THE WEEK AHEAD : MONTREAL : Eyeing More Power for Quebec

Quebec's governing Liberal Party is to debate its stand on the touchy issue of independence from Canada during its biennial convention starting Friday.

Traditionally supporting Canadian unity, the Liberals now see a majority of Francophone Quebecers calling for some form of sovereignty, and their challenge is to find a way of catering to these voters while simultaneously distancing themselves from the outright independentiste opposition, the Parti Quebecois.

Facing calls for a provincewide referendum on separation this year, the Liberal government may promise to negotiate vast new powers for the province while remaining part of a restructured nation. If talks fail, the referendum could still be held next year.

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