Quebec's provincial library has newly released footage of a speech that never was.

Before the 1995 referendum, Jacques Parizeau recorded messages to be broadcast in the event Quebecers voted in favour of his proposal.

Copies were delivered to several media outlets, including CNN, with instructions it be broadcast in the event of a Yes vote.

"The Quebec people have just declared to the world that it exists," said Parizeau. "A strong and simple decision was made today: Quebec will become sovereign."

The tape was accompanied by instructions it be destroyed in the event of a No vote, which a majority of Quebecers delivered.

The French version of the speech was first broadcast a few months after Quebecers voted 'No', and was read by various performers at a tribute to Parizeau following his death last year.

A few months ago Jean-René Dufort played Parizeau's version of the speech on his Radio-Canada show Infoman.

Dufort had obtained a copy of the speech from Lisette Lapointe, the former MNA and Parizeau's widow.

Lapointe donated a VHS copy of the speech to the provincial library BANQ (Library and provincial archives of Quebec) which has put the video online.

The video begins with the French version of Parizeau's speech, and is followed at the 17 minute mark with Parizeau's English address to the world.

In the tape Parizeau states that Quebec would continue to pay federal taxes and receive benefits while negotiations took place with the federal government.

He declares it would take up to one year for Quebec to unilaterally declare independence, which stands in contrast with what has been revealed by other reports in the two decades since the vote.

Researchers and reporters have learned that Parizeau wanted to use any margin of victory possible to force Quebecers to leave Canada, even though other referendum leaders felt a much larger margin of victory was needed.

Parizeau later told Chantal Hebert and Jean Lapierre that even though Lucien Bouchard, appointed as chief negotiator, was ready to deal with Canada, Parizeau was ready to hand-pick a crew of negotiators who would refuse to accept anything except the severing of all ties between Quebec and Canada.

Speech written by current MNA Jean-Francois Lisée

Jean-Francois Lisée who was an advisor to Jacques Parizeau when he was premier, wrote the speeches that Parizeau recorded in the event of a win.

He said the speech still touches him emotionally. 

"I heard it for the first time in 20 years last year, after the death of Mr. Parizeau, when there was an event when artists, actors, read the speech, and I was kind of prepared for that, and I kind of remembered that," said Lisée. "I was quite moved by re-hearing that."

 "There are a couple of stylistic formulas that I said 'Hey! That was not that bad."

Lisée said the speeches were recorded because the Parti Quebecois wanted to ensure certain messages were heard by the world amidst the din of celebration.

"We wanted to convey two messages. First determination, that a democratic decision had been made and we would go forward. Then previsibility [predictability]. How would we go forward, exactly as we had promised during the campaign," said Lisée.

"And third reassurance, towards the English community, towards the native communities, toward the international community."

He said the speech is long -- 16 minutes in French, 20 in English -- because Parizeau wanted to make sure the people of the world knew a peaceful split was possible.

"Every box was checked in terms of reassuring people that this would be an orderly, respectful transition," said Lisée.

Lisée, who frequently wrote speeches for Parizeau, finished the victory speech two days before the referendum vote on Oct. 30, 1995.

He said Parizeau's only alteration was to run it past the Finance Minister first, in order to clarify exactly what was planned for dealing with currency and debt.

"We were quite confident that the parts that were aimed at foreign diplomats, foreign nations, were well-crafted to be well-received," said Lisée.

Lisée also, once again, expressed regret about the speech Parizeau actually made on the night of the referendum, and the premier's infamous comments about the vote being stolen by "money and the ethnic vote." 

"Clearly the speech that he gave, the 'No' speech, was hurtful to a number of people including me. But the amount of commitments he was making to enshrining the constitutional rights of anglos in Quebec, in a Quebec constitution, where changes could not be had without the veto of the anglophone community, that was his idea, and that is much more than what Quebec has within Canada," said Lisée. 

"There was never any acknowledgement about how far he was willing to go against some radicals within his party -- which didn't like that -- to say the anglophone community is part of the past, present and future of Quebec. They have rights, as Jefferson would have said, which are inalienable."

 Declaration of sovereignty

In the speech Parizeau declared that Quebecers were "standing tall" and ready to establish "a new partnership founded on the principle of equality" with Canada.

He outlined how the vote was, as far as he was concerned, a vote for independence, and that a declaration of independence would be declared within the year.

"From this point on we shall be guided by two words: responsibility and solidarity. There is a third word too. And that word is courage."

"Courage was what Quebecers needed to surmount the tremendous obstacles that were put in their path from the very beginning until today."

His speech also described Quebec's people as peaceful, ethnically diverse and welcoming, people who have chosen "to build here a society that is modern, dynamic and open to the world, to do that while our very existence was being denied."

Parizeau went on to describe Quebec as a form of utopia, where people must come together no matter how they voted.

"A society that rejects violence and the spirit of revenge. A society that respects the rights of individuals and minorities," said Parizeau.

He also had a special message for anglophones in Quebec.

"I would like to speak specifically to members of Quebec's English-speaking community and reiterate the importance to us of their presence among us and our commitment to respect and defend the rights. Also our commitment to take all measures necessary to guarantee in Quebec's new Constitution that their community and institutions will be preserved," said Parizeau.  

He added that refugees and new immigrants would be invited to apply for Quebec citizens, and that members of the First Nations would enjoy greater respect and sovereignty as part of Quebec.

He then outlined how Lucien Bouchard, as chief negotiator, would make an offer of economic partnership between sovereign countries, and urged Canadians not to panic.

"We believe as of tonight we can stop wasting our energy on quarrels that divide us and concentrate instead on all those matter where our interests converge," said Parizeau. 

He added that he believed that after Quebec declared independence, it would begin "sending cheques to Ottawa as we assume our fair share of Canada's debt."

Parizeau also added he wanted a free-trade zone, that Quebec would use the Canadian dollar as its currency, and that Maritimers would be allowed to freely cross Quebec to travel to the rest of Canada.