Canada Parliament recognizes Quebecers as a nation

Updated: 2006-11-28 16:08

OTTAWA - The Canadian Parliament recognized Quebecers as a nation within a united Canada on Monday, backing a controversial proposal that already prompted one minister in the minority Conservative government to quit.

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper (C) stands to vote in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa November 27, 2006. [Reuters]
The House of Commons, Parliament's elected chamber, voted 266-16 in favor of the motion, which the government said it saw as a way to head off pressure from French-speaking separatists who want to break away from Canada.

Critics said the proposal could actually bolster the separatists, and the pro-independence Bloc Quebecois said it would use the change to demand extra powers, including Quebec's right to speak at international meetings.

Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Michael Chong resigned over the vote and said the separatists would use it to sow confusion.

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