Sherbrooke Declaration vs. Clarity Act

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M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Right. Forgive me. I forgot the cardinal rule of social democracy. First get elected and then come up with a policy. Thanks for the correction.

Gaian

Well, you can always hope that Steve and Co. will discover principles and depend on them to provide the means to maintain that $7 a day daycare etc.while you warm yourself in the fires of righteousness. :)

MegB

CFL

MegB

Bump

Unionist

bump

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Hello old friend!

Unionist

Catchfire wrote:

Hello old friend!

... I've come to talk to you again!

Thx CF.

 

Sean in Ottawa

 

By the way, I have come to not like the Sherbrooke Declaration either. I actually think it is just a bit weaker than it needs to be. I also think it contains too many things including partisan comment that should not be part of such a policy. The better compromise would be to require 50 plus 1 ala Sherbrooke and some agreement in Quebec by both sides as to what would be the terms by which such a vote would be accepted. Suggesting no such agreement would be required or that we can say what the terms would be is an interference. Even Sherbrooke could be used to interfere in the interpretation of the result as it sets up a test. It suggests that the vote should be taken as an ordinary vote. We have not heard a consensus from Quebec that this is what is desired. It is possible some terms could be desired within Quebec.

I have some ideas as to possible terms -- just ideas and I would not want these imposed from Ottawa. The principle of quorum appeals – a minimum number of people voting for the result to be valid. Some could advocate mandatory voting on such a topic allowing for abstentions but making sure that there is a very high turnout. Also it is reasonable to have agreement by both sides on the question posed if the result will affect both camps. You should not load the question and win by 50 plus 1. In other words 50 plus 1 is the only democratic answer but you can preserve the integrity of the vote in a number of ways and insist on a neutral (more than just clear) question. By both camps let me be clear: I mean Quebec federalists NOT rest of Canada federalists representing the "No" side. The ideal "clarity" rules would be some kind of agreement between both sides in Quebec and tested in a Quebec court. I have trouble with federal parties saying either what the test should be or should not be. I think the NDP declaration implies no need for such an agreement and no more terms than a regular vote and I don't think this should have come from a federal party. It would have been enough for the NDP to say it would respect a Quebec process and makes no assumptions about what that process would require. The NDP could also express that it is disturbed by the spectre of a majority not being respected and hopes that Quebec could find another way to be sure that the result reflect the true intention of the people of Quebec. The NDP would respond further based on events in Quebec as required. Nothing more than that needed to be said.

I do not dismiss the concerns of everyone who supports the flawed Clarity Act entirely. A normal election has a mandate for a specific term. A vote for an independent country has the presumption of an eternal mandate and may be impossible to reverse even if opinion were to change. While I respect 50 plus 1 and reject super majority positions, I also respect that the vote is a special and wrenching one and special requirements that the vote be an accurate representation -- even if close-- are not unreasonable. That is why I think of other mechanisms than disturbing a simple majority which is the mistake of the Clarity Act. I also insist that the federal government and federal parties should not be speaking publicly before such agreement could be negotiated in Quebec.

I think the correct position from the rest of Canada is to recognize the importance of such a vote, make it clear that the rest of Canada will respect the intentions of Quebec and encourage both sides there to find an agreement on what are the terms by which such a vote would be taken and accepted. Due to the uncertainty and high emotion of such a period, the federal government and a federal party could even encourage Quebec to lay out these terms in advance at a time of less pressure and emotion. The result could lead to a more stable society while respecting self determination.

Unfortunately all the federal parties have spoken and cannot unsay what has been said. So trying to find a neutral position is the next step. Now the NDP has to be clear that it won't endorse a defeat of federalists in Quebec should they lose due to a poor process. The response to such a problem would be presumed to come from Quebec without any predetermined NDP response. The NDP can still call on parties in Quebec to clarify the terms by which a 50% plus 1 would be acceptable. Should there be a minimum percentage of people voting? Mandatory voting? Pre-agreement on a question? Let's hear Quebec answer. The NDP can explain the 50 plus 1 is not the only requirement that can be made but that you simply cannot tell a majority in a democracy that they have won on a question put legally and constitutionally.

The legal test for whether the vote should be valid ought to be clearly stated as determined by the Quebec court. I do not think the Supreme Court of Canada ought to have jurisdiction on a vote in Quebec over the self determination of Quebec. It would obviously have a role in the determination of the position of the rest of Canada.

