Independence for Quebec

The New Socialists already recognize the principle that Quebec and the First Nations peoples are oppressed nations within the Canadian state with the right to self-determination up to and including independence. While the right to self-determination is a principle, the decision to advocate independence flows from specific historical conditions. The most important consideration for socialists is how best to build genuine working class unity on the basis of recognizing the full rights of the oppressed.

In the present period, advocating independence for Quebec is the only way to fight for genuine working class unity. It is clear that the constitutional situation in the Canadian state is at an impasse, with no way forward for full inclusion of Quebec on terms acceptable to the people of Quebec. The Federal Government and the Provinces are increasingly threatening not to recognize the results of a Quebec referendum and to challenge the borders of an independent Quebec. The working class in the Canadian state (outside Quebec) is increasingly bound to its conservative rulers on the basis of anti-Quebec bigotry. The working class in Quebec is bound to the conservative leadership of the nationalist movement by national oppression and anglo-chauvinism. There is substantial support in the Quebec working class for national independence.

In the Canadian state (outside Quebec) the active goal of socialists should be to campaign for the right to self-determination and against Plan B (non-recognition of that right by the Canadian state). The advocacy of Quebecois independence must at the same time include unconditional defence of the right of Quebec to secede from Canada without the imposition of terms by the Canadian state (regarding borders etc.) and recognition of the right of First Nations to self-determination in Canada and Quebec.

 

Adopted by the New Socialist Group in August 1997