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QUEBEC'S RULING PARTY BACKS OTTAWA ACCORDS

The ruling Quebec Liberal Party on Saturday overwhelmingly endorsed a constitutional package aimed at keeping the French-speaking province within Canada.

At a one-day convention, 3,500 party members voted in favor of a resolution supporting accords reached last week in Ottawa by the premiers of Canada's provinces. The package would revamp Parliament and give the provinces greater autonomy.

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The resolution came after a day of bitter debate during which separatist members walked out. Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa appealed to nationalists to remain within the party.

The constitutional package must still be approved by the provincial parliaments. Prime Minister Brian Mulroney has said a national referendum may also be held. A new referendum on sovereignty is scheduled for October.