You can't always get what you want: the territorial scope of an independent Quebec

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It is an article of faith among the francophone secessionists of Quebec that an independent Quebec would have the same territory as the province of Quebec, which is guaranteed to the province under Canadian constitutional law. However, many people in Quebec vigorously dispute this contention, including the Aboriginal communities in the Ungava region of northern Quebec. Ungava is part of the traditional homeland to a number of Quebec's Aboriginal peoples, such as the Cree and Inuit peoples. It also accounts for approximately two-thirds of Quebec's present territory. None of Ungava's Aboriginal communities have agreed to be part of an independent Quebec. Rather, they insist that they cannot be separated from Canada without their consent. These Aboriginal peoples have consistently asserted that they have a legal right to remain within Canada if and when Quebec becomes an independent state. The Cree have also suggested that another option for them in this event is independent statehood for the Aboriginal peoples. For an independent Quebec, the practical implications of the Aboriginal peoples either staying in Canada or seeking their own independence are the same: Quebec's independence would result in new borders and a reduction of Quebec's territorial scope. In short, a secession of Quebec would partition the province.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages29
JournalOsgoode Hall law journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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