BQ pushing for repeal of the Clarity Act

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BQ pushing for repeal of the Clarity Act

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BQ leader Daniel Paillé was on CTV's Power Play this evening being interviewed by Don Martin, and says the BQ want the Clarity Act formally and finally  rescinded, because it just doesn't work for Quebec. Something about 1,023 people who have to approve the application of it in the final analysis. I don't have the exact quote, but something about all the MPs, Senators, and provincial counterparts have to see it through.

 

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NDP proposes to replace Clarity Act

OTTAWA - NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has waded into the national unity swamp, with proposed legislation specifying that a bare majority Yes vote would be sufficient to trigger negotiations on Quebec's secession from Canada.

New Democrat MP Craig Scott tabled Monday what his party is dubbing the "unity bill."

The bill would repeal the Clarity Act — introduced by former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien after Quebecers came within a hair of voting to secede in 1995 — and replace it with legislation which Mulcair maintained would provide more certainty and be more respectful of Quebecers.

Its introduction Monday was designed to counter a Bloc Quebecois motion calling for a total repeal of the Clarity Act.

"Instead of playing the games that the Liberals have always sought to play with this file and dropping us into the void as the Bloc would do, we're proposing something constructive that is a positive way forward," Mulcair said

- snip -

The NDP bill goes further than the Clarity Act in spelling out what would constitute a clear question, offering two examples: "Should Quebec become a sovereign country" or "Should Quebec separate from Canada and become a sovereign country." Wording agreed upon by both the federal and provincial government would also be acceptable.

Should the question be deemed insufficiently clear, the bill would require the federal government to refer the matter immediately to the Quebec Court of Appeal, which would have the final say.

Mulcair argued that 50-plus-one is a widely accepted threshold for victory, used in both the 1980 and 1995 referendums on Quebec independence and adopted by the United Kingdom for the upcoming vote on Scottish independence.

(there's also comments by Stephane Dion)

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

CBC: NDP Leader Tom Mulcair denounces Bloc bid to repeal Clarity Act

Courtesy of the indispensable LegisInfo, the complete text of Bloc Quebecois MP Andre Bellavance's private members' bill to abolish the Clarity Act: 

Whereas the Québécois form a nation;
Whereas that nation has been formally recognized by the House of Commons;
Whereas the decision on its future within Canada lies with the Québécois nation, not the federal government;
And whereas the Québécois nation has laws that give its government both the right to consult the people of Quebec by means of a referendum on the subjects of its choice and the right to determine the wording of the referendum question;
2000, c. 26
Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:
Repeal
1. The Clarity Act, chapter 26 of the Statutes of Canada, 2000, is repealed.

- snip -

As it turns out, the eventual vote may be all but unanimous: the New Democrats, it seems, will join their colleagues in the Conservative, Liberal and Green parties and vote nay on the Bloc bill to repeal the Clarity Act -- but that's not all. 
According to NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, his party will also put forward a referendum-related private members bill of its own, which will stand in the name of democratic reform critic Craig Scott, and would enshrine both the Sherbrooke Declaration and the Supreme Court reference in law. 
The as-yet-untabled bill is on the Notice Paper for today, which means we should get a peek at the text later this afternoon. 
It's worth noting, however, that at the moment. Scott is, quite literally, at the bottom of the private members' priority list, which means that he won't likely make it onto the precedent list until at least next year, and possibly not before the next election. 

NOTE: The NDP "Unity Bill" (6 pages) is posted at the bottom of the link.

Unionist

Hmmm. That's too bad. This NDP private member's bill retreats from one of the two keystone principles of the Sherbrooke Declaration, which is that the referendum question is decided by the National Assembly - no one else.

We had a lot of discussion on the issue in [url=http://rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/sherbrooke-declaration-vs-clar... thread[/url], and I'll maybe just reprint the table I created for purpose of comparison at that time:

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Okay, all the other parties are 'ganging up' on the BQ to kill their bill. If the BQ bill to kill the Clarity Act were to pass, then where would we be?

The optics of all the federalist parties killing a BQ bill like this - not good.

ETA: oops, I should have posted all this in the existing thread. Sorry!

