Canada's Original Think Tank

Quebec Provincial Election

Quebec Provincial Election

Quebec Provincial Election

Quebec Provincial Election


Published on 8 April 2014
Hansard and Statements by Senator Dennis Dawson

Hon. Dennis Dawson:

Honourable senators, I do not want to repeat statements made by my colleague, Senator Maltais. Instead, I want to go one step further because I disagree with him to some extent.

We have announced the death of sovereignty in Quebec many times in the past, but as I told my colleague Senator Nolin six weeks ago, I think I will be very unhappy on April 8 because I will be making a speech I would not want to make about trying to save Canada once again. I went through the 1980 referendum as a member of Parliament; I went through the 1995 referendum; and six weeks ago, most of my Quebec colleagues, I know some of them voted Liberal for the first time, because they were afraid of the sovereignty debate.

As we can see with our delegation from Scotland, sovereignty is not a desire only for Quebecers. Over 30 per cent of Quebecers still voted for a sovereigntist party, so I’m not sure that we will have peace for the next 10 years. I’m quite sure, actually, that we must double up our efforts to be more responsive to Quebec and Mr. Couillard.

Yesterday’s results show that the majority of Quebecers are proud to be Canadians, like my colleague said, but we must stop seeing special arrangements with Quebec as a problem for Canada. All of you heard during this election that if Quebecers voted yes, let them leave. I’m sorry, I don’t agree with that. I think we have a message to give to Quebecers, that they’re welcomed in Canada.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

Senator Dawson: There’s also a message that we have to tell Canadians, that that desire for sovereignty still exits, and we should never take it for granted. I don’t believe that in the last six weeks, if the election had gone differently, we would all be in a different mood today, but that’s six weeks.

First of all, it proves that campaigns do make a difference, because the polls were quite indicative. There was a danger, but they failed their campaign. Mr. Couillard led a fabulous campaign, and we should now take the opportunity, as Quebec senators in particular, to sell Canada to Quebecers, but also as Quebec senators, to sell Quebec to this chamber.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!