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.”

This election can’t be over soon enough

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I’m counting the minutes until they count the last ballot. I’m frustrated and worn out from the longest 33 day (plus 18 months) campaign in memory. I’m exhausted from clenching the newspapers, yelling at the TV and wincing at the radio. I waved my fist back at PKP and cringed at Janette Bertrand. I got angrier each day with Marois’ venomous attacks on Anglos and religious folk and Ontario students domiciled in Quebec yet robbed of their right to vote.

Mailloux spewed anti-semitic poison that would have led to demonstrations elsewhere in Canada, but here the Premier stood by her side and shook her head in agreement.

Lisée contradicted Drainville who contradicted Marois who contradicted herself. I could barely keep score.

Yes, Canadians would still be able to visit Quebec without a passport as our borders with the ROC would be open, Quebec would help set Canadian monetary policy… Forget unilateral declaration of independence. Marois just willed it by snapping her little fingers without a referendum or negotiation. Chutzpah!

The Premier of all Quebecers showed us that nous didn’t include us. No need to debate in English.  You, ain’t nous. (The only upside was that we didn’t have to see her face on telephone poles deep in D’Arcy McGee).

But, Couillard gained the courage and determination to say to Quebecers what no liberal leader has said as long as I could remember (except when Charest was leader of the PCs in Ottawa, I’ll give him that). The English-speaking people of Quebec are full partners, our language does not diminish theirs and every parent in Quebec wants their kid to be bilingual, if not trilingual. And, oh this was a biggie, maybe, just maybe, he could settle old scores by working on Quebec’s place within Canada.

Could we really be at the dawn of a new era? This may be the last big chance to fix what’s wrong in Quebec and in Canada. Our kids are more mobile than ever before. The bilingual ones can pick up and get a job well beyond Quebec’s borders. Not so for the one’s whose parents voted away their right to teach them English at a young age.

If we can just get beyond the old and tired debates about language and independence and work to become more bilingual and more united with our fellow Canadians (who transfer billions of dollars to our cash-starved, economically depressed province, merci very much), maybe, just maybe, we can look ahead to a brighter, healthier, richer, happier tomorrow.

Fingers crossed. I’m going to vote!

If Quebec separates, we keep Montreal

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Jonathan Kay: If Quebec separates, we keep Montreal

National Post | March 5, 2014 

Having sown the political fields with an ugly campaign against ethnic garb and the English language, Quebec Premier Pauline Marois is now hoping to reap a bounty of votes in an April 7 provincial election. If she wins a majority, the province likely will hold a third sovereignty referendum. It’s been almost two decades since the last one, and separatist foot-dragging on the question of when they’ll get their “winning conditions” is beginning to take on a farcical Waiting-for-Godot aspect. If not now, when?

During the 1995 referendum campaign, the federalist forces held a downtown Montreal rally that drew an estimated 100,000 participants. But as Michael Den Tandt reported in Wednesday’s edition of the National Post, such scenes are unlikely to be repeated this time around. Quebec’s bloated welfare state and dysfunctional infrastructure programs suck in $16.3-billion more in federal money than the province gives back. Increasingly, Alberta is becoming Canada’s economic engine, as Quebec dawdles about developing its own energy resources and repels investors with its absurd language laws. To many Canadians, Quebec’s government looks less like a partner in confederation, and more like a bailout case.

Meanwhile, the Quebec government’s completely gratuitous attack on religious freedoms in the province finally has convinced many Canadians that the province’s society truly is distinct, albeit in the worst possible way. It goes without saying that not all Quebecers are xenophobes. But if they are willing to re-elect, in majority form, a government that builds its popularity at the expense of turbaned nine-year-old soccer players, hijabbed nurses, and yarmulke-wearing doctors, well that says something doesn’t it? We’re all federalists here, but the behaviour of Quebec’s government truly does strain the conceit that “Canadian values” hold interrupted sway from coast to coast.

