BQ pushing for repeal of the Clarity Act

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6079_Smith_W

As tempting as it is, Unionist, I don't think anyone has ever shamed a better world into existence. I don't like some of what there is to work with any more than you do. But it is what we have to work with.

And while we are at it, Quebec may indeed be in full control of its own destiny, but there is a level at which this is actually a two-way street, especially if we are talking about asymmetrical federalism. After all, it has existed in some form for ages. How far we are willing to go with it and remain one country is a question requiring the consent of all parties involved.

Another point that may not be quite so clear is that should this ever get to the point of an endgame, the federal party in power will actually be negotiating on the part of the dreaded ROC.

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

And while we are at it, Quebec may indeed be in full control of its own destiny, but there is a level at which this is actually a two-way street, especially if we are talking about asymmetrical federalism.

Yes, of course. Take a marriage as an analogy. Both parties must negotiate how it will work. But both parties must have the absolute right to walk away, without one of them saying: "Oh, I think you're childish and easily confused, so I'm going to refer your right to walk away to a court to see if you really have thought this through or you're just being scatterbrained."

But if the union persists, it can only do so on fairly and justly negotiated terms. Based on equality.

Quote:
Another point that may not be quite so clear is that should this ever get to the point of an endgame, the federal party in power will actually be negotiating on the part of the dreaded ROC.

You dread the ROC? I don't. I lobby and fight for Québec to remain part of Canada. Not like some commentators who say, "I don't give a fuck if they stay or go." So I'm invested in that endgame. And the NDP had better be also. That means Québec's absolute right to walk away, and it means not treating Québec the same as Saskatchewan. Because Québec is a nation, and Saskatchewan ain't. That's "asymmetric federalism". And if the federal NDP can't live with what the 2006 Convention decided (the Sherbrooke Declaration), they may as well say so now, and start planning the funeral services.

 

KenS

Let me see if I have this straight.

The most relevant poll for getting at what people in Quebec would be to ask people what they think about the Clarity Act. That is after all the starting point of this whole question, and it will surface again around the Q dropiing the rock in the pond: "Clarity Act, for or against?"

So the poll doesnt ask people in Quebec their opinions of the Clarity Act. And even though one of the irritations of the Clarity Act is that  it does not say how high Quebec will have to jump to satisfy the government of Canada. As high as we feel like making it is the impression given. Where the goalposts will be depends, you know, on whatever.

So the survey doesnt ask about the so-called Clarity Act, and ignores one of its most abrasive facets.

But we'll take what the NDP says and the number it proposes, and we'll compare that to what people are asked, with no context, and ask them to pick a treshold number out of the air.

The whole exercise is utterly meaningless for a pulse on Quebec. While I see some serious flaws in the survey design and methods for taking the pulse of ROC... its at least not witless on that. My, my what a surprise: we have a poll done from an ROC perspective, with the questions as they are framed by people in the ROC, and golly gee it comes back with most of us here expect to find in taking the pulse of the ROC.

It is abundantly clear that to varying degrees that most of you in this discussion think its anyone's guess how people in Quebec who have voted NDP in 2011 would react if the NDP decides 50%+1 is too risky in the ROC, and we're better off taking our chances with how Quebec would react to the NDP abondoning that tenet.

If you want to test that to the degree that this CP poll tested opinion in the ROC, you ahve to pose the questions that approximate the choice people will be presented with. It would go something like this:

[some reasonably neutral wording for:] The Clarity Act says that Canada reserves the power to decide what is a reasonable threshold, and does not specify.

The NDP proposed as alternative to the Calirity Act's that a 50%+1 majority is suffiicient to begin negotiations.

What do you think of the Calirty Act?

What would you think of the NDP changing their mind, and instead deciding to support the Clarity Act?

Thats just a first run at the wording. Tweak it all you want to make it more neutral- the point is that a useful survey has to replicate as much as possible the real choices that people are faced with.

NorthReport

Mulcair’s plan to replace Clarity Act not gaining traction with Canadians, provincial NDP leaders

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/mulcairs-plan-to-replace-cl...

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Interesting comment at the end of NR's link:  "Newfoundland only needed 52% to join Canada in 1948 provincial referendum".

