Quebec Premier Ends Boycott of Talks
OTTAWA — QUEBEC Premier Robert Bourassa, ending a two-year boycott of Canada unity talks, agreed Wednesday to attend a meeting of provincial leaders next Tuesday called by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
Mr. Bourassa said Ottawa had responded favorably to three Quebec reservations about the constitutional reform package agreed to by Canada's nine English-speaking provinces July 7. The meeting will be at Mulroney's summer retreat at Harrington Lake on the Quebec side of the Canadian capital. It is also near Meech Lake, site of earlier talks to keep Quebec in Canada.
The French-speaking province has refused to join reform talks since the Meech attempt to satisfy its demands for greater political autonomy collapsed in June 1990. Quebec plans a referendum on sovereignty in October, forcing Canada to agree on reforms to avert separation.
Bourassa said Ottawa had improved the wording of a distinct-society clause Quebec wants entrenched in the Constitution to protect its cultural and linguistic heritage.
"I wanted some clarification and got total satisfaction on `distinct society,' " he said.