OTTAWA HOPES TO LURE QUEBEC TO REFORM TALKS
OTTAWA — Quebec officials travel to Ottawa this week for talks which the Canadian government hopes can woo the French-speaking province back to constitutional talks and prevent it from voting for independence in an October referendum.
Quebec has refused to take part in negotiations on constitutional reform since Ottawa's last attempt to accommodate its demands for more autonomy collapsed two years ago.
This week's talks were called to discuss revisions to reform proposals made two weeks ago by English Canada's nine provinces aimed at bringing Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa back into talks, a federal spokesman said.
The proposed reforms would shift federal powers over mining, forestry, tourism, housing, recreation, and urban affairs to the provinces. They include an elected Senate with equal representation for all provinces. In the new Senate, Quebec's seats would be cut by two-thirds.