Housefather to BQ: Quebecers voted to stay within Canada

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Quebecers have made it clear in past referendums and elections that they wish to remain within the Canadian federation, Mount Royal MP Anthony Housefather told a Bloc Québécois MP in the Commons last week.

The exchange with Xavier Barsalou-Duval took place during a debate on the government’s tax bill, which  Barsalou-Duval supports.

Housefather thanked the Bloc MP for supporting Bill C-2.

“I understand that his political party believes that Quebec should be an independent country,” the Mount Royal MP said. “In his speech, he said that Quebec did not need the federal government and that his people were trapped in a federation. Twice, in two referendums, our people voted to remain in Canada.

“After two referendums and a number of provincial and federal elections in which our people decided to stay in Canada, why does he still believe that the desire and will of the people of Quebec are not respected?”

Barsalou-Duval countered that no Quebec premier has signed the Canadian constitution “since it was forced on Quebeckers in 1982.

“No one has accepted the situation that Quebec is in. We are in a kind of no man’s land. Ottawa continues to impose things on us that we never agreed to. The best example is the [Energy East] pipeline.

“A number of studies, which were swept under the rug, have shown that the federal government went well beyond its allowed spending for the 1980 and 1995 referendums,” the Bloc MP charged. “It cheated and did not follow the rules.”

Rick Blue comments on Canada Day in CSL

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Rick Blue

Blue Notes – July 8, 2013 – West Island Gazette

A week ago Bowser and Blue performed at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park in Cote St. Luc for Canada Day. We were worried about the rain, but it held off until we were finished. The crowd was large and supportive. We brought out our best Canadian and Quebec material for them.

It’s always great to play for an audience that understands our jokes.

Cote St. Luc is an interesting city. It is completely surrounded by railroad tracks. And because there are only a couple ways in, it is like an island in the midst of the Montreal sprawl.

Indeed it is a unique community. And these days a rebellious one. They are none too happy about the current regime in Quebec City. Both the mayor and the local MP were vocal in their criticism of Bill 14 and the PQ’s never-ending political civil war.

Yes, the mayor and the entire city council were there. We even sang a song with them at the end of our set. They all wore red. Because they are proud Canadians.

We share the feeling. I don’t think there are any Canadians more conscious of our identity than Canadians living in Quebec. We are constantly under threat. It is a truly unique situation. Canadians across our country might be proud of our land and feel the surge of patriotism that we unleash every July 1st but there is no Canadian as desperately attached to it as we are.

Because it is our only hope to survive.

The PQ’s latest campaign of open hostility toward Canada is also open hostility toward us. It is a government that acts hostile toward its own citizens. And we pay our taxes for the privilege.

We try to lessen the burden with humour. Because if you can laugh at something, it makes it much less oppressive. And if you can laugh at your enemies, you have escaped their control.

And because laughter is the best revenge.

But we are musicians first and comedians second. We are very serious about our songs. Even if they are funny. Songs have power. And they have many functions. They can make people dance or fall in love. I always like it when our songs make people laugh. And I like it when our songs say something that you just won’t get from any other songwriters.

Like folk singers anywhere we write about our people. And it is their support that keeps us going. We sing about the shared experiences of the people we sing for. It has to be entertaining, of course. But it is also a little subversive.

And in Cote St. Luc, they understood the subtext.

Unity protection lost under Bill 170, Nashen, Suburban

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Council supports Chretien’s unity move, Suburban

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Council supports unity, Suburban-1999-12-08

Council Wades into Referendum Debate

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Tuesday 7 December 1999

Council Wades into Referendum Debate


The Gazette

The recent heated revival of the referendum debate that sent shock waves throughout Canada has trickled down to the tranquil city of Cote St. Luc.

Municipal officials there yesterday adopted a resolution stating the city supports Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s recent decision to intervene, if necessary, in the next Quebec referendum to ensure the process is clear and credible.

“This is a symbolic gesture,” said Cote St. Luc Mayor Robert Libman. “We wanted to strike out and show our support.”

Last month, Chretien said a 50-per-cent-plus-one vote is not enough to break up the country, and any future referendum on Quebec independence must ask a simple question with a single focus.

“We want the prime minister to know that he isn’t standing alone on this issue,” said Councillor Glenn Nashen.

“The ability to affect changes starts at the grass-roots level,” Nashen said. “Because there is a real possibility that another referendum will be held, we thought this was the right thing to do.”

Cote St. Luc city officials plan to send copies of the resolution to municipalities across the Montreal Urban Community.

This isn’t the first time Cote St. Luc officials have decided to wear their federalist hearts on their sleeves.

In August 1996, the city adopted a resolution stating the city wants to remain in a Quebec that is part of Canada. Several other municipal councils in the Montreal area adopted similar resolutions.

Three months later, the council adopted another resolution stating the municipality would hold its own vote if any future referendum on Quebec sovereignty isn’t based on a “fair and clear question.”

The adoption of the latest resolution also makes sense since 96 per cent of Cote St. Luc residents voted against separation in the last two referendums, Nashen said.

The resolution also is an example of how city officials can voice their opinions on issues in the face of the looming threat of municipal amalgamations by the provincial government, Nashen said.

“Municipalities have an increasingly important role to play on a wide range of issues, including the whole national unity debate,” Nashen said. “As long as cities have a voice, we must continue to use it.”

Federalist cities virtually secure in Canada

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Federalist cities virtually secure in Canada, Suburban, 1999-01-13

Côte Saint-Luc in Canada Forever: Councillors

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For Immediate Release                                                        30 August 1998

Côte Saint-Luc in Canada Forever: Councillors

Cote Saint-Luc— The recent Supreme Court ruling on Quebec virtually guarantees that Côte Saint-Luc’s place in Canada is secure, said Councillor Glenn J. Nashen who introduced a National Unity resolution to City Council in August 1996.  “Our resolutions became the cornerstone of a movement that swept through Quebec and across Canada”, Nashen said.

