♦ “There is no precedent for a state being refused admission to the UN on account of its size.”

—Sureda, The Evolution of the Right to Self-Determination: A Study of United Nations Practice, 1973

♦ “In my opinion, the fact that [aboriginal peoples] constitute peoples who are self-identified as peoples would give them a right to self-determination at the same level as Quebec.”

—Daniel Turp, Law Professor at the University of Montreal, testimony at the Bélanger-Campeau Commission studying Quebec sovereignty, 1991, prior to becoming a legal advisor to the Bloc Québécois

♦ These peoples [aboriginal nations and Québécois] are going to have to talk together because they both, or all, have the right to self-determination… In terms of legitimacy, the aboriginal peoples, the aboriginal nations on their territory, are quite ahead of the francophones of Quebec.”

—Daniel Turp, Bélanger-Campeau Commission

♦ “The frontiers of an independent State emerging from colonization may differ from the frontiers of the colony whch it replaces, and this may actually result from the exercise of the right to self-determination.”

—International Court of Justice,

Frontier Dispute, Burkina Faso/Mali (This ruling means a colony doesn’t necessarily keep the same borders upon independence.)

♦ “The State as a person of international law should possess the following qualifications: a) a permanent population; b) a defined territory; c) a government; and d) a capacity to enter into relations with other states.”

—Motevideo Convention on the Right and Duties of States, 1933

♦ “Whereas the Crees have always been a sovereign Nation;… whereas the Cree Nation has continuously maintained its authority, political institutions and traditions in the territory for thousands of years; whereas the Cree Nation has the right of self-determination;… whereas it is appropriate that the Cree Nation protect its sovereign territory…”

—Grand Council of the Crees/CRA Annual General Assembly Resolution 18,1991

♦ “If the JBNQA is an internal document subject solely to the laws of Canada, the Agreement would no longer have any validity in the context of a unilateral secession by Quebec.

… Quebec could not selectively invoke certain provisions (e.g. s. 2.1 [the extinguishment clause]) of JBNQA after unilaterally abrogating the Agreement.”

—Grand Council of the Crees, submission to UN Commission on Human Rights, 1992


♦ “(e) That the trusteeship of the Indians in the said territory, and the management of any lands now or hereafter reserved for their use, shall remain in the Government of Canada subject to the control of Parliament.”

—Quebec Boundaries Extension Act, 1912

♦ “These territories were added to Quebec to be governed as part of a Canadian province.”

—Stephen Scott, Professor of Constitutional Law, McGill University, speech, 1991

♦ “There is no [UN] Charter-derived necessity to preserve the integrity of a colonial unit, especially if, in the ‘particular circumstances’ of a territory, geographical division is a better means of promoting ‘self-government’.”

—Pomerance, Self-Determination in Law and Practice, 1982

(In other words, nothing in the UN Charter says a colony must keep the same borders when it becomes independent.)

♦ “If Quebec can accede to self-determination, why could these peoples [natives] not do the same?”

—Gordon Robertson, former Secretary of the Privy Council of Canada, testimony before Bélanger-Campeau Commission, 1991

♦ “To say that one culturally distinct group is ‘indigenous’ and as such does not have the right to self-determination, is a form of racism and discrimination. Collective rights must apply equally to all peoples regardless of culture and regardless of race.”

—Barsh, in International Law and Aboriginal Rights, 1988

♦ “As I have stated repeatedly across this country, Aboriginal Peoples governed themselves successfully long before Europeans arrived. Wittingly or unwittingly, generations of non-Aboriginal Canadians acted to destroy or debilitate those systems of government and the peoples they represented.”

—Joe Clark, then-federal Minister of Constitutional Affairs, speech, Nov. 1991