MONTREAL -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper defended his government's recognition of an independent Kosovo yesterday even as sovereigntists in Quebec celebrated the move as a precedent-setting boost for their movement.
A day after his government officially recognized the onetime Serbian province, Mr. Harper insisted Kosovo was a "unique" case that had no bearing on Quebec.
"It's a completely different situation from the democratic debate in Canada and Quebec," Mr. Harper told reporters in London, Ont.
He said war and suffering by the Kosovars prompted the international community to intervene and eventually led to a "de facto separate state."
Quebeckers, meanwhile, are tired of debates and referendums on independence, the Prime Minister said. "They want to get on with building a strong Quebec within a strong Canada."
The Parti Québécois has seized on Ottawa's move as evidence Canada was prepared to recognize a newborn state that achieved independence over the objections of the country it left.
In an interview, former PQ premier Bernard Landry said that despite major differences with Quebec, Kosovo illustrates "that the right of nations to independence is a sacred thing."
Thursday, March 20, 2008
From the Globe and Mail (Canada):