BC NDP responds to Clarity Act

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kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture
BC NDP responds to Clarity Act

The Canadian Encyclopedia wrote:

The Québec Independence Movement

An important constitutional development in 1969 was the OFFICIAL LANGUAGES ACT (see OFFICIAL LANGUAGES ACT (1988)), which declared English and French to be Canada's "official languages," and extended an array of government services in both tongues to all citizens. The election of the separatist PARTI QUÉBÉCOIS in Québec on 15 November 1976 emphasized that the threat of SEPARATISM was real, but in a referendum on 20 May 1980 Québec voters rejected the provincial government's SOVEREIGNTY-ASSOCIATION option by a margin of 60-40%.

PM Pierre E. TRUDEAU supported continued federalism by promising Québec constitutional renewal in the event of a negative vote. After a deadlocked federal-provincial conference, he announced on 2 October 1980 that Ottawa proposed to entrench unilaterally the core of a new Constitution embracing a domestic amending formula and a rights charter (the CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS) which would replace PM DIEFENBAKER'S 1960 CANADIAN BILL OF RIGHTS. Trudeau emphasized that an amending formula had eluded federal-provincial negotiators since 1927.

The Debate Over an Amending Formula

The controversy in the 1980s pitted Ottawa and 2 provincial allies, Ontario and New Brunswick, against the other 8 provinces. Central to the debate was whether, by convention, provincial consent was required before an amendment could be obtained from Britain affecting provincial rights, privileges or powers. In September 1981 the Supreme Court held that although Ottawa had the legal power to present a joint address of the Senate and House of Commons to Westminster seeking an amendment, it was improper, by convention, to do so without a "consensus" (undefined, but at least a clear majority) of the provinces.

Since neither Ottawa nor the dissenting provinces had won outright, compromise was essential, and all parties except Québec reached agreement on 5 November 1981. Spokesmen for Québec argued that according to the "duality" principle the concurrence of both English- and French-speaking Canada was required for basic constitutional change, and that the absence of one "national" will constituted a veto.

All the other parties denied the existence of the "duality" principle in the form asserted by Québec. Left unresolved for future consideration were such knotty problems as constitutional revision of the division of powers and institutional reform of the Supreme Court, the Senate and the Crown.

The Meech Lake Accord

Québec's acceptance of constitutional reform seemed secured in June 1987 when the first ministers completed the text of the MEECH LAKE ACCORD (see MEECH LAKE ACCORD: DOCUMENT) reached earlier in the year on the initiative of PM Brian MULRONEY. Québec was recognized as a "distinct society" and its legislature and government was empowered to preserve and protect the province's distinct identity. English-speaking Canadians within Québec and French-speaking Canadians outside its borders were also constitutionally acknowledged.

In future provinces would have submitted names acceptable to the federal government for appointment by the latter as vacancies arose in the Senate and the Supreme Court of Canada. Only when the chief justice was appointed from among the sitting members of the Supreme Court was the appointment to have been an exclusively federal responsibility. Three of the 9 members of the entrenched Supreme Court were to have been Québec barristers trained in the province's distinctive civil law system.

Until unanimous federal-provincial agreement for change was secured, moreover, no change was to have been made to the Senate or the Supreme Court. Some people considered that this meant the end of any realistic prospect of Senate reform, although annual conferences of first ministers were to be held to consider reform of the upper house.

Where new initiatives were established by Ottawa under the federal spending power, such as a national day-care program or a minimum guaranteed annual income, provided that their alternative programs "conformed to the national objectives," provinces could get out and would have received reasonable compensation from Ottawa to fund their own programs.

The admission as provinces of the Yukon or the Northwest Territories was to require the consent of all federal and provincial legislative bodies, rather than just the agreement of Parliament and 7 provinces having half the total population, as in the Constitution Act, 1982, or the simple federal statute required before that date.

All provinces were also to have been given, in addition, a share in the immigration process. In order to be entrenched, Parliament and each provincial legislature had to accept the proposed Meech Lake text as it stood within 3 years after Parliament's enabling resolution was passed. Any change in the proposed text required unanimous agreement.