I don't think the NDP response is complete enough and I don't think the Clarity Act is anything more than a document that sits in defiance of democratic principles. I also think that it would be best if this were laid out in Quebec by Quebec.I believe my opinion is closest to the intent of the Sherbrooke declaration but that the distinctions I am making are more than just rhetorical. I would not promise the NDP endorsement of any 50 plus 1 vote. I would condition that on more than just confidence in a good question and process. Even great societies can have consitutional impasses. The NDP could encourage Quebec to produce its own terms and pre-agreement on a question. But it should not presume that 50 plus 1 is the only thing Quebec may come up with even if that is an important thing.

One of the problems with Sherbrooke and the Clarity Act is that in both cases these are pan Canadian conditions for accepting a vote in Quebec. In my view the correct position would have been to say that the federal government and federal parties would want to see Quebec proponents of independence and federalists come together and lay out an agreement and declaration of their own on what would be the conditions for such a vote to be accepted by Quebec and that failing that the federal government and federal parties would either wait for such a declaration from Quebec to decide a response or if no such declaration came, would respond to events as they unfold. It is in the interests of a civil society for both sides to determine the terms of a vote before it is held. I am confident that Quebec can do that and I am confident, given the previous difficulty that they would.

That said a statement of objectives could be provided in terms of what the Federal party and the government of Canada would prefer (rather than impose): 1) the vote be clear 2) that both sides in Quebec understood and agreed to the terms of acceptance of such a vote 3) that the vote include measures in keeping with the seriousness of the result given the long term implications 4) that the principle of majority plus 1 be respected should all other conditions as agreed by both sides be respected (important to respect a majority on such a question to keep a peaceful society) 5) that a Quebec court consider these objectives and determine if they have been met. An NDP government could ask for clarification from Quebec before taking a formal position.

In other words I would have preferred a request from the federal government and national parties to ask Quebec to consider and declare (with agreement from both sides of a potential question) as to what the ground rules should be. I think it has always been a mistake for the federal government to seek to impose rules-- either ones that might be considered too relaxed as has been said about the NDP's proposal or too difficult and unrespecting of a majority such as what the Liberals passed.

The discussion of rules happened in the wrong place- prematurely at the federal level rather than the provincial. It was incumbent on the federal side to ask for federalists and separatists in Quebec to first declare their terms for such a vote before responding. The preferred position is that we would respect the terms produced in Quebec to lay out its own self determination abd then any vote held under those conditions. This is about respecting Quebec as a democratic entity.

To assume that no such agreement could be made is an insulting hypothetical that the federal government and federal parties ought not to have waded into without there already having been an attempt and failure to do so in Quebec. The Sherbrooke Declaration suggests the terms by which the NDP could, against the valid objections of federalists in Quebec, agree to a result in a vote there. The Clarity Act seeks to lay out the terms to overturn a decision expressed democratically of the majority in Quebec.

Neither are fully respectful of self determination which ought to fully include the right to set all the terms by which such a vote is recognized. That test should be by agreement between federalists and separatists in Quebec as mediated by their legal system. Not through the political maneuvering of federal parties all seeking to get a few votes by wading into a Quebec only matter. The federal turn should only be in response to a Quebec decision not about determining the test for whether that decision will be taken as Quebec's position. In this sense I regard both the NDP decision and the federal clarity Act as needlessly paternal and the Clarity Act far worse than the Sherbrooke Declaration.

So I don't support either the Clarity Act or the Sherbrooke declaration as is. I see both as unfortunate but recognize they cannot be unsaid. Now we need some damage control and for that we must turn again and appeal to Quebec to help us. Let's do what we should have started doing and ask them to say what they can agree as to what the terms should be. I think we could be so bold and ask that they find widespread agreement from both sides in the interest of everyone. Then we need to shut up and listen.

 

socialdemocrati...

Did you get a look at the Unity Act? It focused not just on the quantitative issue (50 +1), but also the qualitative issue. It required no irregularities. And it suggested two clear questions, as well as a process for working out a fair question between the feds and the province, with the Quebec Court of Appeals adjudicating over a dispute.

I thought it was a pretty uncontroversial extension of the Sherbrooke Declaration. Of course, a lot of big government Liberals believe that the only way to keep Quebec in the federation is to make it impossible for them to leave. But there were principled democratic objections that the NDP Unity act was still too much big government.