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I agree with 50% plus one vote. If the "Yes" side were ever to achieve that number, then clearly they've won. Actually, the longer Harper is PM, the "Yes" side might actually surprise all of us by winning by a much better margin. Cool

lagatta

I do wish the term "appeasement" could be ruled out of bounds in this discussion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeasement I have also seen it raise its ugly head in a lot of media comments threads about Idle No More. In either case, the analogy is ridiculous.

KenS

In practice, we already have assymetric federalism. SD affirms that, it isnt proposing it. It does in practice acknowledge it needs some more work, but we already have it.

Its sad that people think there's a possibility that the NDP can turns it back on 50%+1, do a complete about face in Quebec, and it only might be a disaster. ["Of course, it could happen, anything is possible."]

Fortunately, we dont have to worry about you getting your wish- there is no way Tom Mulcair is going there. [And I seriously doubt if more than a handful in Caucus would like to have the option.]

Too bad that merely standing by 50%+1 is not sufficient. The NDP needs to get creative and show leadership. It sure dont look like the prospects are good for that coming from the base.

6079_Smith_W

Unionist wrote:

You dread the ROC? I don't. I lobby and fight for Québec to remain part of Canada. Not like some commentators who say, "I don't give a fuck if they stay or go." So I'm invested in that endgame. And the NDP had better be also. That means Québec's absolute right to walk away, and it means not treating Québec the same as Saskatchewan. Because Québec is a nation, and Saskatchewan ain't. That's "asymmetric federalism". And if the federal NDP can't live with what the 2006 Convention decided (the Sherbrooke Declaration), they may as well say so now, and start planning the funeral services.

The "dread ROC" has been just as much a running theme in this thread as the "appeasement" lagatta mentioned, and it is just as destructive.

KenS

Referring to the ROC is destructive?

If that's what you mean, please explain it.

Let alone it being comparable to people dismissing NDP policy on Quebec as appeasing the NDP's bloquiste constituency.

I'm certainly frustrated with the range of attitudes represented here from people in and around the NDP from across the ROC. And although I dont expect it from you, the main lot of participants in this discussion can stuff equating that frustration with characterizations of people in the West. I'm not labelling it, I pay close attention to what people say, and at least most of the time dont take it out of context. And what I see is frustrating, even if not at all surprising. Its not new to me, thats for sure. But I could hope that more intense and sustained discussion might bring something out that was new.

Anyway, yes, I'm frustrated. But "dreaded ROC" is your label.

KenS

You are puzzling by the way Smith.

You seem to be objecting to some generalized characterizations of opinion in the west that you see. [Or are you just saying it is probably more flexible than observers think??]

But we have others in the thread- some saying it gently, some saying it in at best borderline ways- who say that the NDP will pay dearly for the SD, and/or support for 50%+1. [Even for the watered down "Unity Bill".]

I understand them. I'm not sure what you are saying.

6079_Smith_W

And to answer the second point, no, I don't think the SD is going to play that great a role in NDP fortunes, at least not here. I certainly don't think it is going to be a dealbreaker. I have read the same doom and gloom over gun control and resource development, so I don't think this will make all that much difference.

I do think the party is in a delicate position on this, to be sure, but it is that way with pretty much everything.

6079_Smith_W

I thought I had explained it KenS, and at the very least that it was clear - blanket statements that the ROC won't recognize Quebec sovereignty, that the threat of military intervention is there. It's not really true, though I think it plays well for some who want to feel there is a strong opposition there.

And to be honest, I don't see everyone who says they don't care about Quebec as "thugs", although I strongly disagree with them. Really the position isn't all that different from many for whom Quebec nationalism is a non-negotiable point. More importantly, those sentiments are something we need to factor in, whether we agree with them or not, and fact is, I'd say most of us here have a point beyond which separation is the preferred option, even if it is not what we want.

In that respect, I think the 50% and other technical arguments are more symbolic than anything- which is not to say they aren't important, because I think recognition of the principle of self-determination is vital. But if it ever comes to a point where Quebec and Canada wind up squaring off on a point where they each feel justified, it will hardly matter which side actually has the right paperwork.

KenS

50%+1 is not "technical". Not even remotely.