Collapse of the Meech Lake Accord

Public support for the agreement in 1987, according to polls, was over 66%. By July 7 the House of Commons (with a vote of 242 for and 16 against) and all the provinces except Manitoba and New Brunswick had passed the Accord. However, opposition grew in the media and among certain interest groups, particularly those representing native peoples, women's groups, Francophones outside Québec, and the territories (seeing the Accord as precluding them ever attaining provincial status). In October 1989 a Manitoba task force challenged the distinct society clause and other aspects of the Accord.

Meanwhile governments changed and new premiers such as Frank MCKENNA of New Brunswick voiced their opposition, although NB gave its approval in March 1990. Eventually opposition coalesced around the figure of Nfld premier Clyde WELLS, who strongly objected to the distinct society clause. His government rescinded its approval on 6 April 1990.

In desperation to save the Accord, PM Mulroney called the premiers together in June. On June 9 the First Ministers emerged with a signed agreement, though Wells's approval was conditional, he said, on the approval of the "Newfoundland people or the legislature."

When procedural delays initiated by MLA Elijah HARPER threatened to extend Manitoba's approval beyond the deadline, Wells refused to take a vote in the Nfld legislature on the grounds that the situation in Manitoba made it irrelevant. The deadline expired and the Accord died. The failure of the Accord left a sense of bitterness and frustration. Many Quebeckers interpreted its failure as a rejection of Québec and support for pulling out of Canada soared in that province.

The Charlottetown Accord

A new round of negotiations began even before Meech Lake died as in February 1990 the Québec Liberal Party established a committee to study options if the Accord failed (with Jean Allaire chair). In June Québec premier Bourassa announced that he would not attend constitutional talks and would only deal bilaterally with Ottawa. Later that month Bourassa and Jacques Parizeau announced a special Joint Commission to study Québec's relationship with Canada. Hearings began November 6 with cochairs Jean Campeau and Michel Bélanger.

Meanwhile, on the federal front, to answer criticisms that the constitutional process was too closed, in November 1990 Mulroney launched the Citizen's Forum on Canada's Future, with Keith Spicer chair. Finally in December a special 17-member Joint Senate-Commons Committee was created to devise a new amending formula, with Gerald Beaudoin and Jim Edwards cochairs. By December 8 provinces had established or completed constitutional investigations.

Bélanger-Campeau finished their hearings December 20, after some 200 briefs and 600 submissions. One of its first reports stated that the cost of Québec independence would be minimal. The Committee recommended that a referendum should be held on sovereignty in Québec by October if the province did not receive a suitable offer from the rest of Canada.

In January 1991 the Allaire Committee recommended that the Senate be abolished and that Québec receive exclusive power over communications, energy, environment, agriculture and regional development. The Québec Liberal Party adopted the Allaire Report in March, but substituted an elected Senate. In May the Québec legislature introduced a bill for a referendum to be held on the constitutional issue by October 1992.

To co-ordinate the various negotiations and recommendations, Mulroney named Joe CLARK minister responsible for Constitutional Affairs in April 1991. Yet another public forum was created in June when the Parliamentary Committee on the Constitution was created, with Dorothy Dobbie and Claude CASTONGUAY cochairs.

The Edwards-Beaudoin Commons Committee reported 20 June 1991 on the amending formula, recommending that

1) ratification of constitutional changes take 2 years, not 3;

2) a "regional" veto;

3) a national referendum for major changes;

4) unanimous consent for changes involving the monarch, language and provincial control of resources;

5) all other changes require consent of Ottawa, Ontario, Québec, 2 Western and 2 Atlantic provinces.

In June the Spicer Commission released its report, recommending that the government review its institutions and symbols to foster a sense of country, that Québec be recognized as a unique province, that there be a prompt settlement of native land claims and that the Senate be reformed or abolished.

In September 1991 the Dobbie-Castonguay Parliamentary Committee released its proposals in "Shaping Canada's Future Together." The proposals includes recognition of Québec as a "distinct society," entrenchment of ABORIGINAL SELF-GOVERNMENT within 10 years, the inclusion of a "Canada clause" in the Constitution, an elected Senate with more powers and "equitable" (not equal) representation. Castonguay resigned the troubled committee in November, replaced by Gerald Beaudoin.

In March 1992 the now "Dobbie-Beaudoin" Committee recommended a Québec veto on all constitutional change; recognition of Québec as a "distinct society"; rejection of a "Triple E" Senate but a recommendation for elected, effective and "equitable" Senate subordinate to the House of Commons.