Which sounds like your objection. That the question should be discussed by federalists and sovereigntists in Quebec, rather than having the federal government get involved in defining the question.

Unionist

Sean - I've read your long post - and please understand I don't mean to offend.

Have you read the Sherbrooke Declaration?

The reason I ask is that you never once quoted from it, and most of your paraphrases are... inaccurate.

The Sherbrooke Declaration, in all matters of significance (the 50%+1, the question, the process), merely defers to the Assemblée nationale and the legislation it has adopted. It proposes nothing different than what Quebecers have already decided as to the referendum process. So what exactly is your issue with it?

Have a look, please, at the table I drew up when I opened this thread almost two years ago, and please give me your comments. You'll note that I provide quotes from Sherbrooke.

 

Sean in Ottawa

Hi Unionist. I have read it and of course I reread it before writing my post.

It is late so I don't have time to pull it up again tonight. However, the declaration has a number of unrelated partisan comments at the outset. Where it talks about what the NDP will accept sounds like confidence that Quebec knows how to do it and then that the NDP would accept 50 plus one. It does not allow for the fact that Quebec may want to create new or special rules for this vote or that there is any need to do so in order to promise an orderly approach to such a vote.

The trouble with that is it implies that the NDP is also stating what it will need to accept.

Quebec could end up in a crisis if the vote is close and there were problems with it; if were a disagreement over any of the terms for the vote including wording the question, financing, representations, minimum number of voters to validate a result. The NDP does not allow for any of that-- they go from confidence straight to what the NDP will accept in numerical terms. The NDP declaration could be used to weaken a desire from within Quebec to place other conditions on the vote. Quebec has a right to determine what terms it will accept or not as a matter for an internal debate there. Having one party saying it needs nothing other than 50 plus one and another saying it wants a specific super majority are unhelpful. There is little doubt that there will be a national (I mean the Quebec nation) debate over what terms would be acceptable. Quebec might decide that it does not want just 50 plus one. It could decide it wants other safeguards.

The federal NDP's position should only be that if there is widespread support in Quebec for the terms, rules and and interpretation and that support is bolstered by a Quebec court the NDP will accept that-- whatever that means. Not define it from the NDP point of view -- however more friendly than the Liberals that may be. Put simply, the right to self determination means defining the terms not submitting to the NDP's or the Liberal's ideas of what they should or should not be.

If Quebec decided it had consensus at a 60% requirement (Something I seriously doubt) then the NDP should support that. If Quebec decides it wants special terms like minimum number of people casting a ballot to endorse the result, that too is its choice (my personal preference is that is the better lever to use than requiring more than 50 plus one which I personally don't like. But my personal opinions are just that-- they are not a party's definition of what is acceptable).

It is the act of defining what is acceptable that is not appropriate as far as I am concerned. And, I do not agree that the only lever to make the vote a considered safe one is a super majority -- I think there are other options that could be considered that could go along with a 50% plus one. Missing from the declaration is any thought that Quebec may want to think about these terms and may come to its own consensus. The NDP saying flatly that it would accept 50% plus one based on confidence that Quebec knows what it is doing still sounds like a blank agreement to the result of a process that may yet be debated within Quebec. I want the NDP to say it will accept that the Quebec alone can set the terms. It can even say that its instincts are to accept 50% plus one but it will abide by whatever process has support across the range of participants in a referendum even if Quebec decides differently.

While I suspect that 50% plus one would be the core of what Quebec may do, I do not like the precedent of a federal party saying what it should be and certainly when it does not say that it hopes there will be widespread agreement across the participants on both sides of such a question in Quebec and will abide by whatever they and the Quebec courts decide.

Even if you tell someone they can have what they want- there is an issue telling people what they can have. By the NDP saying what it will accept it is endorsing the notion that federal parties can and should make such declarations and saying that 50 plus one is enough on its own (even if people in Quebec decide it is not).

While the Sherbrooke was no doubt much closer to what Quebec may decide it was still advancing a prescription of sorts. What it chose to include and what it chose to leave out is a question of bias to a Quebec-only process.

I assume it is clear from what I have said above that while I am not fond of the wording of Sherbrooke I consider it much better than the Clarity Act. But the idea of making specific suggestions to Quebec as to what it will accept remain problematic. The document could have just said it was confident that Quebec can create all the rems for such an important vote and if the result was accpeted by Quebec people, the process accepted by the participants in advance and the results endorsed by a Quebec court, the NDP would accept it however it is arrived at.