So how should our federal government respond if a referendum is called by a re-elected Parti Québécois? Here are four suggestions:

First, don’t act as if Quebec separation would be some kind of apocalypse. Acting as if Quebec’s departure from Canada is unthinkable destroys our bargaining position on a hundred different issues once the referendum fails. Indeed, such hysteria is a major reason Quebec has built up that annual $16.3-billion bribe.

Second, notwithstanding the paragraph above, let’s not waste our breath lecturing Quebec about the economic fallout of separation. Like all sentimental nationalists, Quebec separatists see independence as a sort of magical elixir. Warning them about dollars and cents is like warning teenage poker players that all those cigars might eventually give them gum cancer.

Third, make NDP leader Thomas Mulcair — and every other soft federalist — tell us clearly whether he or she respects Canadian law. Specifically, the Clarity Act, which defines a valid referendum result as one based on “a clear expression of the will of the population,” expressed through “a clear majority” of voters — as opposed to the bare-bones majority standard of 50%-plus-one, which the NDP has supported since the Jack Layton era.

Fourth, and this is the big one: Have the courage to tell Quebec, flat out, that if Canada is divisible, so is Quebec. And whatever clear voting standard is used to adjudicate the overall result of the province’s referendum will be the same result used to adjudicate the status of the province’s northern Cree regions, the Eastern Townships, and, most importantly, Montreal.

There are several million people living in Quebec who oppose their provincial government’s separatist agenda

Which is to say: If 60% of Quebcers somehow can be convinced to vote for separation, while 60% of Montrealers vote to retain the status quo, then Ottawa should partition Montreal as part of sovereign Canada, free of Quebec’s parochial language laws, ethnic demagoguery and dead-end economic policies.

Partition wouldn’t be about Canada making any sort of land grab, even if that is how separatists would describe it. Partition would be about fulfilling our historical and constitutional obligations to Canadians — especially Anglophones and immigrants — who have grown up in this country expecting their government to respect basic rights (especially those pertaining to language and religion). Since Quebec’s separatists have shown that they have no intention of respecting these rights — indeed, that are willing to ostentatiously flout these rights as a means to appeal to the worst instincts of Québécois voters — the federal government must signal that it will act decisively when the votes are counted.

It is fine for jaded Canadians in Toronto and Calgary to say they’re tired of Quebec’s complaints, and that the province can just “go its own way” if it likes. But there are several million people living in Quebec who oppose their provincial government’s separatist agenda, and they may soon be looking to Ottawa for vindication of their rights. In the unlikely event that the separatists win a referendum, the voices of these Canadians must not be ignored.

National Post

Unity protection lost under Bill 170, Nashen, Suburban

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Affidavit contesting forced mergers, 2001

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AFFIDAVIT FILED BY COTE SAINT-LUC TO CONTEST

FORCED MERGERS (BILL 170)

MAY 4, 2001

SOLEMN DECLARATION

I, THE UNDERSIGNED, GLENN J. NASHEN, COUNCILLOR FOR DISTRICT 6 OF THE CITY OF COTE SAINT-LUC, DOMICILED AND RESIDING IN COTE SAINT-LUC, DISTRICT OF MONTREAL, SOLEMNLY DECLARE:

I have reviewed the material filed by the Procureure-Générale du Québec et al in this case, and in particular the material filed by Paul-André Linteau;  I submit this affidavit in general response thereto to illustrate the importance of the municipal institutions for the English-speaking ethno-cultural group in Quebec.