The municipal resolutions for Canadian Unity were eventually deposited before the Supreme Court by lawyer Guy Bertrand.   The High Court ruling supported Côte Saint-Luc’s resolution that the borders of an independent Quebec are not sacrosanct.

“Our clear declaration regarding the right of cities to choose to remain Canadian proved to be effective and successful,” said Councillor Mitchell Brownstein, a strong advocate of National Unity.  Brownstein presented a National Unity resolution to Council prior to the October 1995 referendum which was adopted in November 1996.  This resolution was subsequently adopted by more than 40 cities throughout Quebec.  Brownstein explained that the “Plan B” approach which began in Côte Saint-Luc eventually became the policy of the Government of Canada.

Councillors Nashen, Brownstein and Richard Schwartz have made National Unity and Côte Saint-Luc’s right to remain in Canada an integral part of their Vision 2000 and Beyond – A Blueprint for the Future of Côte Saint-Luc planning document.

CSL council happy resolutions declared legal, Suburban

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Click: csl-council-happy-resolutions-declared-legal-suburban-1997-08-20

CSL councillors bring Canadian unity to Ottawa, Suburban

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Click: CSL-councillors-bring-canadian-unity-to-ottawa-suburban-1997-06-18

Municipal Resolution: National Unity, 1996

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Nov. 4, 1996 Resolution on Canadian Unity

WHEREAS the electors of the City of Côte Saint-Luc voted by a substantial majority to reject Quebec separation, both in 1980 and in 1995;

WHEREAS the current Government of Quebec has repeatedly reiterated its desire to hold yet another referendum on Quebec separation;

WHEREAS the Council of the City of Côte Saint-Luc believes that the will of our residents to remain part of Canada must be respected by the Government of Canada, by the Government of Quebec and by all Canadians;




“THAT if a date is ever set for a future Quebec referendum on the issue of secession, that the Government of Canada must hold a Canada-wide referendum and ask a fair and clear question, failing which the City of Côte Saint-Luc will hold its own referendum and ask the following question:

‘Do you want the City of Côte Saint-Luc to remain part of Canada?’

THAT the City of Côte Saint-Luc call upon the Government of Canada, the Government of Quebec and all Canadians to respect and comply with the decision of our residents.

THAT copies of this resolution be sent to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Prime Minister of Quebec, the Member of Parliament for Mount-Royal, the Member of the National Assembly for D’Arcy McGee, to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the Union des municipalités du Québec, la Conférence des Maires de la banlieue de Montréal, the Montreal Urban Community, all municipalities on the Island of Montreal and all Provincial Municipal Associations.”


National unity coalition call for municipal resolutions

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A national unity coalition was featured in this November 1996 CTV Pulse News report.

Municipal Resolution: National Unity 1996

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Aug. 19, 1996


WHEREAS in the aftermath of the October 30th, 1995 referendum in Québec, we believe that there is an urgent need that the voice of those Québecois who believe in a united Canada be heard;

WHEREAS we begin from the premise that all Québecois are equal, regardless of the language that they speak, the religion that they practice, the colour of their skin or when or from where they or their ancestors arrived in this land;

WHEREAS these principles of equality are enshrined in the “Charte des Droits de la personne” of Québec adopted unanimously by the National Assembly on March 1st, 1993;

WHEREAS we are proud to live in this province and in this country to which we have contributed our skill, our industry, our diversity and our distinctiveness;

WHEREAS we believe that a Canada without Québec is as unthinkable as a Québec without Canada;

WHEREAS we recognize that, as great a country as this may be, there are constitutional adjustments that may be required to adjust jurisdictions to new realities as well as to accommodate the aspirations of certain regions or provinces and that such adjustments are normal from time to time in a federal system;

WHEREAS we are prepared to examine such constitutional adjustments as need to be made;

WHEREAS we believe that the process of constitutional adjustment is the responsibility of all citizens;

WHEREAS municipal government, the level of government that is the closest to the people, must demand and play a role in such process;

WHEREAS such constitutional adjustments must respect the principles of peace, order, good government, equality and fair play that are at the very foundation of our existing constitutional arrangements;

It was moved by COUNCILLOR G.J. NASHEN



“THAT the Mayor and Council of the City of Côte Saint-Luc:

1 – affirm their commitment to the principle of equality of all Québecois;

2 – assert their desire to remain in a Québec that is part of Canada;

3 – recognize that constitutional changes may be required;

4 – insist that such constitutional changes as may be required will be based upon the principles of equality enshrined in the Charter;

5 – commit themselves to strive to achieve the ends sought by this resolution;

6 – invite all other like-minded municipalities to join them in this endeavour;

THAT a copy of this resolution be sent to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Prime Minister of Quebec, the Member of the National Assembly for D’Arcy-McGee, the Member of Parliament for Mount-Royal, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Union des Municipalités du Québec.”


Cote Saint-Luc resolution on national unity

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In August 1996 Cote Saint-Luc adopted the first of two resolutions on national unity.  I was proud to move the first resolution.  The second one was moved by Councillor Mitchell Brownstein later the same year.

Committed to Canada, Gazette

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A different kind of separatist

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Uploaded on July 12, 2013

The partition movement begins to take shape across Montreal ahead of the 1995 Referendum on Quebec’s separation from Canada.

I was in attendance at the rally featured in this report and Anthony Housefather was a speaker.

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