Sean in Ottawa

Ok I will go to your table for an example. You ask if the questions from 1980 and 1995 would have been accpetable. One says yes and the other no. The correct answer is it is up to Quebec to decide what rules it wants on a question not for the NDP to go on record saying that a question advanced by the government is okay even if there is debate in Quebec on that point.

What question works for me? Regardless of what has worked in the past, I would prefer that there be wide agreement on both sides to the question in advance as it would add credibility to the result. But if a Quebec court stated that advance agreement were necessary then I would say it is. If it were to say no then I would say it is not. I would not endorse, or seem to endorse, one side over the other in what would be a very crucial Quebec only debate. The federal government and federal parties should not pronounce on what is or is not acceptable until a Quebec process is complete and the Quebec court has given a final answer. One exception to this: agree to accept the ruling of the Quebec court as to wherther the result is a true and valid result. As a person living outside Quebec that is what I am looking for. I don't presume I can set any terms and nor should the federal NDP. And certainly the types of terms the Liberals and Conservatives want to suggest even worse.

There is a side of me that thinks legal-- I worked in law that is why. I am nervous about precedent. The idea that the federal government could say 50 plus 1 is acceptable in that sense has some of the same problems as saying 60 plus 1. Or anything else. Just say you accept Quebec process once any legal findings that need to be made are made. That is it. Much shorter declaration that respects the jurisdiction of Quebec not only to hold the vote but to decide how and what the requirements for a yes should be.

I hope that clarifies things a little better so even if you don't agree with me you can see where I am coming from.

Centrist

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
The correct answer is it is up to Quebec to decide what rules it wants on a question

Problem is that it is not Quebec per se... it is the PQ, which always dictates the question. 2 completely different animals.

Again, the Supreme Court decision defined a "CLEAR" majority on any question. NOT a "SIMPLE" majority of 50% + 1. And all of the opinion polls that I have previously posted herein on the issue confirm that a vast majority of Quebeckers themselves view 60%+ as the defining "MAJORITY". All very important legal and political considerations. Can't stress that enough.

In fact, most provincial NDP leaders opposed the NDP's "Unity Bill"  of 50% + 1 and BC NDP leader Dix not only openly opposed same but supported the fed Lib's Clarity Act. Reason is that Dix knows how politically dangerous the "50% + 1" issue would be with BCers esp. with the latent anti-Quebec/anti-separatist sentiment in many quarters out here in BC.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/mulcairs-plan-to-replace-clarity-act-not-gaining-traction-with-canadians-provincial-ndp-leaders/article8784987/

http://www.vancouversun.com/business/2035/Vaughn+Palmer+Adrian+respectfully+disagrees+with+Mulcair+proposed+rule+changes+Quebec/7902387/story.html

 

Stockholm

If people in BC are so latently "anti-Quebec" they should be in favour of any law that makes it EASIER and more likely that Quebec would separate. Ithat way they get to say "good riddance" and no longer have to endure bilingualism etc...

socialdemocrati...

Clear majority depends on qualitative and quantitative factors. Creating some kind of supermajority condition would be one way of doing it, but one that sends a message to Quebeckers that "we're never going to let you leave, no matter how much we ignore your interests". Another way of doing it is to require a clear question, with a process to guarantee a clear question.

The other parties have been able to play up any respect for Quebeckers as "coddling separatists", and it's a thorny issue for that reason. But it doesn't mean that the Liberal/Conservative approach is right.

Unionist

Stockholm wrote:
If people in BC are so latently "anti-Quebec" they should be in favour of any law that makes it EASIER and more likely that Quebec would separate. Ithat way they get to say "good riddance" and no longer have to endure bilingualism etc...

Win-win?

Determinant

*Sigh*.  Section Québec had a decent resolution at the Montréal Convention that a Clear Majority was somewhere around 55%, based on a few mathematical statistcal rules. 

The flip side, the one Québec doesn't like to hear, is that a Clear Question must pick from the following three options and can't mix them up like the 1995 question tried to do. The phrasing used must be as clear, direct and concise as possible:

1) Absolute, utter independence, and don't let the door hit you on the way out.  Technically illegal, but it can't be stopped.  Yes, you pay dearly if you choose this option and that must be made clear.