Unionist

Boom Boom wrote:

If the BQ bill to kill the Clarity Act were to pass, then where would we be?

We'd be where we were for the decades before it was adopted. Canada has never recognized Québec's absolute right to self-determination without outside interference, neither before nor within the Act.

Quote:
The optics of all the federalist parties killing a BQ bill like this - not good.

Well, the only "optical" difficulty will be for the NDP. The NDP first opposed the Clarity Act. Then, in the middle of the 2005-6 election campaign, Jack Layton simply announced that the party now supported it. He was duly roasted for that in the pages of babble at the time. Then, in October 2006, the Québec City federal NDP convention adopted the Sherbrooke Declaration, thus in effect returning to its initial opposition to the Clarity Act - for which the party was duly praised by many then and since, including yours truly.

I find it hard to believe the party will now move back to a 1/2 support of the Clarity Act on such a fundamental issue as who gets to determine the referendum question. If the party does this, they have withdrawn their recognition of Québec's right to self-determination. Given all the righteous declarations by the leadership candidates, and given the extent of the party's electoral support in Québec, I find it very difficult to believe that Mulcair would be so stupid.

Quote:
ETA: oops, I should have posted all this in the existing thread. Sorry!

No worries. That pre-upgrade thread was referred to the Canadian Football League (or whatever CFL stands for...).

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Thanks for your input, U. I think Daniel Paillé has accomplished what he set out to do - namely, have fun at the NDP's expense.

Slumberjack

Unionist wrote:
 Canada has never recognized Québec's absolute right to self-determination without outside interference, neither before nor within the Act.

Quebecers haven't either.  Wouldn't some form of declaration of independence be a prerequisite to absolute self-determination?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Paillé said on QP (if I heard him correctly) that Quebec has the right to separate unilaterally since it is recognised by Canada as a nation. Sounds simplistic, but how can you argue against it?

NorthReport

Hey Chicken Little, the sky is falling! The sky is falling! Laughing

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

The sooner the better. Kiss

Slumberjack

I did what I could in 1992 by voting no to the accord, in one of the first instances where my faith in the political system was shaken, because like many others I had pinned my hopes on a subsequent referendum in the affirmative.

Unionist

Slumberjack wrote:

Unionist wrote:
 Canada has never recognized Québec's absolute right to self-determination without outside interference, neither before nor within the Act.

Quebecers haven't either.  Wouldn't some form of declaration of independence be a prerequisite to absolute self-determination?

If you can't tell the difference between the absolute right to divorce, and the act of divorce, then your views typify those that have made it impossible for self-styled Canadian progressives to ever understand, let alone make inroads in, Québec.

You should do some reading on the subject, if you want to be any ally. Or some listening. Try to figure out why all parties in the National Assembly, from left to right, agreed that Québec shouldn't even participate in the Supreme Court reference that preceded the Clarity Act.

Unionist

Boom Boom wrote:

Paillé said on QP (if I heard him correctly) that Quebec has the right to separate unilaterally since it is recognised by Canada as a nation. Sounds simplistic, but how can you argue against it?

If he said exactly that, he's an idiot. Québec has the right to separate unilaterlly now, and it had that right before Harper's phony motion in the House about "Québécois" (whatever that meant) forming a nation "within Canada". Québec's rights are not granted nor taken away by Canada. If he meant that it would be hypocritical for Canada to recognize the nation but not its rights, well, perhaps, but I don't believe the Commons' motion was quite all as significant as that.

 

Unionist

kropotkin1951 wrote:

I am not sure of what your chart means for the first question.  With the Clarity Act it is clear because I believe if Quebec wants to secede it should and as a nation it does have the right to make that declaration unilaterally. It is unclear to me what the phrase, "This right can be expressed in various ways and can go as far as achieving sovereignty" means in relation to negotiations. I am unsure what the Sherbrooke Declaration means in the event that Quebec passes a referendum that is less than full sovereignty but defines a new constitutional relationship.  I would expect that any new constitutional arrangement that saw Quebec remaining in Canada but in a different relationship would have to be negotiated and could not be declared unilaterally. 