INTRODUCTION

1. I am the Councillor for District 6 of the City of Cote Saint-Luc (The City);

2. I am chairman of the Emergency Services Advisory Committee (ESAC) and the Municipal Emergency Preparedness Committee (MEPC) of the City of Cote Saint-Luc.  The ESAC is an oversight committee for municipal emergency services including, but not limited to, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Department, Fire Prevention, Public Security and Civil Protection.  Also within the committee’s purview is community policing (MUC Police Services), Urgences Santé, etc…  The MEPC is established pursuant to an Act respecting the Protection of Persons and Property in the event of a disaster cap P38.1 (revised statutes of Quebec) and has as its mandate the creation, review, maintenance and testing of a municipal emergency plan in case of disaster within the territory of the municipality;

3. I have made this solemn declaration personally and on behalf of the City of Cote Saint-Luc;

4. The present procedure has been authorized by the Municipal Council of the City of Cote Saint-Luc;

5. The present procedure challenges the constitutionality of the Act to Reform the Municipal Territorial Organization of the Metropolitan Regions of Montreal, Quebec and the Outaouais, S.Q. 2000, C-56 (hereinafter: Bill 170); and more specifically Schedule I, I-A and I-B of Bill 170 adopted by the Quebec National Assembly and assented to on December 20th, 2000;

6. I was born in the Province of Quebec in 1962, and have always been a member of Quebec’s English-speaking community.  I graduated from McGill University in 1985;

7. I am currently employed as Executive Director at Alliance Quebec.  Founded in 1982, Alliance Quebec is a volunteer-based community organization committed to the preservation and enhancement of the English-speaking communities and institutions within Quebec. Alliance Quebec works to encourage the recognition of English-speaking people as full participants in Quebec society, ensure guaranteed access to health and social services in English, and secure a strong and accessible English school system. The organization works toward an acceptance of an open and multicultural society; a commitment to a united Canada; a participative and integrated approach toward community retention and development; and proactive and entrepreneurial management;

8. Given my experience as a Councillor in a predominantly English-speaking community and as Executive Director of the Province’s largest English- speaking lobby association, I have developed significant expertise in the needs of the English-speaking community of Quebec;

9. I formerly served for five consecutive years as Director of Young Leadership at the Federation of Jewish Community Services of Montreal;

10. I have been extensively involved in a number of Jewish Community organizations over the last 20 years, as demonstrated by my curriculum vitae, that is produced to support my affidavit as exhibit GJN-1; Given my experience as a professional and volunteer in the Jewish Community over the last 20 years I have developed significant expertise in the needs of the Jewish Community of Quebec;

11. I have trained as an Emergency Medical Technician and served as a volunteer in the Cote Saint-Luc Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for 18 years and was employed by Urgences Santé and previously by Resuscicar Ambulance and Medic-1 Ambulance from 1980 to 1997;

12. I am an applicant in this action in my own capacity as an individual residing in the City of Cote Saint-Luc and as a mandatory for the citizens of Cote Saint-Luc in my position as a municipal Councillor;

EROSION OF SERVICES TO THE OFFICIAL LINGUISTIC MINORITY AND TO THE JEWISH CULTURAL MINORITY BY AMALGAMATION

EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES

13. I believe that the Cote Saint-Luc volunteer Emergency Medical Services are threatened with closure by Bill 170, thereby diminishing, and potentially risking, the health and safety of our residents.  EMS responds to approximately 3000 local calls for emergency assistance within an average response time less than 2.5 minutes;

14. Our volunteer first responders are all bilingual and many are fluent in other languages as well.  With a significant population of senior citizens who readily rely upon rapid emergency pre-hospital care, many of whom are not fluent in either English or French, many of whom speak eastern European languages as their first language, many of whom speak Yiddish as their first language, EMS is uniquely capable of quickly bridging any linguistic gap and thereby rendering rapid care and quickly reassuring elderly and distraught residents.  Often, EMS first responders will act as interpreters to the Urgences Santé ambulance technicians and doctors, as well as police, fire and other responding authorities as most of these emergency personnel would not be fluent in Eastern European languages, certainly not in Yiddish; indeed many do not even speak English well enough to communicate with the sick or injured in emergency situations.  It should be noted that in crisis situations many people would revert to their mother-tongue even if they were fluently bilingual in several languages;

15. Many of our first responders, being members of the Jewish community, and yet others familiar with the community, are highly sensitive to the needs of our significant population of holocaust survivors.  Our first responders are professionally trained to deal with the psychological trauma of those who survived inhumane conditions and unspeakable experiences and whose circumstances are such that figures of authority, and those in uniform, evoke memories more painful than most can ever imagine;

