[JURIST] A motion recognizing the people of Quebec as a "nation" within Canada passed the Canadian House of Commons [official website] Monday by a vote of 266-16. The motion, introduced [speech transcript] last week by Prime Minister Stephen Harper [official website], represents a compromise on an earlier proposal by the Bloc Quebecois [official party website] that would have defined the territory of Quebec as a nation within Canada. The successful motion states that "the Quebecois form a nation within a united Canada." According to Harper, the motion recognizes the Quebecois nation in a "cultural-sociological" sense rather than a legal one.
The politically-divisive issue, which has confounded Canadian politicians and social observers for decades, sparked the resignation [National Post report] Monday of Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Michael Chong [official website]. Chong claimed that his belief in Canada as an indivisible nation could not be reconciled with the motion. CBC News has more.