Using the report as a basis for negotiations, Clark set a deadline of May 31 for Ottawa and the provinces to come up with a constitutional offer for Québec. He finally reached a deal with the 9 provincial premiers in July. The deal included a "Triple-E" Senate.

Collapse of the Charlottetown Accord

Clark's deal met with a lukewarm response from Bourassa, but it did bring him back to the table in August. The First Ministers emerged with the text of a new agreement on 22 August and finalized it on August 28.

The key points of what became known as the CHARLOTTETOWN ACCORD were a Social Charter, elimination of provincial trade barriers, a Canada clause containing committments to native self-government and recognition of Québec as a distinct society, a veto for all provinces on all changes to national institutions, a new 62-seat Senate (6 for each province and one for each territory) and 18 new seats in the House of Commons for Ontario and Québec, 4 for BC and 2 for Alberta. The Accord was rejected by 6 provinces and the Yukon in a national REFERENDUM on 26 October 1992 (see CHARLOTTETOWN ACCORD: DOCUMENT).

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/constitutional-history

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I hope everyone reads the brief summary of the constitutional battles we have been through in this country.  This account seems fairly accurate and not too biased.

I have to admit that I have not read any of the reports mentioned above since the early 1990's.  I read them all in the day and that is why I keep saying that there is no clear resolve to the central issues.  I think that Dix highlighted the main issues very well in his response when questioned about the federal NDP's response to the BQ's reinvigorating the Clarity Act debate.

I don't necessarily agree with him on all the points but I do understand why he had to take the postilion he did.

Vaughn Palmer prodded him to respond and he did.

Quote:

Providing the question were clear and there were no irregularities in the referendum, the Mulcair proposal would oblige Ottawa to enter into negotiations on Quebec separation if “the majority of valid votes are cast in favour of the proposed change.”

Thus a bare majority would be enough to set the wheels in motion to break up the country.

“I disagree with that,” Dix told me. He expects many British Columbians would also dispute that “50 per cent plus one would be enough” to automatically trigger negotiations on separation.

I think that Dix is wrong about this and he is being anti democratic.  However the BC NDP is being consistent in its demand that super majorities are required for some changes.  The people of this province voted 59% in favour of changing the electoral system but because the law said it required 60% it was defeated.  The BC NDP while in opposition did not even put a motion before the House to make the 59% vote count instead they agreed that the threshold was appropriate and had not been met.  Saying that a bare majority should not trigger separation talks (while wrong IMO) is consistent with the party policy adopted for the people of BC.  Dix is merely extending his less than democratic view of change to the federal scene.

When it comes to the people deciding Dix and the BC NDP hold the voters of Quebec in the same disdain as they do the voters of BC.

Quote:

Thus, in Dix’s comparative reading, Mulcair’s rewrite of the Clarity Act would eliminate any provincial role in the process, prior to the separation question being defined and decided. It is also less prescriptive as to the provincial role in any subsequent negotiation, seeming to give the federal government more flexibility in how it proceeds.

Mulcair envisions a process that would in large measure play out bilaterally between two parties, the Canadian nation and the Quebec nation.

Dix sees the country as a confederation of provinces and territories, each with a role in deciding on what grounds one of their number can depart legally and constitutionally. He also sees the need, as a would-be future premier of B.C., to preserve provincial prerogatives against any federal encroachment.

I disagree with Dix that the other provinces should have any say in the wording of any referendum question. That is for the Quebec legislature to decide.  I do believe I understand where his fear comes from. 

His fear comes from the knowledge that there is a consensus in Quebec that a referendum would trigger nation to nation talks and that the other provinces would have at most a secondary role as advisers to the federal government. A referendum question that speaks to starting bilateral talks with Canada is fine for the people of Quebec to pass.  It is just that the people in other provinces will not allow themselves to be sidelined while their democracy is restructured.

The last part bears repeating.

"Dix sees the country as a confederation of provinces and territories, each with a role in deciding on what grounds one of their number can depart legally and constitutionally. He also sees the need, as a would-be future premier of B.C., to preserve provincial prerogatives against any federal encroachment."