16. I believe that the reduction of service or elimination of the Cote Saint-Luc EMS would result in a significant loss to the community and would prove to be a major disservice to residents ultimately resulting in a deterioration of health care and quality of life;

JEWISH COMMUNITY

17. The City of Cote Saint-Luc comprises a significant Jewish population (65%) and receives services that are highly sensitive to, and respectful of, said community;

18. As a community  with a predominantly English-speaking and Jewish population the City of Cote Saint-Luc has provided local benefits and services and served as a recreational and cultural beacon for the community both on its own and in co-operation with other groups.  The benefits and services provided are necessary to prevent the out-migration of residents from the English-speaking and Jewish communities and to make those residents more comfortable in Quebec;

19. These said benefits and services include, but are not restricted to, the following examples:

A )  Synagogues (and Churches) are assisted through Community funding (tax monies);

B)  Sensitivity in zoning regulations;

C)  Through co-operation with the City there are public events organized around major holidays such as the lighting of the Menorah at Chanukah, the celebration of the Jewish festivals of Purim and Sukkoth, many of which take place in municipal parks and buildings;

D) Sensitivity in Fire Prevention of religious institutions;

E)  Heightened public security at community institutions (ie. Jewish Day Schools, synagogues) during High Holy Days, and at other times;

F)  Relaxation of parking restrictions during High Holy Days and other religious holidays when religious observers are prohibited from driving a car and thus preventing them from moving their vehicle;

G)  Sensitivity of all municipal staff to the cultural demographics of the citizenry of Cote Saint-Luc;

ENGLISH-SPEAKING COMMUNITY AND BILINGUAL CHARACTER OF THE CITY

20. The Government of Quebec adopted Bill 170, as well as Bill 171, which raises the minimum threshold for a municipality (or borough) to attain bilingual status by requiring that the English-speaking residents of the given jurisdiction comprise in excess of 50% mother-tongue English-speakers, whereas previously the definition was 50% non-French-speaking, thus making it more difficult, and practically impossible, to acquire bilingual status;

21. It is apparent that the Government of Quebec sought to reduce the rights of the English-speaking residents of bilingual jurisdictions with this legislation by using the strictest possible definition to determine “membership” in the English-speaking community;

22. Section 1 of Bill 170 declares the new City of Montreal to be a “French City”.  The new City of Montreal will not qualify for bilingual status under section 29.1 of the Charter of the French Language;

23. Services that are transferred from the new borough to the new central City of Montreal will no longer be provided bilingually.  Therefore, the English- speaking residents of the City of Cote Saint-Luc will immediately lose their bilingual services that they have enjoyed for decades.  Some of the powers to be transferred include the municipal court, finance and taxation, fire fighting (and possibly Emergency Medical Services), maintenance of major parks and arteries;

24. The City of Cote Saint-Luc look to, as an example, the loss of police services and assessment services to the Montreal Urban Community in 1970 as to the likely scenario for the new City of Montreal in the event Bill 170 is permitted to stand.  Those services were previously municipal and the City of Cote Saint-Luc can provide residents with services in English and French.  The MUC, as an entity, does not enjoy bilingual status and therefore does not officially provide services in English;

25. As a result of the MUC’s failure to provide bilingual services in these areas, the City of Cote saint-Luc and other bilingual municipalities adopted resolutions calling upon the MUC to provide bilingual services and apply for bilingual status.  A copy of said resolution is attached as Appendix GJN-2.  In 1997, Vera Danyluk, Chair of the MUC, informed the City of Cote Saint-Luc that MUC lawyers had provided advice that since the MUC did not have bilingual status it could not provide bilingual services or erect bilingual signage under current Quebec law.  A copy of said letter is attached as Appendix GJN-3. It is highly probable that the new City of Montreal would treat transferred services from the bilingual jurisdiction to the new “French city” in exactly the same manner as the MUC did;

