Legislative Reports

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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

Quebec

In September 1995, the National Assembly held extraordinary sittings for the purpose of considering the following matters: the introduction of a bill respecting the future of Quebec; a motion by the Prime Minister proposing the text of a question to be the subject of a referendum, pursuant to sections 8 and 9 of the Referendum Act; a motion to fix the amount of the subsidy to be granted to each of the national committees, pursuant to section 40 of the Referendum Act; a motion for the adjournment of the Assembly to a date subsequent to that which is provided in the second paragraph of Standing Order 19 of the National Assembly; and, if need be, any measure to maintain the rights, privileges and prerogatives of the Assembly, to guard its proceedings against any form of interference and to ensure that the people of Quebec be able to express their opinion with regard to their future.

Bill 1, An Act respecting the future of Quebec, which passed the introductory stage, authorizes the National Assembly to proclaim the sovereignty of Quebec and to give effect to the Declaration of sovereignty appearing in its Preamble, while also stating that this declaration must be preceded by a formal offer of economic and political partnership with Canada.

This bill also provides for the drafting of a new Quebec constitution which will impose upon the Government the obligation to protect Quebec culture and to ensure its development, while providing guarantees with regard to the rights of the English-speaking community and the aboriginal nations. It also furnishes specifics concerning the territory of a sovereign Quebec, Quebec citizenship, currency as well as Quebec's participation in treaties and international organizations and alliances.

The English version of the question that was the subject of the referendum on the future of Quebec held last October 30 is the following:

   Do you agree that Quebec should
   become sovereign, after having
   made a formal offer to Canada for
   a new Economic and Political
   Partnership, within the scope of
   the Bill respecting the future of
   Quebec and of the agreement
   signed on June 12, 1995?
   Yes or No.

In the days following the referendum, after having announced his intention to leave the political scene shortly before Christmas, Prime Minister Jacques Parizeau, on 3 November 1995, proceeded to a partial reorganization of the Cabinet.

The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Revenue portfolios have been entrusted to Pauline Marois, while the vice-chairman of the Treasury Board, Jacques Leonard, has been appointed to the position left vacant by Mrs. Marois as chairman of the Treasury Board. The former Minister of Finance, Jean Campeau, is now Minister of Transport, and the Ministry of Immigration and Cultural Communities portfolio has been added to those of the Minister of Employment and Minister of State for Concerted Action, Louise Harel. Richard Le Hir resigned as Minister for Restructuring.

As for the administrative changes that have taken place, the Assistant Secretary of the Assembly Gerard Laliberte, who was also Director of the Secretariat of the National Assembly, was appointed Director of Parliamentary Procedure Research Branch, effective 1 November 1995. The interim director of the Secretariat of the Assembly is the Director General of Parliamentary and Legislative Affairs, Rene Chretien.

The Assembly resumed its proceedings on 28 November 1995. Meanwhile, the Secretariat of the Assembly has just recently published its Statistics of the Assembly for the entire 34th Legislature, from 28 November, 1989 to 17 June, 1994.

Nancy Ford

National Assembly Secretariat

(Translated by Sylvia Ford)

Committee Activity

Over the last quarter, there were fewer committee activities than usual because of the referendum period. …