No BC politician will sit by while our countries constitution is negotiated without demanding a seat at the table.  In Ontario many people accept the bilateral idea but the further away from Central Canada that one gets the less attractive that idea becomes. The power dynamics involved in that equation should be obvious enough for all to grasp.

I will defer to the better informed about Quebec politics however I think it be would be political suicide for Quebec politicians to say that they will leave the constitutional issues to the federal MP's and that Quebec's MPs would represent Quebec's interest in any talks about changing the constitution. However I do know that adopting the view that Ottawa and Quebec will be the only players at the table when the future of the country is decided would be political suicide in BC.

Canada is a nation founded in 1867 and it has always included Quebec.  If you take Quebec out of Canada you are not left with Canada and Quebec.  You are left with nine other provinces and three territories not a nation called ROC and the nation of Quebec.  How we choose to reconfigure ourselves if the people of Quebec go it alone is not going to be determined by Central Canada. While many people in Ontario might think a bilateral relationship would be good but depending on the nature of that relationship the people of BC might chose a different path.  What if the people of Nunavit  also think about becoming a sovereign nation and the Newfs also decide to go back to being a separate nation.  Do the other provinces and territories still remain a nation?

I hope the Quebec people will understand that the primary duty placed on a BC Premier by the people of this province is to preserve provincial prerogatives against any federal encroachment. It is not a hate on for Quebec but a well deserved distrust of Ottawa that drives that consensus. We don't trust Ottawa to make our decisions for us and that is as much a consensus in this province as the consensus in Quebec that any talks should be bilateral.  Never the twain shall met.

http://www.canada.com/business/2035/Vaughn+Palmer+Adrian+respectfully+di...

Left Turn Left Turn's picture

Nothing can stop Quebec from simply applying to the UN for membership as an independent country, if it wants to separate from Canada. In the event that Quebec were to win a UN membership vote it would gain legal recognition as an independent country under international law. At that point, any negotiations that would be required would take place between the country of Canada and the Country of Quebec. The other provinces would have a say in such negotiations only to the extent that such negotiations would affect their relationship with Canada.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

So KenS what about BC?

There is a whole thread devoted to what you just reiterated.  I deliberately opened this in the BC forum to discuss it from a west coast perspective.  In particular the BC NDP perspective.

Dix nor anyone else in BC got this train rolling.  He answered pointed questions from the MSM because to not answer them would have been worse. I am absolutely positive he would not have raised the issue himself but I was pleased that he gave a thoughtful reply.  I don't agree with all that he has to say but I think he has thought it through and he articulates a perspective that is shared across party lines in this province.

My point is there is a BC perspective that is tied to our politics and whether someone in the Maritimes or others in other regions like it I think that it needs to be heard. 

KenS wrote:

I think you all need to fess up to the fact that for all the affirmation of the principle of self-determination [which the Clarity Act does too] and wanting to "let Queec decide", in the end you want the choice of letting the Clarity Act be.

Actually I think that you need to stop trying to tell other people what they think.  I think the Clarity Act is and always has been a family feud amongst Quebec politicians that is being played out in the House and other people in the Canadian nation can't ignore it although they really wish they could.

To be clear I disagree with Dix about the 50% threshold not being sufficient and that other provinces should have any say in the framing of the question because I believe that is for the QNA to decide.  But I do agree with him that as the Premier it is his job to protect the interests of the people of BC and that starts with demanding a seat at any negotiating table convened to discuss constitutional change. 

KenS

kropotkin1951 wrote:

I hope everyone reads the brief summary of the constitutional battles we have been through in this country.  This account seems fairly accurate and not too biased.

But the Sherrooke Declaration is written explicitly to not get us into constitutional battles. That was one of the conditions it had to meet to get traction in Quebec, let alone in the ROC.

Now, obviously- and all the discussions here are testimony to this, as if we didnt know already- it sure sounds like going back into constittuional battles. And so we all loathe going there. Except the BQ, who live and die as an institution by these battles. And the Liberal Party, who at least used to think they could not lose at stoking it from the other side. Hence we have the Clarity Act.

The Clarity Act exists. Thats a fact. It also does not raise the need to change the constitution. But it was a delierate provocation, and it remained a festering wound in Quebec.While the NDP did not unequivocally support the Clarity Act, it did vote for it, and never said anything that was not mealy mouthed against it. We wore it in Quebec. The NDP was marginal in Quebec anyway. But if like Jack Layton, Pierre Ducasse and other Quebec activists, you were determined to change that- a pre-condition to being able to move was having an alternative position to the Clarity Act. Which was the Sherrooke Declaration.