It is the line in the sand.

If people think it isnt really a line in the sand, they are mistaken.

There are a number of people here saying that the NDP continuing to support this line in the sand, will have unacceptable consequences for the NDP in the ROC. You dont seem to find it very problematic. I dont think it HAS to be a dealbreaker, but as to where we are startig from, I'm more inclined to agree with the assessment that its going to be a problem.

And its not like 50%+1 [a majority is a majority] will itself be the problem. It is that standing by it is going to make the NDP vulnerable to the attack ads that will come."Allowing the PQ to win a tricked referendum" willrationalize for people seeing the NDP as fair game for the NDP = Separatists ads.

I guess I agree with you in so far as I dont think those opinions that make the NDP vulnerable in the ROC, are immovable opinions. But I think you are way too sanguine about where we start from. And that if the NDP does not proactively address this, rather than try to deak around it, we're headed for a big fall.

KenS

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I do think the party is in a delicate position on this, to be sure, but it is that way with pretty much everything.

Like I said, sanguine.

The only big issue that comes to mind with an equal capacity to bite the NDP is tar sands / climate change / Alberta/ NDP jobs killers. And even that issue does not have alligators waiting on both side of the bridges. For possibly heavily disspointing environmentalists, the price is not anywhere near as great as the price that would be paid in Quebec for backing off 50%+1.

6079_Smith_W

I do take it seriously, but I think focusing too much on the adversarial nature and the potential for failure can actually distort perception and make it a self-fulfilling prophecy, especially since a lot of what we are talking about is conjecture.

Yes I support 50% (and have said so already in this thread) and I think the NDP should as well, for a number of reasons.

KenS

A number of people in this discussion have made it clear they think 50%+1 was a wrong step. They dont seem to want to say whether that means they think the NDP should chuck it. Whether they do or not, that's a measure of something.

Like the author of the article I posted, that confirms for me that the NDP has work cut out for it.

Slumberjack

Rebecca West wrote:
kropotkin1951 wrote:
It is your damn politicians that are causing this fucking sideshow again.  Last time I looked all the players in this debate had one thing in common and that is they were elected as representatives of federal ridings in Quebec.  The BQ stirs the pot a bit and it is Quebec politicians who jump and then the separatist blame all of Canada for the stupidity of the MP's that are elected in Quebec by Quebecers. 

Your comments seem to indicate that Quebers in general, their politicians in particular, are idiots (according to you, a non-Quebecer). This is offensive. As I do in other culturally sensitive forums, I strongly suggest that you take time off from your rant and listen to the better-informed. Really listen.

I don't know if it's fair to say Comrade Kropotkin was referring to Quebecers in general as idiots, but here, with scant evidence to the contrary, you're expecting people to believe that a different species of politician exists in Quebec than everywhere else, with no pardon available for skepticism in that regard?  As for the better informed, many who haven't already tuned out years ago, in one form or another, have had this topic appear before their faces for most of their adult lives.  And to top it all off, we're being summoned to spare our 'cultural sensitivity' for the colonist state of Quebec and the aspirations of its political mafia clans.

6079_Smith_W

KenS wrote:

A number of people in this discussion have made it clear they think 50%+1 was a wrong step. They dont seem to want to say whether that means they think the NDP should chuck it. Whether they do or not, that's a measure of something.

Like the author of the article I posted, that confirms for me that the NDP has work cut out for it.

Not to throw more of a spanner in the works, but personally I can see the arguments for 50 or a higher mandate, and I think it has to be acknowledged that there is a range of opinion. The reason why I think the NDP should hold to it is not necessarily that it is the only reasonable way, but because to do otherwise lends the perception of trying to rig the game, IMO. Supporting 50 is a measure of good faith, I think.

Refusing to consider it is negotiating from fear, which is a hopeless place to start. Likewise, if it does fall on that point, I don't think there was much hope in the first place.

Like I said, I think that good faith is more important than the technical point, and really, quibbling over that is one of the most minor sticking points in all this, IMO.

Unionist

Slumberjack wrote:
  And to top it all off, we're being summoned to spare our 'cultural sensitivity' for the colonist state of Quebec and the aspirations of its political mafia clans.

