Charest, The Hon. Jean
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Canada poised at a critical time in its history. A detailed discussion of the issue of Quebec and separation. Concern with the possibility that political parties will deliberately misinterpret what Quebeckers said with their election of a separatist government. What other political parties might say. Understanding what the issues means for the country. The need for clarity. The message of profound dissatisfaction with the status quo, sent by the people of Canada in recent elections. What can be learned, what can be done in answer to this message. The dreams of Quebeckers. Living with the same questions for over 20 years and the costs to Canada as a result. The need to try asking different questions. Views and questions of a new generation. What people want today. Taking a hard look at whether government is working now for Canadians within a federal context. Federalism as a system flexible enough to let us change what needs to be changed. An alternative to separation or the status quo: keep what works, change what does not, eliminate what is no longer useful and acquire the tools we need to succeed in the modern world. Some principles to guide this effort. Beginning with three fundamental premises. A de-centralised approach. How people have weakened a "strong central government." The duty of national leaders for a national perspective. Responsibilities of the speaker as Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party. Making a point about the role the speaker will play in the Quebec referendum. The speaker's agreement with Jean Chretien on a fundamental issue. An appeal to the speaker's Party and its ideas.