Unless you dont care aout the NDPs standing in Quebec [let alone what it means to decide it doesnt matter the Queec consensus shared by sovereignists and federalists about the Clarity Act], the NDP never had the option to ignore the Clarity Act and its open provocation.

But I return to your opening point: it was the Clarity Act that opened this battle. The NDP did not start it. There were and two choices. You can stand explicitly or implicitly with leaving the Clarity Act in place as the preferred course of action, or you can propose an alternative. I think you all need to fess up to the fact that for all the affirmation of the principle of self-determination [which the Clarity Act does too] and wanting to "let Queec decide", in the end you want the choice of letting the Clarity Act be. And the SD does not do that, with the inevitable consequence NDP will be forced to be explicit: is it the Clarity Act or your SD?

You are also making a choice and taking a position, while at the same time criticising the federal NDP for opening up this can of worms.

The can of worms is open, and its not the NDPs doing. Its what you do about it. There is no do nothing, leave it alone. The supposed do nothing option is really, "leave it alone, with the Clarity Act standing."

You raise a lot of good questions. I'll come back to the rest later.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Left Turn wrote:

Nothing can stop Quebec from simply applying to the UN for membership as an independent country, if it wants to separate from Canada. In the event that Quebec were to win a UN membership vote it would gain legal recognition as an independent country under international law. At that point, any negotiations that would be required would take place between the country of Canada and the Country of Quebec. The other provinces would have a say in such negotiations only to the extent that such negotiations would affect their relationship with Canada.

It is true that Quebec can become independent without the consent of the rest of the provinces. They would of course be dealing with the federal government in the division of assets not the provinces. Any new relationship that was not fully independence is a totally different matter.

What the people of Quebec do not have is the right to do determine the future of the other provinces if our Confederation splits apart.  The Canadian constitution becomes a ridiculous document if Quebec is no longer part of the Canadian nation.  That is a fact not a fantasy.  Everything from Senate seats to H of C seat allocations become meaningless the day that Quebec secedes. If a nation called Canada survives then it will have to first decide its own affairs and the people of Quebec will just have to accept whatever that eventually looks like.  It may well not include the province of BC or other provinces or territories. 

KenS

I'm not telling you what to think.

But the vast majority of disscussants in the other thread voiced some version of wishing the NDP leaft this alone, why did they rise to the BQ's bait, and why did we go down this road in the first place [the SD], and we shouldnt be going into constitutional battles. Rarelydoes anyone even obliquely say, when it comes down to it, we should let the Clarity Act be, "warts and all".

So I'm pointing out, the Clarity Act, for or against it, is out there.

The NDP has to make a choice. There is no viable ducking.

So you tell me, when it comes down to it:

Is it for or against the Clarity Act.

[Or the NDP's current option, of proposing something else in its place.]

We've heard enough of the background logic to the choice. With people not spelling it out, I took the step of saying what your argumentive logic seems to say the choice is. If you dont like me taking that choice for you, spell i out yourself.

Adrian Dix told us that he supports the Clarity Act. What do you say?

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

"Adrain [sic] Dix told us that he supports the Clarity Act. What do you say"

Gee I have said it all along. I gave you a detailed breakdown.  What don't you understand?  I say the Clarity Act is the result of a bunch of Quebec politicians having a spitting match and I don't really care.  Since I am in favour a 50% threshold I am obviously opposed to the Clarity Act and would not have voted for it if I had been an MP.

KenS

The relevant question is what to do now, when it comes up again, when the BQ bill to repeal it is voted on,

Should the NDP vote for, against, or abstain?

[And yes, I will get to your other points, from the BC perspective. It takes more than the minute or two I have. But in the final analysis, that has to include one of those choices.]

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I would think they would vote against it based on the threshold principle itself but I suspect they might chose to abstain instead.  As for me personally I think the NDP should stop voting to support wars of aggression and that is something I care about deeply.  I don't care how they vote on the Clarity Act because it is really about nothing. If the PQ have another referendum it will reopen all the questions and the amount of uncertainty in the resulting process will be directly proportional to the clarity of the question.  If the referendum question specifically tries to exclude other provinces while seeking a new relationship it will plunge the country into a crisis.