Earlier, I spoke of the phenomenon of progressive and intelligent folk who can recognize every single brand of neocolonialism and national privilege in the world - except the one they themselves are complicit in and benefit from.

Try substituting Iraq and Afghanistan and Palestine and Libya and Vietnam and Laos and Cambodia and China and Iran in that sentence above, and see whether you feel as if you're suddenly in league with the U.S. or the (ex-)Soviets or NATO or Harper's Canada... See what I mean?

Our duty as Canadians is primarily a negative one - not to use force or the threat of force to inhibit Québec from secession, if and when it decides to secede. That constitutes recognition of its right to self-determination. And no political party, with the exception of the NDP, has to date promised to refrain from force or the threat of force. The Unity Bill, by interfering in the formulation of a referendum question, calls that commitment into question, without actually abandoning it.

We have no duty, as Canadians, to suck up to the political clans of Québec (mafia or otherwise) and bribe them shamelessly just to stay in the federation. But as progressive people, we have a duty (I think) to ensure that any negotiations about staying or leaving are done on a fair, equal, and respectful basis.

 

Slumberjack

Unionist wrote:
Try substituting Iraq and Afghanistan and Palestine and Libya and Vietnam and Laos and Cambodia and China and Iran in that sentence above, and see whether you feel as if you're suddenly in league with the U.S. or the (ex-)Soviets or NATO or Harper's Canada... See what I mean?

No actually.  When did Iraqis float up the two main rivers of that country to claim everything within and beyond their sight, during the great flood?  Chatting about sovereignty in terms of Quebec goes to the heart of our own existence here, which is a matter of sensitivity to be sure, but not one that should be unduly deferred to in all seriousness.

Unionist

SJ, in every single case I mentioned, going right back to the Hmong being cultivated by the French and then the U.S. to use against Vietnamese and Laotian and Cambodian sovereignty, there were/are examples of oppressed minorities, history of colonization, and mafia-like activities by the ruling forces in the very states where the imperialists waged war to bring about regime change. Québec is no different from the rest. And our anti-imperialist anti-colonialist stand must be far more consistent and relentless in a situation which "goes to the heart of our own existence here" than in those far away.

ETA: Sorry, to answer your question about the Iraqis, you may wish to recall the situation of the Kurds, the Shia, the "marsh Arabs" and others under Ba'ath rule. And the political mafia in power. Did that moderate your opinion as to whether outside forces had the right to intervene, no matter what the pretext? I didn't think so.

 

Slumberjack

Well, we can only wish there was a way for non-Quebecers to be absolved entirely and once and for all from involuntary inclusion in the discussion, which for the most part they already are.  Unfortunately there still exists a tenuous implication by way of the open yap of federal politics, and in being held hostage to the diatribe of both Quebec and Federal politics, through inexplicable associations and allegiances in that regard; which we all pay for as if it were an expensive add-on package to our monthly entertainment bill, in the categories of drama and tragicomedy.  Quebec politics and Marsh Arabs though constitues an unsavory comparison for my palette, as is comparing people with an opinion to voice with calls to send in the army, unless they're being explicit about it that is.

NorthReport

I have not bee following this discussion very closely so I am a bit confused as to why all of a sudden this is an issue now.

A question a lot of people privately ask themselves I'm sure is how many kicks at the can can we allow. There has already been 2 referendums and both have failed to pass - are we to allow 40 referendums go ahead until one of them finally passes. Why not have a world series approach in that the best out of seven wins. So far the federalists are leading 2 to zip.  Laughing

Unionist

NorthReport wrote:

A question a lot of people privately ask themselves I'm sure is how many kicks at the can can we allow.

Thanks for allowing the first two referenda. It was so Canadian of you.

KenS

Laughing

KenS

I can also sympathise with SJ wondering how we end up talking about calling the army in, and Marsh Arabs. [though brother, you certainly contributed to that meandering river, flowing across the flat Mesopitanian.... am i digressing? ... ]

 

KenS

Adrian Dix obviously thinks it's a live issue, which he needed to distance himself from as quickly and firmly as possible.

I'm not making a comment on the fact of him doing it. The fact is just hard to square with people asking 'why are we talking about this anyway?'

