I have a question. First let me preface this with the fact that I didn't even know who Alexandre Boulerice was until during the election. I still don't know that much about him. I'm certainly not arguing that he should, or should not, run for leadership of the NDP or win said leadership if he does run.
What I do know is this. Every time Alexandre Boulerice's name comes up he gets complemented as a quality leadership candidate but dismissed because he "is a separatist." In this context, "is a separatist" means he admitted to voting for Quebec to separate from Canada in 1995, and donated to QS.
I've been thinking about this at work on and off for the last few days. Is this really a dealbreaker? He must have been in his early 20's at the time he voted. It would be one thing if he said (today) that he still wanted Quebec to separate or he would still vote for separation if there was another referendum. But nearly half of the population of Quebec voted to separate in 1995 (turnout was high and even without the issue of questionable vote discards it still would have been close). Obviously if support to separate was still that high then a soverign Quebec would be a much larger issue/debate than it currently is.
Is it unreasonable to presume that if Mr. Boulerice was to say (to someone criticizing his previous position) "Yes, it is true that 21 years ago, when I was young (and naive?), I voted for Quebec to separate. Like many Quebecers who voted to separate at the time, I no longer believe that secession from Canada is the best course for Quebec or Canada as a whole (and firmly support a united Canada?)." that this would not be accepted by the general public? He doesn't need to get into it any further as far as I'm concerned.
I need to reiterate that I don't know anything else much about him. I just don't necessarily agree with writing him off because of how he voted when he was 22 (or so). IF he is otherwise a strong candidate, I can't believe that this single issue should disqualify him. But I don't know Quebec, so that's why I'm asking.
Consider that in 2012 Trudeau said "I always say, if at a certain point, I believe that Canada was really the Canada of Stephen Harper – that we were going against abortion, and we were going against gay marriage and we were going backwards in 10,000 different ways – maybe I would think about wanting to make Quebec a country." When used against him, this had little or no effect, despite being much more current.
Hell, the consensus that I've seen in most places is that the only reason Mulcair's pro-Thatcher comments hurt him was because he didn't denounce them. "Mulcair shrugged" is a meme. His comments were only from about 10 years ago and made in his late 40's/early 50's, and most people would have still given him a pass if he had just simply said his position had evolved/changed.
And as for him donating to QS...so what? QS doesn't only stand for secession. He could just say (more eloquently) "I don't believe QS would be any more successful seceeding from Canada than the BQ was when the BQ was in power - but unlike the more right leaning Liberals and BQ, the QS has other principles that I do support such as X, Y, Z."
So what am I missing?