KenS

I'll get to the larger points, but I want to correct this:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

The Canadian constitution becomes a ridiculous document if Quebec is no longer part of the Canadian nation.  That is a fact not a fantasy.

Do you have a problem with the mulitiple legal meanings of nation?

Does Canada become ridiculous if we recognize the many first nations?

I know that you are talking about what happens if Quebec were to become fully independent. But you use the term nation as if it is equivalent to recognized country. They are not the same thing. And it makes all the difference in this discussion.

Neither the Clarity Act or the SD is about Quebec becoming independent. They are about recognition [or not] of the powers of Quebec [or of limiting them] in determining the rules of any future referenda. Period. Full stop.

The Shubenacadie First Nation is a recognized nation under the Canadian political system. So is Quebec. In neither case is it clear where issues of sovereignty starts and stops- that is a work in progress. But it is agreed- despite constant grumbling and kibbitzing in both cases- they are recognized as nations.

Quebec is a nation. BC and Saskatchewan are not. And they are not, while Shubenacadie First Nation- population under 2,000- is one. No question that BC and Saskatchewan are more robust and powerful entities. But they are not nations. While Quebec is. BC or Saskatchewan could also have insisted they are nations, and then we would have to figure that out. But only Quebec has acted as a nation.

The Clarity Act and the SD are about recognizing Quebec's powers and/or limiting them.

KenS

While I am no constitutional expert, neither are you. And the consititution and all the other legal framework stands on its own, with or without Quebec part of Canada. Of course, there would be tones of messes to be worked out. But the consitution is a legal framework that is 'above that'... and helps set the rules for even very radical changes.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

You missed my point. Quebec is a nation. Canada after Quebec were to secede would no longer be a nation because it has no working constitution.  You are right that BC and Sask are not nations they are provinces.  However Canada is the the sum of its parts and has always been based on a unique relationship between the two original settler groups.  If that dynamic is gone then what is the incentive for BC to join a political union where Ontario would dominant the federal system.  For us out on the periphery Ontario and Quebec provide a counter balance to each other thus allowing room for other areas of the country to have some influence on Ottawa. 

Canada minus Quebec does not leave Canada it leaves a bunch of people with no nation state who will need to determine their own future before determining what relationship any new nation or nations wants to have with the nation state of Quebec. If Quebec secedes it will be for the people of BC to determine if they want to join with the people in other provinces to form a new nation since the one we belong to will no longer exist. 

In the meantime I can assure you that based on the conversations I have with people out here the Clarity Act will not have any major effect on who BC voters chose as MP's.  For all I know the Clarity Act may play out as an election issue in Quebec but not in BC.  Even it gets raised in the next election it will not be a deal breaker for enough voters to make a difference.  Frankly I am afraid that Trudeau's hair might sway more voters than how the NDP votes on the Clarity Act will.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

KenS wrote:

The Canadian Encyclopedia wrote:

The failure of the Accord left a sense of bitterness and frustration. Many Quebeckers interpreted its failure as a rejection of Québec and support for pulling out of Canada soared in that province.

I am not saying that he or you had to. But you cannot make the claim that the main issues were dealt with, when a huge component of them is simply left out.

This did in fact occur prior to the last referendum in Quebec and despite that it did not pass. Close but not quite.  Come on Ken try to be a little more discerning in your selective arguments.  I never said that Dix made a comprehensive proposal to get the people of Quebec to lose their sense of bitterness over the defeat of the Accord 23 years ago. I said he dealt with the Clarity Act in a comprehensive manner.  For some one who doesn't want to bring up the battles of the past you seem to have a hard time controlling yourself.

KenS

kropotkin1951 wrote:

I read the [background consitutional history posted and linked above] ... and that is why I keep saying that there is no clear resolve to the central issues.

"No clear resolve" does not mean that we do come to some de facto agreement on a course of action and/or inaction that everyone can live with. We always have to, and we always do. 

No one is talking about perfect solutions that will make everyone happy, or even make everyone satisfied. Raising up "no clear resolve" can become an excuse / rationalization to object to everything, and to absolves ourselves of making tough choices.

