Ratifying a Post-Referendum Agreement on Quebec Sovereignty

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Source Publication

The Referendum Papers: Essays on Secession and National Unity. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press, 1999.


constitutional amendment; constitutional law; secession


If the sovereigntists win another referendum in Quebec, the terms of Quebec’s accession to sovereignty should be negotiated and ratified under the existing rules for amending the Canadian Constitution, despite some sovereigntists’ objections that Quebec need not abide by the terms of the Constitution Act, 1982, which it has never ratified. Any other process, however, is likely to lead to more chaos and disruption than would otherwise occur.A sovereignty agreement could include constitutional changes that fall into some or all of five categories: constitutional amendments terminating the authority of existing federal and provincial institutions over the territory and people of Quebec, constitutional and statutory amendments to make remaining federal institutions workable in the short term, provisions, constitutional or otherwise, for any new links established between Quebec and Canada, new treaties, or a commitment to negotiate them, among Aboriginal peoples, Quebec, and Canada, and nonconstitutional items to be implemented by legislation, executive orders, or treaties.

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