26. As a result of the MUC’s refusal to provide bilingual services, it also refused to erect a bilingual sign in front of the then newly created Neighbourhood Police Station 9, serving Cote Saint-Luc, Hampstead and Montreal West, despite the fact that all three municipalities possess bilingual status and all three had requested bilingual signage at this site.  With the refusal by the MUC to provide bilingual signage the three cities were forced to pay for their own bilingual sign, out of city funds, in addition to the millions paid out to the MUC every year for police services, in order to erect a bilingual sign. Newspaper stories and an op-ed piece on this issue are annexed as Appendix GJN-4;

27. The new City of Montreal is deemed by Bill 170 to be the employer of all employees of the mega-city.  Therefore, despite the bilingual status granted to the borough in which the City of Cote Saint-Luc would find itself, the borough would not be able to ensure that all employees working within its territory were bilingual since it would be up to the “French” mega-city to assign employees;

28. The new City of Montreal would not have the same right to require knowledge of the English language for job positions that the City of Cote Saint-Luc currently enjoys, nor is it likely that all efforts would be made to hire an equitable number of employees from within the English-speaking community.  At this time, residents can be served in either English or French in every department of the City of Cote Saint-Luc.  The percentage of English-speaking people currently working for the City of Montreal and the MUC is  below 7%;

29. Currently, the Mayor and all the City Councillors representing the City of Cote Saint-Luc are from the English-speaking community and are sensitive to the needs of residents who often feel targeted by the Quebec government and envisions their municipal politicians as the protectors of their quality of life in Quebec;

30. Currently, even before the full force of Bill 170 is enacted, the Office de la langue francaise is pursuing Cote Saint-Luc, and other bilingual municipalities to francisize street signs that are otherwise non-French descriptive.  It is my belief that the local population feels targeted and discriminated against by the harassment of the OLF in this, and many previous cases;

31. Combined, Cote Saint Luc, Hampstead and Montreal West have 21 municipal elected officials, all from the English-speaking community.  In the new City of Montreal these municipalities would have 2 representatives out of a total of 71 and who would have no ability to influence decision-making as compared to the present situation;

32. As a result of possessing bilingual status, The City of Cote Saint-Luc has:

A)  Bilingual Signs;

All road signs, park signs, City building and infrastructure signs and other signs in the City are bilingual;

City vehicles such as EMS units, fire trucks, public security cars and Public Works, Engineering and Recreation vehicles have bilingual insignias;

City sewer insignias are bilingual;

All letterheads, envelopes and cheques are bilingual;

City Pins, Flags and Crest are bilingual;

The City’s website is fully bilingual;

All by-laws are adopted and are available in 2 official versions, English and French.

French & English bilingualism is a significant fact in the hiring process;

The City works internally largely in English, that being the preferred language of members of Council and most staff, however French-speaking staff work in French and in harmony with the English-speaking staff;

Residents are always served in the language of their choice;

All mass communication sent out by the City is bilingual;

All programs of the City are bilingual, however due to its largely English speaking character most recreation programs and City sponsored activities and Council meetings take place predominantly, but not exclusively, in English;

33. The City has always ensured that our French-speaking residents are fully respected, as well as their needs, and consequently programs are offered in French wherever possible;

34. As a result of the proposed Bill 170, English language services provided within the City of Cote Saint-Luc would decline dramatically and would impact upon the population in a negative manner. I believe that the effect of Bill 170 would be of serious detriment to the residents of Cote Saint-Luc and would result in a significant loss of rights for residents.  Ultimately, Bill 170 could lead to a significant out-migration of the English-speaking community in Cote Saint-Luc;

35. The loss of the City of Cote Saint-Luc as a Municipality that has effectively served the English-speaking community and Jewish community would be extraordinarily damaging for both the English-speaking and Jewish communities and could lead to the out-migration of English-speaking Quebecers living therein, particularly younger people who are more mobile;