2) A change in the present Constitution of Canada, which requires amendment under the present amending formulas and positive agreement from other provinces and the federal government.  Of course, other provinces/ the feds don't have to agree to anything, so there are no guarantees with this option.

3) The status quo.

That's it.  The 1995 question tried to mix (1) and (2) to assemble a majority, and it nearly worked.  It means the question can't promise deals with Canada or anything else that requires the consent of other parties and still call it "sovereignty".  This is the fundamental dishonesty that the PQ perpetrated both in 1980 and in 1995. 

Unionist

Determinant wrote:

That's it.  The 1995 question tried to mix (1) and (2) to assemble a majority, and it nearly worked.  It means the question can't promise deals with Canada or anything else that requires the consent of other parties and still call it "sovereignty".  This is the fundamental dishonesty that the PQ perpetrated both in 1980 and in 1995. 

We Quebecers are so stupid! We carefully read the questions in 1980 and 1995, parsed them, checked the jurisprudence and international legal precedents, then got so confused we voted the wrong way!

Had we just had a clear question ("Do you want to bite the Canadian hand that feeds you and go penniless into the dark night - or keep on feeding at the trough?"), then no doubt about 98.3% would have voted to continue the free ride.

Thank God Almighty we have our federalist friends in Canada to explain to us the true meanings of French words!!!

And here I thought everyone in Québec with still-viable brain functions understood, in both cases, that "Yes" meant "Out" and "No" meant "Stay". What kind of fool am I? Not a rhetorical question - please chime in and set me straight!!

 

Determinant

Your feigned outrage is laughable. 

Parizeau changed the question phrasing to soften it to get Bouchard and Dumont onside.  You think either wanted outright independence?  That's why the qeustion was changed!

Both Parizeau and Levesque made promises they knew they couldn't keep in their referendum campaigns.  They couldn't guarantee anything associated with Canada as they wanted to remove Quebec from Canada.  John Manley and Brian Tobin are both on record as saying there was a plan to relieve Jean Chretien and all other Quebec ministers in the event of a "Yes" vote.

Quebec can either vote to leave or to change the consitution.  "Soveriegnty" must mean one or the other.  As a wise man once said to me, at this level law and policy are the same thing, and the clear policy of Canada is the three-point list I outlined.  Quebec has no right to put Canada asunder on its own without the Federal Government's input. 

And who do you think would hear the legal complaints?  Remember what I said about the purge?  These questions were never going to the Supreme Court in the case of a "Yes" vote.  At this level it's naked power and the will of the people, and nothing but.

cco

Determinant wrote:
<

Both Parizeau and Levesque made promises they knew they couldn't keep in their referendum campaigns.


Kind of like "a No vote is a vote for change"?

Determinant

The Charter of Rights wasn't change? 

Unionist

Determinant wrote:
Quebec has no right to put Canada asunder on its own without the Federal Government's input.

Thanks for the warning.

 

Determinant

So the Feds and the other provinces hate 50%+1.  Quebec hates what a "clear question" actually means.  Works for me. 

cco

Determinant wrote:

The Charter of Rights wasn't change? 

Y'all are so clever. Trudeau never said exactly which change he meant, so in the context of a referendum over Québec's powers, reducing said powers technically counts as change. That rascal!

I mean, it almost seems like the federalist side of both referenda wasn't...clear about what a No vote would entail. Perhaps they should offer Québec a clear question: "You can be Manitoba, or you can leave, in which case you'll 'pay dearly'. But we love Québec, and we want it as a part of the federation. Why do you make me hurt you, baby? You know you're my one true love unless you try to leave. Then you'll pay."

Unionist

*like*

Determinant

If Quebec wants to cut all the ties, if can.  But it isn't a mushy  "Austria-Hungary" pie-in-the-sky fantasy.  It means customs booths on the Ottawa River bridges. There's no gilding the lily here.

As for your Charter strawman, cco, Levesque's only problem with it was the Minority Language Education Rights section.  He is on record as agreeing with everything else, as well he should as it was in Quebec's own Charter of Human Rights.  And speaking of Manitoba, Section 23 of the Charter overturned the Manitoba School Question and reinstated French schools there.  And yes, Quebec is Manitoba insofar as all provinces have equal powers.  Section 92 isn't province-specific. 

