Between Legal Assertions and Utopian Aspirations
Edited by Peter Hilpold
Chapter 12: Self-determination, autonomy, independence, and the case of Québec
International law guarantees all peoples with the right to self-determination. Self-determination is a continuum, ranging from autonomy – or internal self-determination – to independence – or external self-determination. For more than 50 years, Québec has straddled both options. In this chapter, the authors describe how the principle of autonomy has been enshrined in the Constitution of Canada and show how Québec has attempted to obtain additional autonomy within the Canadian constitutional framework. They also discuss the issue of the right to independence under international law and the right recognized to Québec by the Supreme Court of Canada in its Reference Re Secession of Québec to pursue secession under Canadian law. In their conclusion, they suggest that in its quest for self-determination and in order to achieve greater autonomy or national independence, Québec should envisage a new approach and rely on its constituent power to initiate a popular process with the aim of developing its own constitution.
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