BACK TO GROUNDS, HABEAS CORPUS CANADA
Text of the AGREEMENT between the
Parti Québécois, the Bloc Québécois,
and the Action démocratique du
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
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
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.
negotiations prove to be fruitless, the National Assembly will be empowered to
declare the sovereignty of Québec without further delay.
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
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
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
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;
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
- 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
- the fight against arms and drug trafficking;
- postal services;
- any other matters considered of common interest to the parties.
(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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.