36. The out-migration of English-speaking Quebecers has been disastrous for the English-speaking community as a whole and for individuals and families.  It has weakened our institutions and torn families apart;

37. The loss of the last level of government (namely the City of Cote Saint-Luc as a political body) which English-speaking people can effectively control would be a serious infringement on charter rights of the Official Linguistic Minority and would be a serious set back for the English-speaking community from which they may not recover;

38. The existence of the City of Cote Saint-Luc as a political body which has consistently fought for the rights of the English-speaking community has assisted English-speaking people and institutions across the Province of Quebec, not just in the City itself;

39. It is a social reality that Quebec is the only Province in which there exists an English-speaking Minority community;

40. In my view the Supreme Court of Canada has declared that the rights of both Official Linguistic Communities to live in comfort and respect across Canada is an underlying Canadian constitutional principle in the Reference case on Quebec secession and that all laws must be interpreted in this light;

41. In my view Bill 170 will make many English-speaking people uncomfortable in Quebec and will potentially lead to an out-migration of English-speaking Quebecers;

42. In my view, this law has a discriminatory impact on English-speaking Quebecers since the loss of our municipal institutions leads to an impact on our rights which is not equivalent to the impact on our fellow Quebecers from the French-speaking community;

THE POLITICAL IMPACT OF THE GOVERNMENT’S DECISION

43. The result of the November 15 Leger poll showed that 87.8% of residents wanted Cote Saint-Luc to remain as an autonomous City and not be merged with Montreal or other municipalities.  The results are attached as Appendix GJN-5;

44. One of the key reasons for the results were the desire of the residents to continue to live in an English-speaking community with their own political representation;

45. The effect of the new City of Montreal is to reduce control of the English-speaking community of the City of Cote Saint-Luc over its own services and institutions;

46. The current Quebec government has vigorously opposed the rights of certain areas within Quebec to remain part of Canada if Quebec ever voted to separate from Canada;

47. Indeed, around the same time as the Government of Quebec passed Bill 170 it also passed Bill 99 which affirmed the National Assembly of Quebec was the sole master of Quebec’s political future and in my view contradicted the Supreme Court decision in the Reference Case on Quebec secession;

48. One of the elements of the Supreme Court decision was that in the event of negotiations on secession the issue of boundaries of an independent Quebec and the rights of minorities would need to be on the table;

49. Bill 99 affirms that the boundaries of Quebec are sacrosanct and cannot be changed;

50. I sponsored a resolution for the City to remain in Canada, in case the Province of Quebec sought to remove itself from Canada through secession.  A principle reason for this resolution is to guarantee bilingual services and the preservation of the English-speaking community.  Said resolution is attached as Appendix GJN-6.  The Cote Saint-Luc Unity Resolution ensures that the Governments of Quebec and Canada would be put on notice to ensure that Cote Saint-Luc wished to remain part of Canada in the event Quebecers voted to separate;

51. Over 96% of Côte Saint-Luc residents voted against separation in 1980 and 1995;

52. All of the bilingual municipalities in the Montreal region adopted similar unity resolutions.  They are attached as Appendix GJN-7;

53. The effect of Bill 170 would be to rob the City of Cote Saint-Luc and the other bilingual municipalities of the ability to defend our citizens right to remain Canadian in the event of a “YES” vote on separation;

54. I believe that one of the reasons for the merger legislation was to prevent bilingual municipalities from defending their residents rights to remain Canadians in the event of a Quebec vote for secession.

55. I have read the present solemn declaration and all the facts mentioned are true to my knowledge.

56. I file exhibits GJN-1 to GJN-7.

CÔTE SAINT-LUC, May 4th, 2001

signed

Glenn J. Nashen

Solemn declaration made before me,

In Côte Saint-Luc, this 4th day of May 2001.

signed

Frances Edwards

Commissioner of Oaths

Judicial District of Montreal

CSL Councillors rip Michaud for remarks, Gazette

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CSL Councillors rip Michaud for remarks-Gazette-2001-01-22

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.

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