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

NR, go back to the posts I opened this thread with. If only the NDP had STFU when the BQ made their move to oppose the Clarity Act or whatever it's called, then this thread would have been over weeks or months ago.

KenS

Dont agree with that.

Being silent would have guaranteed the NDP gets skewered.

 

KenS

Simply pointing to the Sherbrooke Declaration was never an option for the NDP.

John Kerry stood by his record in the 2004 US presidential race. And the decorated war hero got Swift Boated.

Bärlüer

Unionist wrote:

NorthReport wrote:

A question a lot of people privately ask themselves I'm sure is how many kicks at the can can we allow.

Thanks for allowing the first two referenda. It was so Canadian of you.

The situation clearly calls for three-strikes legislation.

NorthReport

Laughing

------------------

Lighten up Unionist - the sky is not going to fall, whether or not Quebec separates from Canada. It is not as if Quebec is going to be relocated somewhere else, eh.

One thing I will say though, and that is this separation issue is the best soap opera in the annals of Canadian history, bar none. Some folks in Alberta even wanted to get on the act as well.

 

NorthReport
NorthReport

Precisely my dear Watson, precisely!

 

Quebec separation the issue that isn’t

The Liberals are so intent on trying to score points against the NDP on the unity issue that they don’t seem all that interested in lifting the veil of silence that cloaks the prime minister’s own position on the matter.

Yet if there was a referendum tomorrow, it is Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s view that would be paramount.

Then, there is the assumption that trying to raise the bar of a pro-sovereignty referendum outcome higher than the level of a simple majority is in the best interests of the rest of Canada.

Avoiding the disruption of the departure of a major province such as Quebec is the best-case scenario.

But suppose a majority of Quebecers did give a positive answer to a clearly posed invitation to separate, to what length would a federal government be expected to go to prevent the province’s departure?

And just how doable would it be to keep Quebecers in the federation against the stated will of a majority of them, especially in light of the fact that a sovereigntist victory obtained even by the narrowest of margins would be legitimate in the eyes of most of those who man the federalist front line in Quebec?

On that score, the NDP’s view that 50 per cent plus one is a clear enough answer (as long as the question is also clear) is closer to the Quebec federalist mainstream than the federal Liberal assertion that an unspecified higher level of support is required.

But perhaps the most glaring paradox is that it should be sovereigntists in Quebec and not federalists in the rest of Canada who fret about the perils of a narrow “Yes” victory and strive to avoid having to act on it.

Who in his or her right mind would want to show up for a tough negotiation on the basis of a paper-thin mandate?

It does not take an advanced degree in mediation to know that would be a prescription for getting fleeced at the negotiating table.

In one of the previous installments of the same debate shortly after the last referendum, here is how that very case was put to the House of Commons: “If the government of Quebec chooses to go into a negotiation in which it has 51 per cent or 52 per cent support, it puts itself into an extremely weak bargaining position with the rest of the country. ...

“It will bring Quebec to the table in a position where Quebecers are extremely weak and divided.”

That’s an excerpt from a speech Harper delivered as lead critic on unity issues for the Reform Party in 1996.

Back then, the prime minister was convinced that a narrow “Yes” vote would translate into a solid negotiating edge for the Canadian side in any secession negotiation.

It is hard to imagine that he has changed his mind.

http://thechronicleherald.ca/thenovascotian/672262-hebert-quebec-separat...

NorthReport

Only the shadow knows!  Laughing

Why does the NDP’s Craig Scott want to replace the Clarity Act?

http://www.hilltimes.com/opinion-piece/2013/02/18/why-does-the-ndp%E2%80...

Unionist

NorthReport wrote:

Why does the NDP’s Craig Scott want to replace the Clarity Act?

http://www.hilltimes.com/opinion-piece/2013/02/18/why-does-the-ndp%E2%80...

I can't read the Hill Times article without a paid subscription, but Karl's article also appears on rabble.

Karl Nerenberg wrote:
In its Sherbrooke Declaration, the NDP has said that it believes a 50% plus one vote -- on a clear question, in a vote that was not tarnished by irregularities -- would be sufficient to trigger a negotiation between Quebec and Ottawa.

