April 15, 1996 (35th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Stéphane Dion


Hon. Stéphane Dion (President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Lib.)

Mr. Speaker, this is the first question asked of me as a member of Parliament, and I must thank the hon. member for it.
Anyone wishing to properly describe public opinion in Quebec is obliged to admit it is not a society in unanimity, but a society where various opinions are voiced. The best way to illustrate this is with a poll that came out a week before the referendum. Quebecers were asked how they defined themselves. Twenty-five per cent said they defined themselves as Quebecers only, and all the rest defined themselves as Canadians, many of them as Quebecers first, because they felt more at home in Quebec, but Canadians also.
These people are Canadians. The hon. member would like them to stop being Canadians, and that is where the problem lies. The answer is this: in Quebec we have differing opinions, but the large
majority of Quebecers want to remain in Canada. We are going to work to ensure that everyone in Canada may be reconciled.

Topic:   Oral Question Period
Subtopic:   Distinct Society
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