And Levesque only got snooty because the Charter overturned his blatantly restrictive provision of Bill 101 restricting English schools to those who had a parent who attended an English School in Quebec (Grandfather Clause?  Hmm, not a good precedent).  The ROC had to provide French schools to those with French as a first langauge (and does, I might add) while Quebec had to overturn a blatantly restrictive law and restore English schools to all Canadians who reside in Quebec.  Or in other words, it couldn't cut the Quebec English community off from the rest of the country and hope it would whither which is was the PQ's policy in the first place.

Seeing as Mme Marois has shown that the PQ isn't to be trusted to protect people's rights given her disgusting Values Charter and Quebec's Charter of Human Rights can't stand up to a determined government, it seems the Charter of Rights and Freedoms with its constitutional entrenchment was worth it after all. 

Sean in Ottawa

Sure don't like where this thread went.

Quebec is not Borg. There is a full range of opinions there. Respect its process. There will be extremes like in every other part of the world. And they will be resolved as the society takes measure of them. My point was to let its process complete without interference then respond. To me that is self determination. I want more respect for that than Sherbrooke- not less. It isn't like the rest of Canada has such a perfect record on human rights that we can imagine it is our role to intervene in incomplete Quebec public debates.

Centrist

Again, I just know the Cons are gonna run ads with the simple and dumbed down narrative along the lines that "the NDP supports Quebec separitists over the rest of Canada" here out west during the 2015 federal campaign. And it will strike a nerve with many swing voters in rural, exurban, and suburban BC, for example.

I suspect that Romanow likely can forsee the same thing happening:

February 2, 2014 8:02 am

Romanow Disagrees With NDP Unity Bill

By Joan Bryden  The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – The NDP’s proposed “unity bill” has sparked some disunity in the party’s own ranks.

One of the most prominent NDP stalwarts, former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow, says he disagrees with the federal party’s proposition that a bare majority Yes vote would be sufficient to trigger negotiations on Quebec’s secession from Canada.

And he says he’s not the only New Democrat with qualms.

“I think within the party there are many people of varying views on this particular issue,” Romanow told The Canadian Press.

"To me, it’s probably one of the most important, if not the most important issue that any political party in a federation as diverse and fragile as ours must consider.”

Federal New Democrats supported the Clarity Act in 2000, as did Romanow, then Saskatchewan premier. The NDP has since changed its mind. Romanow has not.

Indeed, at a tribute for Chretien last month, Romanow told some 700 luminaries from multiple political parties that Clarity was “a great act of political vision and courage and determination” that he’s proud to say he supported.

“I just don’t accept its consequences or its potential consequences.” [of the NDP's Unity Act]

Romanow said he and his government’s legal and constitutional advisers did seriously consider whether a simple majority should be sufficient. But after analysing the Supreme Court’s advice on the rules for secession, upon which the Clarity Act was based, they concluded that the fate of the country could not hinge on a judicial recount over a handful of votes.

Romanow said he continues to believe that “the nation called Canada ought not to be easily broken up by a clerical error or the wrong attendance of a wrong voter at the wrong time and the wrong place, or something of that nature, that there’s got to be a clear expression of it.”

While the top court did not specify a threshold, it did signal that something more than 50 plus one should be required. For instance, it referred repeatedly to the need for a “clear majority,” said both the referendum question and the result must be “free of ambiguity” and noted that “Canadians have never accepted that ours is a system of simple majority rule.”

http://globalnews.ca/news/1123473/romanow-disagrees-with-ndp-unity-bill/

 

Unionist

Centrist wrote:

Again, I just know the Cons are gonna run ads with the simple and dumbed down narrative along the lines that "the NDP supports Quebec separitists over the rest of Canada" here out west during the 2015 federal campaign. And it will strike a nerve with many swing voters in rural, exurban, and suburban BC, for example.

Excellent! Good opportunity to educate some people about how unity is built on mutual respect and trust.

Romanow, on the other hand, will be more difficult to educate. His attitude towards Québec is similar to how he dealt with workers: Legislate them into submission. They'll come round eventually.

Here's the good news. Some new members of the NDP caucus have actually deigned to post the Sherbrooke Declaration on their websites - something almost no one did before (Pierre Ducasse for sure and maybe Megan Leslie, though I'm likely mistaken about her). It's kind of a subtle warning to Mr. Mulcair and his inner elite: Forget this document, and return ye to the wilderness from whence ye came.

 

 

cco

Where? (That is to say: Which members of caucus have the Declaration on their sites?)

