Letter: English rights in Quebec

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Sir: According to your leading article of 12 September, "The fears of English-speaking Quebeckers for their rights under an independent, French-speaking government have proved a significant obstacle to Quebec's secession from Canada."

English-speaking Quebeckers effectively already enjoy the same rights as the majority French-speaking citizens of Quebec: a fully funded school system from nursery through university in their own language, their own social services, the right to a trial and government services in English. Montreal, where English-speaking Quebeckers are largely concentrated, has four universities, two of which are English-speaking; six television broadcasting centres, two of which are English-speaking; four daily newspapers, one of which is in English.

In short, minority rights in Quebec are something of which we are justifiably proud. They are also the envy of all French-speaking minorities in English- speaking Canada.

If and when Quebec does withdraw from the Canadian federation to establish a new partnership with the rest of Canada which would maintain the present economic union, it will be because a majority of Quebeckers have opted to do so through a referendum. Quebec would remain at the forefront of civilised societies, preserving the rights enjoyed by its English-speaking community.

RICHARD GUAY

Gouvernement du Quebec

Delegation Generale

London SW1

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