Karl is eloquently trying to defend the Unity Bill as being a good way out and consistent with the party's policy (the Sherbrooke Declaration). But in his passion, he has added the part that I've bolded above. I can't find that concept anywhere in the Sherbrooke Declaration - although it is, of course, central to the "Unity Bill".

I'm going to ask Karl what his authority or source is for saying what he said above, unless someone else can point me to it. Here's what I read in the Sherbrooke Declaration:

Sherbrooke Declaration wrote:
The NDP recognizes Québec’s right to self-determination, which implies the right of the people of Québec to decide freely its own political and Constitutional future. This right can be expressed in various ways and can go as far as achieving sovereignty. But the right to self- determination can also be exercised within Canada. [...]

Therefore, the NDP is committed to respect, in all its dealings, the Loi québécoise sur la Consultation populaire (Québec Referendum Act). Also, the NDP would recognize a majority decision (50% + 1) of the Québec people in the event of a referendum on the political status of Québec. The NDP recognizes as well that the right to self-determination implies that the Assemblée nationale is able to write a referendum question and that the citizens of Québec are able to answer it freely. It would be to the federal government to determine its own process in the spirit of the Supreme Court ruling and under international law, in response to the results of the popular consultation in Québec.

[my emphasis]

 

Pogo Pogo's picture

KenS wrote:

Adrian Dix obviously thinks it's a live issue, which he needed to distance himself from as quickly and firmly as possible.

I'm not making a comment on the fact of him doing it. The fact is just hard to square with people asking 'why are we talking about this anyway?'

Adrian Dix commented on the day of the story.  I don't recall anything since then.  The point is not regarding unanimous support for the all the provisions, but rather that it isn't dominating our politics.

Slumberjack

So you're saying the SD is tautological in its clarity?

Unionist

[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ndp-mp-claude-patry-defects... MP Claude Patry defects to join the Bloc Québécois[/url]

 

KenS
Unionist

Unionist wrote:

Unless they find a way to stop watching polls and start listening to their own Québec caucus (for starters), and figure out how to counter Liberal/Conservative propaganda without succumbing to it, they will return (very fast) to the wilderness they inhabited since 1933.

Hate to quote myself, but this is and remains the challenge IMHO. Canada does not need the neocolonial NDP of the past. The Con/Libs play that role just fine.

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I want to say something really intelligent on this matter Laughing but all I can come up with is that we don't need another Liberal party. Hey, I've been on drugs due to a medical incident.

Unionist

Boom Boom wrote:

I want to say something really intelligent on this matter Laughing but all I can come up with is that we don't need another Liberal party. Hey, I've been on drugs due to a medical incident.

Hey Boom Boom, that's a more intelligent statement than 99% of what I hear daily on the MSM!

And get better real soon, please. Not that I have anything against drugs as such...

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

You're too kind. Smile

KenS

He's trying to get back to that adoration from Babbledom that Dawg guy said he has.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Laughing

Unionist

The NDP has launched a robocall campaign in Jonquière-Alma against Claude Patry. Not sure how this will go down - especially since the campaign is run from Ottawa - but I guess they're determined to breathe a bit more life into a faltering Bloc.

[url=http://www.radio-canada.ca/audio-video/pop.shtml#urlMedia=http://www.rad...'s the call.[/url]

And here's my rough translation:

NDP robocall wrote:
Hello, my name is Chantal from the NDP.

In 2011, Claude Patry was elected as a member of Jack Layton's team.

Last week, he mocked you and all the voters of Jonquière-Alma when he left the NDP to join another political party.

We believe that Mr. Patry should have the courage of his convictions by resigning and running in a byelection.

Given that Mr. Patry didn't seek your opinion before making this decision, we've decided to do so. Press "1" to leave a message to Mr. Claude Patry, asking him to respect your democratic choice. Thank you. For more information, dial 1-866-525-2555 or [email and Ottawa addresses].

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Jesus. The NDP is being vindictive and petty. Just like the Conservatives.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

In BC we call the robo dialer they have used for years Big Mouth. 

I must admit I agree that he should have sat as an Independent or see whether he is a popular as Sheila Copps was.  But then he likely doesn't have an arena named after his Dad.

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