Not that Sherbrooke was exactly the Allaire report. At its best, it was a tepid endorsement of compensated opt-out and asymmetricism. But if some MPs have posted it now, that's a step up from the Layton era.

ETA: Not that the Allaire report was exactly inspiring in reality, either. A few years back, when I couldn't find enough about it online, I went down to la Bibliothèque nationale, went into the archives, got a desk, and pulled it out of the stacks. I expected a meticulous 300-page dossier on division of powers, only to find an ancient PLQ booklet thinner than the average campaign pamphlet. Still, the constitutional revisions it proposed were deep and fundamental, and it was fascinating for me to see that the PLQ once endorsed such things -- if only briefly and for the sake of PR. (Jean-François Lisée's book "Le Tricheur" is a fascinating, though hardly neutral, history of the Charlottetown era in the PLQ.)

cco

Cross-edited with you, Unionist, but I figured I'd bump it just to see your reaction to what I edited in. (Is that terribly vain on my part?)

cco

And while we're at it: Wow, it's been 9 years since the Declaration. In that time, it's been mentioned during one campaign (during which it was impossible to find online), in the vaguest terms, and been milquetoastly affirmed by Mulcair when he's asked about it. Call me jaded, but somehow I trust it even less than the Red Book.

Unionist

Oh hey, cco, I totally agree with you! Sherbrooke was an absolutely necessary, though almost wholly symbolic, break with the 73-year-old CCF/NDP opposition to the right of Québec self-determination. In concrete terms, it proposed nothing but "asymmetric federalism", which (though also necessary) was already a reality in many fields of federal jurisdiction (think income tax, pensions, parental and maternity leave, etc. etc.).

Allaire was much more concrete and thoroughgoing. I don't recall all the recommendations. I do recall that Allaire and Mario Dumont partnered to organize the "NO" campaign during Charlottetown - it was the start of the ADQ. CAQ today is too scared of its shadow to actually propose anything meaningful in terms of building a federalism based on respect of the rights of nations - as are the Liberals - and of course it's not in their "class interest" to do so in any useful fashion.

ETA: And seriously, everyone, please don't tell Tom that these maverick MPs have actually posted official NDP policy on their websites. Please!!

 

cco

Now that I've looked for the first time since 2008, I was actually able to find what appears to be a mimeograph (there's an old-school reference for you) of the original Allaire report. Boy, does seeing those ancient Stylewriter fonts bring back some memories.

Unionist

Mind you, I wasn't too impressed when the Jean Allaire of today came out swinging against Islam (supporting the PQ Charter) and saying that the Jews are ok because "they don't try to control us". Little does he know...

cco

Oh, of course. He also put way too much emphasis on so-called economic issues (code for surrendering all levels of government to anti-union, anti-living-wage neo-fascists who'd like to see both Canada and Québec ruled by London bond market profiteers). But the report wasn't written entirely by him, and even if it had been, I (mostly) agree with its propositions for division of power without endorsing the then-in-vogue early-90s Washington "consensus" fellatio.

Unionist

Mylène Freeman.

Hoang Mai.

Pierre Dionne Labelle.

Anne-Marie Day.

Hey, I didn't say they were easy to find or extraordinarily numerous...

And now that I've outed them, the back-room boys will probably shut them down...

ETA: And of course, Pierre Ducasse still has his up.

 

Unionist

Hey - I found a non-mimeographed version of Allaire, here. You have to click on chapter links in the right-hand column. Strange, but it seems to be all there. And I don't think there are any other copies on web besides these two!

 

Stockholm

Centrist wrote:

Again, I just know the Cons are gonna run ads with the simple and dumbed down narrative along the lines that "the NDP supports Quebec separitists over the rest of Canada" here out west during the 2015 federal campaign. And it will strike a nerve with many swing voters in rural, exurban, and suburban BC, for example.

You are barking up the wrong tree. The Tories won't touch that issue because putting a big emphasis on "national unity" only plays into the hands of Justin Trudeau. Not to mention the fact that the Tory base out west are largely people who hate Quebec and WANT Quebec to separate. No, if anyone is going to wrap themselves in a maple leaf and demgogically attack the NDP over its Quebec policy it will be the federal liberals under Justin Trudeau.