I agree, K. The Sherbrooke Declaration is, after all, an NDP document, so let's not make outrageous demands on it (such as "clarity"!).

I think what it's painfully trying to say is that any expression of Québec's sovereignty must be decided by the Québec people freely - although some expressions (such as federalism of various kinds) would obviously require the consent of other parties.

I choose, to give the NDP the benefit of the doubt, to interpret the "achieving sovereignty" phrase as meaning independence, and that that is Québec's unilateral right. Some day, of course, some NDP spin doctor (e.g. Mulcair) will declare that "no, no, that's not what it really means...". The bill Boom Boom cited may well mean that that day is upon us. Who knows. We can condemn them at that time.

In the meantime, I listened carefully during the leadership debates and the election campaign, and I didn't hear the NDP say that independence would require the permission of Ottawa, or the approval of some court, etc. Had they done so, the election may have turned out differently. So, I'll continue to give them the benefit of the doubt, while the BQ will continue to try to bait them into saying the wrong thing.

Slumberjack

Unionist wrote:
You should do some reading on the subject...

The ghost of GV apparently still haunts us.  It's more of a curiosity, rather than an inability understand due to not being well read, as to why this right has never been realized in democratic fashion if most are in agreement, inside Quebec and outside for that matter.

Unionist

Slumberjack wrote:
... why this right has never been realized in democratic fashion if most are in agreement, inside Quebec and outside for that matter.

You might as well ask why so many people stay in unhappy marriages even though the law and the vast majority of society recognizes the right to divorce. You could also ask why so many children are brought into the world in difficult or unhappy or unwanted circumstances when birth control and termination of pregnancy might be available.

That's a different conversation. Before you decide whether divorce or independence or abortion are the best course of action, you need to know whether it is available without armed force or other coercive means being used to stop it. You need to know who is entitled to make the free and final decision. The NDP had better get its act straight on that simple question of democracy.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Unionist wrote:
 If he meant that it would be hypocritical for Canada to recognize the nation but not its rights, well, perhaps, but I don't believe the Commons' motion was quite all as significant as that.

Something like that. It's the day after, I can't remember the exact quote.

Unionist

And now, a word from the man whose father suspended civil liberties and sent troops to Québec to avert an "apprehended insurrection":

[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/trudeau-slams-ndps-proposal... slams NDP's proposal to allow Quebec secession through simple majority[/url]

Now, cue up the "progressives" who will chant: "If the Bloc and the Liberals are attacking us, we must be on the right track!!!!!!!!!!!"

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Heh. The G&M jumps in:  NDP bid to repeal Clarity Act is a bad move for Canada  - but with no mention of Daniel Paillé, who started all this off this week. The Globe seems to be suggesting that Mulcair just jumped in on the debate, not mentioning it was a (dumb?) reaction to the BQ bill.

lagatta

I think Mulcair wasted a formidable opportunity to keep quiet.

Paillé's bill would have gone nowhere.

And no surprise that Trudeau managed to make an arse of himself. The "half-pregnant" comment was ludicrous. One need not favour independence to be in favour of the right to national self-determination, whether in the case of Québec or the many First Nations. And there are many other possible or potential arrangements other than the current federalist model or outright independence. 

 

Unionist

lagatta wrote:

I think Mulcair wasted a formidable opportunity to keep quiet.

Exactly. The Bloc doesn't believe for one second that Québec sovereignty depends on a bill of the Canadian parliament (and neither do I). Why suddenly do they need the Clarity Act to be repealed - except to embarrass and tongue-tie the NDP? Well, with Justin Trudeau's help, they may just have succeeded.

Mulcair could have said:

"Read the Sherbrooke Declaration. We've told you for over 6 years that that's our party's position. It has not changed. We are determined to create winning conditions for Québec to remain an enthusiastic and voluntary partner in the Canadian federation. Harper is just as determined to destroy those conditions. That's where the battle lines are drawn.

"Daniel Paillé... why has the Clarity Act suddenly become such an urgent priority? Was the Bloc ok with it for the last 12 years? What's up with that, huh?

"Justin Trudeau... wait, that name rings a bell... keeping Canada united and happy by sending troops to occupy Québec... no lessons to be learned there, thanks very much."

