• Short Summary

    Voters in Quebec - Canada's French-speaking province -- go to the polls on Tuesday (20 May) to vote on whether to give Premier Rene Levesque's government a mandate to negotiate a new relationship with the rest of Canada.

  • Description

    Quebec 1967: GV & SV Vast crowd addressed by French President Charles di Gaulle standing on balcony (6 shots)

    LV & SVs Expert at mail box, explosion and others rush to victim, officers around injured man, debris. Injured man on stretcher (6 shots)

    Montreal 1969: SV PAN French unilinguists and opposition battle in school hall, while police try to break up fighting

    Montreal 1970: GV Quebec and Canadian flags at half mast as funeral cortege of murdered Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte, passes (2 shots)

    London 1970: GV British Consul-General James Cross arrives in London, down steps of aircraft with wife and greeted (2 shots)

    SV 1976 Provincial election celebrations by Parti Quebecois

    MCU Quebec Premier Rece Levesque speaking in French, in front of Parti Quebecois banner

    GV Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau applauded as be takes stages with Provincial Liberal party leader Claude Ryan and other officials

    CU Trudeau speaking in English

    DE GAULIE: "Vive le Quebec...Vive le Quebec libre!"

    TRUDEAU: "It takes more courage to stay in Canada and fight it out, and look for equality, and the defence of our rights, than to withdraw within our walls and say we will be amongst ourselves. As though it would be easier then - six million Quebeckers to get a better deal from the other sixteen million Canadians - than it is when we can send to Ottawa strong governments, as Quebec has been sending for the past hundred years!"

    Initials BB/

    3 ETANX 183

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Voters in Quebec - Canada's French-speaking province -- go to the polls on Tuesday (20 May) to vote on whether to give Premier Rene Levesque's government a mandate to negotiate a new relationship with the rest of Canada. They will vote `Yes' or `No' to a Parti Quebecois scheme called "sovereignty-association". The Quebec government defines sovereignty as the power to make all laws, raise all taxes, and deal with other countries directly. But they'd keep an economic associations with the rest of Canada, and continue using Canadian currency. Latest polls show that, while Monsieur Levesque and his government enjoy wide popularity, many citizens may be reluctant to risk a break with the rest of Canada. And the federal government has said it won't negotiate, even if the "yes" vote wins.

    SYNOPSIS: Quebec separatism is as old as Canada itself. But in the 1960's a new movement gained fervour and French President Charles de Gaulle sensed the mood.

    The decade had already been marked by bomb attacks. In 1964, an explosives expert was badly injured trying to dismantle a bomb attached to a mail box in Quebec. The bombings showed the seriousness and bitterness of a new, young separatist movement.

    Many French-speaking people feared the loss of the French language and culture in Quebec. Unilinguists wanted their children educated in French only. The less fervent disagreed, sometimes violently.

    In 1970, a group called the Quebec Liberation Front - the FLQ - launched a campaign those they accused of continuing the repression of the French culture in Canada. They kidnapped and killed provincial Labour Minister Pierre Laporte, and, though many Quebecois sympathised with the feelings of the young separatist, the majority were appalled by Mr. Laporte's death. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau - himself a Quebecois - said the murder brought shame on all Canada.

    The group kidnapped British diplomat James Cross. A different "cell" held him for eight weeks, then set up a deal for safe passage to Cuba, in return for his release.

    At the polls fours year ago, Quebec voters expressed their discontent, both with the provincial Liberal party government, and their relationship with the rest of Canada. Rene Levesque promised a separatist referendum.

    The campaign against so-called "sovereignty association" is led by Prime Minister Trudeau. He stands for a united bilingual Canada..

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