[Which by the way, Adrian Dix has not done.]

kropotkin1951 wrote:

I think that Dix highlighted the main issues very well in his response when questioned about the federal NDP's response to the BQ's reinvigorating the Clarity Act debate.

He highlighted the issues to his and your satisfaction of what is the most important.

He did not deal with this:

The Canadian Encyclopedia wrote:

The failure of the Meech Lake Accord left a sense of bitterness and frustration. Many Quebeckers interpreted its failure as a rejection of Québec and support for pulling out of Canada soared in that province.

I am not saying that he or you had to deal with this. But you cannot make the claim that the main issues were dealt with, when a huge component of them is simply left out.

 

 

Unionist

KenS wrote:

The relevant question is what to do now, when it comes up again, when the BQ bill to repeal it is voted on,

Should the NDP vote for, against, or abstain?

Good question. I asked it [url=http://rabble.ca/babble/qu%C3%A9bec/bq-pushing-repeal-clarity-act#commen...

Unionist wrote:
[H]ow will the NDP vote on the Bloc's bill, if and when there's a vote - given that it comes up ahead of the "Unity" Act?

I repeated the question [url=http://rabble.ca/babble/qu%C3%A9bec/bq-pushing-repeal-clarity-act#commen....

Still silence. So, I repeated it [url=http://rabble.ca/babble/qu%C3%A9bec/bq-pushing-repeal-clarity-act#commen...

Unionist wrote:

So, I didn't quite catch your answer. There's a BQ bill coming up.

1. How will the NDP vote?

2. How should the NDP vote?

Nothing. So then [url=http://rabble.ca/babble/qu%C3%A9bec/bq-pushing-repeal-clarity-act#commen...

Unionist wrote:
Oh, and how will and should the NDP vote on repealing the Clarity Act?

And then again [url=http://rabble.ca/babble/qu%C3%A9bec/bq-pushing-repeal-clarity-act#commen....

I may have missed a few...

In short, Ken, I wish you the best of luck where I miserably failed, in getting an answer to this simple question. Because when the time comes, the Speaker will call for a vote. It would be nice to know in advance how the NDP plans to respond, and what our own opinions are on the matter.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I am not sure who you are addressing your question to. I have answered as to how I would vote and as you are well aware I certainly do not speak on behalf of the federal NDP.  I have even conjectured in this thread on what they might do.  So what was your question actually about again and who do you want to answer it?

K1951 at post 7 wrote:

Since I am in favour a 50% threshold I am obviously opposed to the Clarity Act and would not have voted for it if I had been an MP.

and at post 9 wrote:

I would think they would vote against it based on the threshold principle itself but I suspect they might chose to abstain instead.  As for me personally I think the NDP should stop voting to support wars of aggression and that is something I care about deeply.

KenS

V

KenS

I still cannot figure out from that where you stand. Which is one reason why I gave up and moved on to Adrian Dix.

You keep giving long answers to the short question:

When the bill for repealing the Clarity Act comes up: should the NDP vote yes [repeal it], no, or abstain.

KenS

 

You are either very inconsistent, or very incomprehensible on how your positions connect, or both.

Adrian Dix I can follow, and you posed him as from the BC / BCNDP perspective.

So...

 

You are leaving out the small detail of the election in BC.

It is absolutely imperative to any election campaign that you do not do anything to get yourself mucked up in issues on which you cannot win. Even if they do not directly harm you, being forced to deal with it is a distraction; and that is sufficient harm in itself. It throws the campaign off. And there is always a risk that will be serious and disabling.

You can say all you want "it doesnt matter in BC" about the Clarity Act. But there is no question that Dix and the campaign brains are going to make sure it is not a possibility. Not to mention that its difficult to square "it doesnt matter in BC" with the amount of energy put into the other thread into "why is this being brought up." If it doesnt matte, ignore it.

Anyway, Adrian Dix was never going to ignore this. And never going to let it creep sideways into the campaign. All the other NDP party leaders and premeirs can just say mealy things about what the federal NDP and Mulcair are doing in the party- but they are not facing elections.

The way not to get caught up in explaining why you dont like or sort of dont like the Clarity Act when most citizens of the provinces like and support what is in it, is to say "I respectfully disagree with Tom Mulcair. I like the Clarity Act, and think we need it."

