20 August 1998

The Supreme Court of Canada rules that Quebec cannot legally secede from Canada without the federal government’s approval.

There have been historical and ongoing discussions and debates regarding Quebec’s relationship with the rest of Canada, including the possibility of Quebec seceding and becoming an independent nation.

One of the most notable instances of this debate was the 1995 Quebec independence referendum. The Quebec government, led by the Parti Québécois and its leader Jacques Parizeau, held a referendum on whether Quebec should become a sovereign state. The referendum question asked whether Quebec should become a sovereign state with a partnership offer from Canada or remain within Canada. The vote was very close, with the “No” side winning by a slim margin of 50.6% to 49.4%.

The idea of Quebec independence has deep historical roots, stemming from cultural, linguistic, and political differences between Quebec and the rest of Canada. Quebec is predominantly French-speaking and has its own distinct culture and legal system. Over the years, there have been various political movements advocating for greater autonomy or outright independence for Quebec.

The Canadian federal government and various provincial governments have worked to address Quebec’s concerns and promote national unity. In 1982, Canada’s constitution was amended to include the Constitution Act, which recognized the province of Quebec as a distinct society and provided certain protections for its language and culture.