Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Stronger role for Quebec at UNESCO

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OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper will announce a deal giving Quebec a greater role on the international stage with a semi-formal presence at a United Nations agency.

He will make the announcement alongside Premier Jean Charest when he visits Quebec City today as part of his ongoing charm offensive in the province.

The deal will see Quebec gain new privileges at UNESCO, the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization.

The province will have an official representative within the Canadian office at UNESCO in Paris.

But sources in the federal and provincial capitals said the agreement should not alarm those worrying about Canada speaking with two voices internationally.

"Quebec will remain part of the Canadian delegation," said one federal official.

The prime minister promised during the recent federal election campaign to grant Quebec's request for a more formal presence within UNESCO.

The Tories subsequently won 10 Quebec seats in an unexpected breakthrough that now has the party scouting the province as the gateway to a majority government.

The Conservatives are scoring their best opinion poll results in 15 years in the province and jumped ahead even of the recently-dominant Bloc Quebecois in one survey.

-- Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 5, 2006 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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