and on which Quebecers will vote on referendum day.

We believe that this common project respects the wishes of a majority of Quebecers, reflects the historical aspirations of Québec, and embodies, in a concrete way, the concerns expressed before the Commissions on the future of Québec.

Thus, our common project departs from the Canadian status quo, rejected by an immense majority of Quebecers. It is true to the aspirations of Quebecers for autonomy and would allow Québec to achieve sovereignty: to levy all of its taxes, pass all of its laws, sign all of its treaties. Our project also reflects the wish of Quebecers to maintain equitable and flexible ties with our Canadian neighbours, so that we can manage our common economic space together, particularly by means of joint institutions, including institutions of a political nature. We are convinced that this proposal is in the interests of both Québec and Canada, though we cannot of course presume to know what Canadians will decide in this regard.

Finally, our project responds to the wish so often expressed in recent months that the referendum unite as many Quebecers as possible on a clear, modern and open proposal.

The referendum mandate

Following a Yes victory in the referendum, the National Assembly, on the one hand, will be empowered to proclaim the sovereignty of Québec, and the government, on the other hand, will be bound to propose to Canada a treaty on a new economic and political Partnership, so as to, among other things, consolidate the existing economic space.

The referendum question will contain these two elements.

Accession to sovereignty

Insofar as the negotiations unfold in a positive fashion, the National Assembly will declare the sovereignty of Québec after an agreement is reached on the Partnership treaty. One of the first acts of a sovereign Québec will be ratification of the Partnership treaty.

The negotiations will not exceed one year, unless the National Assembly decides otherwise.

If the negotiations prove to be fruitless, the National Assembly will be empowered to declare the sovereignty of Québec without further delay.

The treaty

The new rules and the reality of international trade will allow a sovereign Québec, even without a formal Partnership with Canada, continued access to external markets, including the Canadian economic space. Moreover, a sovereign Québec could, on its own initiative, keep the Canadian dollar as its currency.

However, given the volume of trade between Québec and Canada and the extent of their economic integration, it will be to the evident advantage of both States to sign a formal treaty of economic and political Partnership.

The treaty will be binding on the parties and will specify appropriate measures for maintaining and improving the existing economic space. It will establish rules for the division of federal assets and management of the common debt. It will create the joint political institutions required to administer the new Economic and Political Partnership, and lay down their governing rules. It will provide for the establishment of a Council, a Secretariat, an Assembly and a Tribunal for the resolution of disputes.

As a priority, the treaty will ensure that the Partnership has the authority to act in the following areas:

  • customs union;
  • free movement of goods;
  • free movement of individuals;
  • free movement of services;
  • free movement of capital;
  • monetary policy;
  • labour mobility;
  • citizenship.

In accordance with the dynamics of the joint institutions and in step with their aspirations, the two member States will be free to make agreements in any other area of common interest, such as:

  • trade within the Partnership, so as to adapt and strengthen the provisions of the Agreement on Internal Trade;
  • international trade (for example, to establish a common position on the exemption with respect to culture contained in the WTO Agreement and NAFTA);
  • international representation (for example, the Council could decide, where useful or necessary, that the Partnership will speak with one voice within international organizations);
  • transportation (to facilitate, for example, access to the airports of the two countries or to harmonize highway, rail or inland navigation policies);
  • defence policy (for example, joint participation in peace-keeping operations or a coordinated participation in NATO and NORAD);
  • financial institutions (for example, to define regulations for chartered banks, security rules and sound financial practices);
  • fiscal and budgetary policies (to maintain a dialogue to foster the compatibility of respective actions);
  • environmental protection (in order to set objectives in such areas as cross-border pollution and the transportation and storage of hazardous materials);
  • the fight against arms and drug trafficking;
  • postal services;
  • any other matters considered of common interest to the parties.

Joint Institutions

(1) The Council

The Partnership Council, made up of an equal number of Ministers from the two States, will have decision-making power with regard to the implementation of the treaty.

The decisions of the Partnership Council will require a unanimous vote, thus each member will have a veto.

The Council will be assisted by a permanent secretariat. The Secretariat will provide operational liaison between the Council and the governments and follow up on the implementation of the Council's decisions. At the request of the Council or the Parliamentary Assembly, the Secretariat will produce reports on any matter relating to the application of the treaty.

(2) The Parliamentary Assembly

A Partnership Parliamentary Assembly, made up of Québec and Canadian Members appointed by their respective Legislative Assemblies, will be created.

It will examine the draft text of Partnership Council decisions, and forward its recommendations. It will also have the power to pass resolutions on any aspect of its implementation, particularly after receiving the periodical reports on the state of the Partnership addressed to it by the Secretariat. It will hear, in public sessions, the heads of the bipartite administrative commissions responsible for the application of specific treaty provisions.

The composition of the Assembly will reflect the population distribution within the Partnership. Québec will hold 25% of the seats. Funding for Partnership institutions will be shared equally, except for parliamentarians' expenses, which will be borne by each State.

(3) The Tribunal

A tribunal will be set up to resolve disputes relating to the treaty, its implementation and the interpretation of its provisions. Its decisions will be binding upon the parties.

The working procedures of the Tribunal could be modeled on existing mechanisms, such as the panels set up under NAFTA, the Agreement on Internal Trade or the World Trade Organization Agreement.

The Committee

An orientation and supervision committee will be set up for the purposes of the negotiations. It will be made up of independent personalities agreed upon by the three parties (PQ, BQ, ADQ). Its composition will be made public at the appropriate time. The Committee will

  • (1) take part in the selection of the chief negotiator;
  • (2) be allowed an observer at the negotiation table;
  • (3) advise the government on the progress of the negotiations;
  • (4) inform the public on the procedures and on the outcome of the negotiations.

The democratically appointed authorities of our three parties, having examined and ratified the present agreement yesterday, Sunday, June 11, 1995 - the Action démocratique du Québec having met in Sherbrooke, the Bloc Québécois in Montréal, and the Parti Québécois in Québec - we hereby ratify this common project and we call upon all Quebecers to endorse it.