Done.

I dont blame Dix for doing that. And here's my larger pragmatic calculation: Dix and the BC NDP can never win or even contain the damage in the short term in any other way. And it doesnt do any serious harm to what Mulcair is trying to achieve. Precisely because this is not something people in BC are even close to passionate about, there will be room for Dix to shift his position after the election. Expect him to end up in the same non-commital position as all the other NDP leaders/premeirs.

He expanded into a discussion of larger provincial concerns about the federal government and constitutional powers, because he also cannot afford to come off as supporting the Clarity Act only for crass political reasons. And those accusations would be made if he didnt give his position at least some higher level backdrop.

I'm not saying that he does not believe what he says. I think he probably does.

But he would not be talking about any of this at all if he did not have to. He has to to innoculate the questions out of the election campaign. If he said no comment, the media and opposition would run wild with that. He talks about it enough, and in the manner, to put it to bed.

It matters to virtually no one in BC right now whether or not Adrian Dix speaks to the arcane connection between the next referendum in Quebec and protecting BC's powers. Dix is not bringing it up out of the intrinsic substantive need to address it. He's adding that in now as part of the work of putting the whole question to bed.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

KenS wrote:

I still cannot figure out from that where you stand. Which is one reason why I gave up and moved on to Adrian Dix.

You keep giving long answers to the short question:

When the bill for repealing the Clarity Act comes up: should the NDP vote yes [repeal it], no, or abstain.

You've got to be joking can't you read. I have already answered that question more than once.  They would vote to repeal it if they had any principles around the 50% issue but they will likely abstain because they are a spineless bunch on many issues.

The NDP doesn't care what I think on issues it votes the way Mulcair says to vote.  Ask Mulcair your stupid question please since he seems to be the one that will not answer it.

What did you say to the supposedly difficult question KenS.  How about you Unionist?  What t do you think the NPD should do?

Come on answer it right now once and for all. You keep dodging the question and you never answer it. Come on do it answer it I dare you.

 

NorthReport

That is too dangerous a game for Quebec, as nothing can stop as well Quebec from being carved up into what it was before Confederation, if they ever voted to try and leave Canada. Read Bill Shaw's 11th Province.

Anyway it is not going to come to that as this issue is on the back burner where it belongs for the forseeable  future.

Left Turn wrote:

Nothing can stop Quebec from simply applying to the UN for membership as an independent country, if it wants to separate from Canada. In the event that Quebec were to win a UN membership vote it would gain legal recognition as an independent country under international law. At that point, any negotiations that would be required would take place between the country of Canada and the Country of Quebec. The other provinces would have a say in such negotiations only to the extent that such negotiations would affect their relationship with Canada.

KenS

I think the NDP should vote to repeal the Clarity Act. Or abstain, if a third alernative is offered. The Unity Bill is oviously meant to e a third alternative, whether that remains it.

Virtually all of your opther positions Krop are in asolute contradiction with being opposed to the substance of hte Clarity Act- which was a big part of the reason for not knowing what you meant. [Aside from never having given a clear yes/no/abstain answer.]

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

How often have I said that democracy demands a 50% threshold.  If you didn't get it the first half dozen times I talked about the threshold it is not my fault. So please stop telling me I am some sort of confused fool when in fact it seems you have a reading comprehension problem.

The reason I know I feel strongly about that is because the political elite in BC including the NDP sold out that principle in our electoral change referendum.

So kindly read more carefully in the future. 

Unionist

Canada must repeal the Clarity Act, because it interferes in Québec's right to choose its future. The NDP must vote in favour of the Bloc's motion. Abstention is not an option, no matter what else is on the table. And if the NDP isn't gifted enough to explain its stand in such a way that honest people will understand, then it should just try harder.

Pogo Pogo's picture

KenS wrote:

I think the NDP should vote to repeal the Clarity Act. Or abstain, if a third alernative is offered. The Unity Bill is oviously meant to e a third alternative, whether that remains it.

Virtually all of your opther positions Krop are in asolute contradiction with being opposed to the substance of hte Clarity Act- which was a big part of the reason for not knowing what you meant. [Aside from never having given a clear yes/no/abstain answer.]

  I think this is a big misreading of his position.

Pogo Pogo's picture

dble  post