That's what I would have said. More diplomatically, of course...

Slumberjack

Unionist wrote:
Before you decide whether divorce or independence or abortion are the best course of action, you need to know whether it is available without armed force or other coercive means being used to stop it. You need to know who is entitled to make the free and final decision. 
 

As long as we're generalizing from the clarity act discussion, to these questions and many others as it pertains to the impact of such a decision...well, there's been quite enough time to explore and make public the answers in each and every instance, but on the main point, all political parties in Quebec seem to agree that it is for the people to decide, and what democratic mind would quarrel with that.  Such consequences that may follow are beside the point for a well informed electorate.  I would say that the great failing of the nationalistic power brokers has been not so much in the type of discussions they've been having with the public for the past half century at least, but in the ones they have thus far been avoiding in terms of mechanics, nuts and bolts, finances, the specter of civil unrest following a yes vote…those sorts of details.  If you haven't introduced clarity, Canadian society as we know has always been predisposed, more so today, to introduce itself whether invited or not.  With such gaping holes in the project of sovereignty, it should leave one with the impression that a sovereign political establishment would ill-serve it's population just as handily as the Federal system does now.  Perhaps more confidence on the part of the politicians in making public their own details and methodology, apart from appealing only to nationalism itself, would get them the much coveted 50%+1.

Unionist

kropotkin1951 wrote:

This quote by Dion shows that the Quebec wing of the Liberal party is the most arrogant when it comes to believing it has the right to enforce its will on the people of Quebec.

Not sure what you mean by the "Quebec wing". You think that because Dion, Trudeau, Chrétien, Martin, etc. are from here, that they're more arrogant than the Liberal scum from your neighbourhood? Try to keep in mind that they were all elected leader of the federal party, so degrees of arrogance are just that.

Quote:
I am all right with the Unity act and the quote from Mulcair. 

You're all right with the Québec Court of Appeal, rather than the National Assembly, deciding what words should be used to ask Québec about its future? Just want some "clarity" here so I can stop shaking my head in amazement. And yeah, I too must agree with Mulcair when he says, "the side that wins wins". Can't find anything at all to object to there.

Quote:
I think people of good will across the country were not really impressed with the PQ's sleazy handling of the last referendum even those of us who support Quebec's democratic right to determine its own constitutional future.

We'll just have to try harder to impress all those multitudes of people of good will across the country next time round. We don't have nearly as much experience in deciding our future as you do. All suggestions are more than welcome.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

On P&P Evan Solomon - or someone - said the Unity Bill is at the bottom of all the private member's bills to be brought forward, and likely will never see the light of day.

jjuares

For Canada to ignore a seccesion vote just because it doesn't make some arbitrary standad would cause huge poblems. It would be difficult to imagine Canada being to keep up the petence of being a democratic country. Besides what consitutes a clear majority? You lthink an act with the word "clarity" in it would at least have clear definitions.

Ghislaine

One issue that is never discussed is the status of First Nations located within Quebec? I would support some type of federal clarity act to define what occurs with them under seccession? 

autoworker autoworker's picture

If it gets to the floor, I hope it's a free vote-- so that every constituent can see where each House member stands.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Ghislaine wrote:

One issue that is never discussed is the status of First Nations located within Quebec? I would support some type of federal clarity act to define what occurs with them under seccession? 

It seems to me that when Quebec becomes independent, Quebec alone has responsibility for everyone within its borders. No?

autoworker autoworker's picture

Boom Boom wrote:

Ghislaine wrote:

One issue that is never discussed is the status of First Nations located within Quebec? I would support some type of federal clarity act to define what occurs with them under seccession? 

It seems to me that when Quebec becomes independent, Quebec alone has responsibility for everyone within its borders. No?

Which borders?

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

autoworker wrote:
Which borders?

You should probably take that question to one of the older, existing threads on the topic.

6079_Smith_W

Boom Boom wrote:

It seems to me that when Quebec becomes independent, Quebec alone has responsibility for everyone within its borders. No?

Quebec is a signator to the James Bay Agreement; I don't know about other treaties and contracts (presumably some would have been signed pre-Confederation)  so who knows where things stand if Canada is no longer there as a party. I suppose they might get really interesting if Quebec ever decided to become a republic.

