Well-known constitutional lawyer Guy Bertrand is again pitching for a Quebec team for the world hockey championship in 2008.
Bertrand is calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to intervene in favour of letting a team of Quebec players participate in the tournament, which will be hosted jointly by Halifax and Quebec City.
Guy Bertrand says his plans of having a Team Quebec at the 2008 world hockey championship were all but dead until Prime Minister Stephen Harper's recent recognition of Quebec as a nation.
(Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)
Granting the province a team would be the perfect opportunity for Harper to back his recent recognition of the Quebecois as a nation with concrete actions, Bertrand said.
Bertrand warned Harper that his Conservatives will lose thousands of votes in Quebec if he doesn't embrace the notion of "Team Quebec."
Hockey Canada has repeatedly rejected the idea of a Quebec-only squad, saying the best Canadian players are chosen to defend their country regardless of their origin.
Bertrand says it would be a mistake for Harper to think that the word nation is nothing more than a symbol.
''Now we know that Mr. Harper has an open mind to recognize that a nation is a nation," he said, "like Scotland, like Northern Ireland, like any nation in the world.''
Bertrand said that before Harper announced he recognized the Québécois as a nation, his "Team Quebec" project was almost dead. In the current context, he said, he doesn't see how the prime minister could turn him down.
The 2008 world hockey championship will be played partly in Halifax and then in Quebec City as part of the provincial capital's 400th anniversary celebrations.with files from the Canadian Press