The Assembly of Quebec Bishops (AEQ) has outlined several conditions for an independent Quebec in a submission to the Quebec Belanger-Campeau Commission.
The Commission has been holding hearings on constitutional changes. Most of the submissions so far have favoured a sovereign Quebec state.
In a brief presented on November 13, three representatives of the AEQ explained that ‘reform’ would require the following:
⎯ consult by means of election or referendum;
⎯ maintain a climate of social peace and democracy;
⎯ correct an imbalance by giving poor persons and poor regions a say in the political and cultural life of Quebec;
⎯ involve the province’s cultural and ethnic minorities in the decision and stipulate their rights in the constitution;
⎯ give the widest possible “management of their own affairs” to native peoples.
The Bishops reaffirmed the right of the Quebec people to self-determination. They criticized “heavily centralized governments” and remote bureaucracies for dispossessing citizens of political influence.
In 1967 the Bishops of Canada made the tension between English and French language groups the subject of their Letter on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Confederation.
In April 1972, in response to the 1970 October crisis, the national body of Catholic bishops issued a statement explaining that in keeping with Church teaching on justice, “all options which respect the human persona and the human community are a matter of free choice on the individual as well as the collective level.”
The bishops did not mention abortion nor the sanctity of life as a fundamental principle.