When Canada bought Rupertsland from the HBC they just assumed they owned the place and sent in surveyors before the contract even took effect. Strangely enough, the people who lived there didn't quite see it that way.

And I also know a lot of former East Germans regretted negotiating their country out of existence in the interests of West German "reunification".

Have fun with that one.

(edit)

cross posted. Sorry.

/drift

6079_Smith_W

On Mulcair, I find it curious that he'd wade into this with a new initiative. All I see is a sure recipe for satisfying absolutely no one.

If he's serious, I think it would be better if he actually builds up his political capital and gets the power to act before he spends it on a legacy project like this.

Unionist

They should just have let the Bloc flail in the wind on this one. Very ill-advised response.

6079_Smith_W

Unionist wrote:
They should just have let the Bloc flail in the wind on this one. Very ill-advised response.

Absolutely. Kind of makes you scratch your head, especially considering other issues on which he has hung back, or taken a mainstream approach to appear more statesmanlike.

I'd have thought he was a smart enough politician to recognize a gum doll (as they call it in the old stories) when he saw one.

Unionist

It's a private member's bill, so maybe they can tactfully throw it under the bus and ward off the right-wing media. Hopefully.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I'd have thought he was a smart enough politician to recognize a gum doll (as they call it in the old stories) when he saw one.

Brachina

I like this bill, it smart, well designed, respects the self determination of Quebec, provides gasp actual clarity, and baits Justin into acting like goof.

And the reason its so far back is because it doesn't have a chance in hell of passing anyways, but it will reappear in the Party Platform.

And it is democratic, it allows the National Assembly to set the question still, as befits the institution of law making, but the courts are the right tool for law interuptation and the like. They made the decision up to a Quebec court, which is appointed by the National Assembly.

So Mulcair can sell this to a Majority of Canadians, I don't doubt it.

Mulcair has put alot of thought into this and its clever.

Unionist

I won't deal with your lavish praise of Mulcair's betrayal/foolishness.

I will simply implore you to inform yourself about how court of appeal justices are appointed. HINT: Stephen Harper appoints the dude who appoints the judges.

I have a strong feeling that this discovery won't change your mind in the slightest.

Brachina

Crap, I assumed that the Premier of Quebec made the appoints.

Well its not perfect, but the legislation is still solid, the National Assembly still sets the question, how hard can the question be to be,clear?

Truth be told if the Question isn't clear it'd be challenged in the courts and truth be told there is no excuse for an unclear question.

Its a huge improvement over the Clarity act and if you weren't such a fantatic you'd see that Unionist. This stays true to Sherbrooke Declaration.

And under a Mulcair government he'd do the appointing.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

NDP will oppose Bloc bill that takes aim at Clarity Act

The introduction of a bill that has no chance of passing may be its first shot in flushing out the views of the NDP on whether it backs its own Sherbrooke Accord or supports the Clarity Act.

(link removed because the original article has been replaced by a story on Trudeau)

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Okay, now Trudeau steps in to this pile of crap:

Trudeau knocks Mulcair for 50-plus-1 stance on separation

(that link includes material originally posted in a former article - see my post #2 above)

 

scott16

does this mean the NDP might lose quebec? I hope not.

lagatta

I don't think so. It was monumental stupidity - hell, the Bloc is no longer even considered a Party in Parliament, and Paillé's bill was nothing but a "baroud d'honneur" - a last stand of someone with a saddle and no horse under it. Mulcair should have done absolutely nothing, as with the sillier type of Tory backbencher private bills.

But the Québec NDP members I know are in there to fight Harper. Lots of headslaps about Trudeau's obsessive denial of the very existence of Québec or whatever (why didn't he stay in BC, which has much nicer weather?) I heard an old Westmount crankess on a CBC phone-in show talking about how the NDP under Tommy Douglas were "covert separatists" for opposing the War Measures Act (when the actual criminals, a tiny wannabee terrorist group, were easily nabbed by normal police work). I think she wanted to set the threshold at 80%, ensuring she and her bridge partners would hold sway.

