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Mulroney Says Partners Baffled By Canada’s Constitutional Crisis

July 11, 1990

HOUSTON (AP) _ Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said Wednesday his economic summit partners were ″absolutely baffled″ by Canada’s constitutional crisis.

Canada’s 1986 plan to grant Quebec recognition as a ″distinct society″ in the Canadian federation fell apart last month when the Newfoundland legislature refused to ratify it, raising the possibility of a renewed drive for independence by Quebec.

Mulroney told reporters at a news conference following the close of the summit that the other countries ″were quite surprised ... that such a reasonable approach would not be quickly and overwhelmingly approved.″

No other nation asked about the status of the Canadian federation, he said, but it came up on a procedural point at lunch Tuesday. In response he said he offered remarks that ″covered the waterfront″ and elicited comments from the others.

He said he told the luncheon that Canada without Quebec would be the relative equivalent in population terms of the United States without New York, Texas and California, ″and they didn’t think that made a lot of sense.″

″They are absolutely baffled that any nation in its right mind would consider anything other than measures to strengthen its unity,″ Mulroney said.

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