Dalhousie Law Journal


federalism, secession, Canada, Quebec, Australia


This article does not seek to examine comprehensively either the political or the legal intricacies of the possible secession of Quebec from Canada. To either task, the author's knowledge would be unequal. In general terms, all that is aimed at here is the very modest goal of bringing to bear upon the present Quebec-Canada scenario perceptions garnered from a consideration of similar (though different) situations which have arisen in other federations, and especially in the Australian federation. More specifically, what is attempted is three things. First, a brief discussion is undertaken of the concept of secession as such. Second, secession is considered as a phenomenon within the context of federal states. Finally, an account is given of some of the typical features of a secession crisis within a federal state. Throughout, an effort is made to relate this more general discussion specifically to the situation of Quebec and the possibility that it will seek to secede from Canada. Regrettably, the most obvious theme to emerge from this piece is that Canada and Quebec show- many signs of treading the same well-worn path towards secession that has been followed by so many federations and their constituent regions.

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