Unionist

Heh, I heard her too, lagatta. The other "revealing" quote from Tommy was that he said "deux nations". Westmount is a strange place. You have to look four or five ways before crossing the street there.

 

Brachina

Boom Boom wrote:

Okay, now Trudeau steps in to this pile of crap:

Trudeau knocks Mulcair for 50-plus-1 stance on separation

(that link includes material originally posted in a former article - see my post #2 above)

 

And this is why Mulcair did this, he's baiting the Liberals its a trap for them. I don't think it has anything to do with the Bloc. If it did this would have come out sooner. If it unsets the Blocs plans or whatever that's gravy.

The idea is to get Justin the attention seeking mouth piece to continue to say stupid things, which this has successfully done.

Although the crown for biggest dope has to go to Stephen Dion. "What constitutes a unclear majority?" really did he ask that. Does he think 40% +1 counts as an unclear Majority? Dope, no wonder he lost so badly as Liberal leader.

When Justin goofily intervened in the Kitcherner-Waterloo Ontario bielection over the NDPs Sherbrooke declaration, it failed miseribly.

The Liberal's and various columnists attempt to use it during the last general election failed as well.

But if Justin keeps running off his mouth, he's going to alienate a large section of the Quebec voters, including many federalists, not just soft nationalists.

I suspect he might even make a blunder like going after Andrea Horwath, again, only worse this time.

Centrist

jjuares wrote:
Besides what consitutes a clear majority? You lthink an act with the word "clarity" in it would at least have clear definitions.

Well, I don't think the 51% - 49% result in the last referendum could be classified as a "clear" majority.

If the Ipsos public opinion poll from last September is any indication, Quebec voters believe that a "clear" majority is:

1. 55% of Quebecers believe that a "clear" majority is over 2/3 or 66% supporting the referendum;

2. 70% of Quebecers believe that a "clear" majority is over 60% supporting the referendum;

I think that provides some public "clarification" in Quebec.

Doesn't jive with 50% + 1. It's the potential political fallout, particularly in the west, that concerns me about this current matter.  

6079_Smith_W

Centrist wrote:

Doesn't jive with 50% + 1. It's the potential political fallout, particularly in the west, that concerns me about this current matter.  

How so?

I haven't heard a peep about it in the news here,

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

As a friend put it in another forum, Harper is the beneficiary of this nonsense. Mulcair and Trudeau both come across as idiots.

Centrist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Centrist wrote:

Doesn't jive with 50% + 1. It's the potential political fallout, particularly in the west, that concerns me about this current matter.  

How so?

I haven't heard a peep about it in the news here,

I'm going to try to delicately stickhandle my answer. Many suburban and rural NDP supporters from the 1980's and into the 1990's, who are somewhat populist, anti-establishment in nature, swung heavily to the Reform Party in BC during the 1990's away from the NDP. The Reform's "West Wants In" resonated with this voter and one underlying current was the perceived pandering to Quebec back east.

Now the Cons may want to paint the NDP as "Quebec-separatist" sympathizers during the next campaign out west. That "may" strike a chord with many potential NDP supporters. I don't know.

As for the current kerfuffle, just the Vancouver Sun for tomorrow:

Quote:
Dix and Mulcair out of step on federal Clarity Act Federal NDP bill proposes new rules that appear to make Quebec independence easier

By Peter O'Neil

Vancouver Sun

January 30, 2013 7:28 PM

OTTAWA – Federal New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair said Wednesday he’s  confident his party’s controversial bill spelling out proposed new rules  regarding the separation of a province from Canada won’t hurt B.C. provincial  leader Adrian Dix heading into the May election.

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Mulcair+step+Clarity/7895962/story.html

Quote:
NDP threshold for Quebec secession actually less than 50 per cent

By Joan Bryden,

The Canadian Press

January 30, 2013 4:00 PM

OTTAWA - Fewer than half of eligible Quebec voters could end up triggering the  breakup of the country if the NDP's proposed rules for another independence  referendum were to be adopted

http://www.vancouversun.com/life/threshold+Quebec+secession+actually+less+than+cent/7895336/story.html#ixzz2JWYPqdSD

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