Unionist

Stockholm wrote:

 

You are barking up the wrong tree. The Tories won't touch that issue because putting a big emphasis on "national unity" only plays into the hands of Justin Trudeau. Not to mention the fact that the Tory base out west are largely people who hate Quebec and WANT Quebec to separate. No, if anyone is going to wrap themselves in a maple leaf and demgogically attack the NDP over its Quebec policy it will be the federal liberals under Justin Trudeau.

You're probably right about Trudeau. But surely you haven't forgotten Harper freaking out about the 2008 coalition being composed of "socialists and separatists" - and it was the "separatists" slur that they finally settled on to discredit the coalition.

Just because a few weirdos "out west" may want Québec to separate, doesn't mean they can't be whipped up to hate "separatists". At least, that's how Harper's playbook reads.

 

Stockholm

Harper's playbook also says that there are very few NDP-CPC switchers and that if he did attack on that issue it would likely only help the Liberals not the Conservatives

Centrist

Stockholm wrote:

You are barking up the wrong tree. The Tories won't touch that issue because putting a big emphasis on "national unity" only plays into the hands of Justin Trudeau. Not to mention the fact that the Tory base out west are largely people who hate Quebec and WANT Quebec to separate. No, if anyone is going to wrap themselves in a maple leaf and demgogically attack the NDP over its Quebec policy it will be the federal liberals under Justin Trudeau.

Sorry Stock, I gotta disagree. The Libs out west here in BC in 2015 will likely be confined to the City of Vancouver proper with them regaining the vote they lost to the Cons in 2011 and neighbouring munis such as the North Shore and into Richmond. The Cons will go after Trudeau there with likely leadership ads and his flakiness. 

OTOH, the Cons will most likely paint the NDP as closet Quebec separatists helping Quebec separatists with the 50% + 1 matter, which would "cause political and economic chaos in Canada". I have seen the Cons regional BC ads since 2004. They have perfected same, in order to hit a nerve, into an art form.

Remember also that during the 1990's many current NDP voters in suburban, exurban, and rural BC voted right-wing Reform here in BC.

And don't forget that the Ipsos poll from over a year ago shows that only 21% of BCers agree with the 50%+1 threshhold. For that matter only 30% of Quebeckers agree with that threshhold.

https://www.ipsos-na.com/download/pr.aspx?id=11934 

Better to face the matter before a campaign than become blind-sided during a campaign. 

Stockholm

The Liberals will like be factor across BC in 2015 and I think the Conservatives are smart enough to know that if they attack the NDP effectively on national unity all they will do is drive NDP votes to the Liberals. In any case, the NDP is not going to sudden;y decide that Quebec does NOT have a right to self-determination, nor should it. If 50%+1 isn't "enough" fopr the federal government to react - then the alternative will be civil war. I guess maybe Harper and Trudeau fantasize about role playing as Abe Lincoln at the Gettysburg...the NDP believes in democracy. If a majority of Quebecers vote YES to "Do you want Quebec to be a totally independent country with no special ties to the rest of Canada?" - its "hasta la vista baby!"

Otavano

Unionist wrote:

 

Looks like they both conveniently forgot the pesky little matter of indigenous Treaty rights. Typical of both sides. Sometimes I immagine the Anglo-French conflict as two elefants fighting it out while the indigenous mice are getting crushed under foot.

Otavano

Unionist wrote:

Glenl wrote:
Is it a bad thing to require a clear question for such an important issue? I agree that any province can choose to go their own way, but it is important to what was Canada. I don't think a clear question is too much to ask.

Québec is a nation. It makes its own decisions. We don't need some outside geniuses telling us that we don't understand what we're voting on. That's called colonialism. And that's what the Sherbrooke Declaration was drafted to oppose.

So yes, Glenl, it's a very bad thing to stick one's nose in other people's business. Unless one places a low value on noses.

 

 

 

But Quebec, like the rest of Canada, is a nation sharing land with many other nations. Just in Quebec we have the Algonquins, the Innu, the Inuit, the Cree, the Huron-Wendat, just to name a few.

Otavano

Unionist wrote:

Yes Glenl, it should be a clear question. But the point you're missing is that the people of Québec should formulate the question. Not Stephen Harper, not Obama, not Kim Jong-Un. And the Sherbrooke Declaration, to which all NDP candidates pay lip service, recognizes that reality. I hope you do too.

 

 

Shouldn't the indigenous nations of Quebec also have a say in how the question is formulate it, or do they not matter?

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