Tuesday, November 21, 2006

State of the Nations

This is vewy vewy intewesting:

Bloc Québécois supply day motion, debate to be held (whoops! Updated:) Thursday, vote to be held Monday or Tuesday:

"Que cette Chambre reconnaisse que les Québécoises et les Québécois forment une nation."


This is going to put Stephen Harper in an awkward situation since he has repeatedly (and wisely) dodged the question (I bet he wishes he had an EU meeting or something to run off to!). My prediction is he'll use the "nation is an ambiguous term" defense but, even then, he's damned either way he votes.

And, strange as it sounds, the Liberal leadership contender this is going to be the most difficult for is Stephane Dion. Muddled as he is on this, it's clear enough that Iggy can vote yes and be (relatively speaking) consistent with his position(s). Kennedy and Rae don't have seats so they get a crucial exemption. That leaves Stephane Dion to tap-dance.

27 Comments:

  • Awkward for Stephen Harper for sure...and I don't know if you were implying this...but also awkward for the Conservative caucus as a whole.

    By Blogger Small Town Shyster, at 9:59 PM  

  • Oh yeah, for sure.

    My hunch is that Lawrence Cannon and Myron Thompson do not have the same opinion on this topic...

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 10:00 PM  

  • I'm considerably more comfortable with this motion than that put forward by Quebec Liberals, which is more like the following:

    "Que cette Chambre reconnaisse que le Quebec constitue une nation."

    Or something to that effect. The BQ motion mentions only les Québécois et les Québécoises, which, at least, only mentions those individuals who would otherwise be called French Quebeckers. Sounds okay to me, so long as it doesn't really mean anything else.

    Of course, you're quite right, CG, that Myron probably won't be too keen on this. Well, divisions over Quebec destroyed Mulroney's alliance - it could easily do so again, even though Harper's coalition is considerably weaker to start off.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 10:11 PM  

  • The Bloquiests believe that the Quebecois include all non purelaine Quebecers now.

    That is there argbument, that it is not an ethnic nation anymore, but a socialogical one.

    By Blogger Manley Man, at 10:47 PM  

  • If the resolution is accepter by the house of common, it would be odd for the LPC to reject it the same week, in Quebec.

    I agree whit you CG, the big loser on this is Dion.

    By Blogger ecrelin, at 11:00 PM  

  • Knowing Myron, I think he's enough of a pragmatist to hold his tongue publicly. But the general point is well taken.

    Josh, I don't think that "Quebecois et Quebecoises" precludes anglophone residents of Quebec. Or, if I'm wrong, I don't think that *any* party can politically make the distinction.

    In that light, could anyone amend the motion to "...les franco-canadiennes et franco-canadiens forment une nation"?

    By Blogger matt, at 11:01 PM  

  • Thompson is under the same gag order as all the other Neanderthals in the Conservative caucus. He needs Harper's permission to say good-night to his wife.

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 11:25 PM  

  • "it's clear enough that Iggy can vote yes and be (relatively speaking) consistent with his position"

    That could be true,but what happens when Iggy has to get up and debate the issue?I'm sure Duceppe will play on his inexperience and try and turn whatever he says around to benefit the seperatists.

    By Blogger paulsstuff, at 11:42 PM  

  • And so begins what Iggy started. Let the (constitutional) games begin!

    By Blogger Werner Patels, at 11:52 PM  

  • That is there argbument (sic), that it is not an ethnic nation anymore, but a socialogical one.

    I don't think there's any meaningful distinction between "ethnic" and "sociological" as the former is simply a specific case of the latter.

    Josh, I don't think that "Quebecois et Quebecoises" precludes anglophone residents of Quebec. Or, if I'm wrong, I don't think that *any* party can politically make the distinction.

    It doesn't necessarily preclude them (I expect many would say it does), but it certainly precludes First Nations and Inuit peoples living within the borders of Quebec. That's key.

    In that light, could anyone amend the motion to "...les franco-canadiennes et franco-canadiens forment une nation"?

    I'd go for that - in fact, if Harper were a bit more creative, that's precisely what he would do, as it would (rightly in my opinion) paint the Bloc as having little to no interest in francophones outside Quebec. There are many feasible permutations of such a motion, but I don't see how Quebecois constitute a nation distinct from franco-ontariens and francophone New Brunswickers (though les acadiens could be said to be distinct).

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 12:01 AM  

  • why did we poke the constitutional hornet's nest??? big mistake!!!

    By Blogger canuckistanian, at 12:14 AM  

  • Kennedy and Rae don't have seats so they get a crucial exemption.

    You don't think reporters will be all over them asking what their vote would be?

    I don't see an exemption for Kennedy and Rae on this issue.

    By Blogger robedger, at 1:51 AM  

  • It's nice and convenient to blame Iggy for this (odd though how the same people who say he is inexperienced and incompetent also give him this great power and influence over an entire province to "create" an issue, but nevermind that), but the issue of Quebec as a nation has been swimming around for a few years now.

    Martin Cauchon in his Renewal Commission Report didn't just suddenly succomb to Ignatieff's charm when he was writing that and then go back to being a Rae supporter when it was published. Indeed, Rae himself didn't steal this one from Ignatieff when he was speaking about Quebec as a nation in the spring and throughout the summer. William Hogg, with whom I've now spoken directly about the issue, didn't just jump on this issue and resolution because Ignatieff happened to mention it. I forget what reporter it was but there was a Quebec reporter who asked Harper for his views on this back in February before any Liberal leader mentioned the word.

    I'm not blaming anyone by referring to these others. Merely pointing out that the idea of recognizing Quebec as a nation was already a gathering firestorm before the leadership race really got underway, even before the discussions on the LPCQ resolution were started.

    The leadership race has fanned the flames of the debate, rushing it along much further much faster.

    But this is nothing to the debate that will be had when the PQ eventually win back government and make it formal policy and start their run at another referendum.

    None of that means we should accept the concept, but that is the context. Just trying to brush it under the carpet was never going to be possible even before the leadership race turned it into news in the English press, despite what certain prominent media pundits think.

    Ted
    Cerberus

    By Blogger Cerberus, at 2:10 AM  

  • cg said "it's clear enough that Iggy can vote yes and be (relatively speaking) consistent with his position"
    I don't understand why he is suddenly expected to be consistent on a position? Why cant he flip flop again? Please fellow liberals, I am asking you on Monday or Tuesday to let Iggy vote NO on the defining Quebec as a nation, and then YES the following weekend to define Quebec as a nation.
    No wait, he doesnt need to vote on any motion as they are both 'retrospective hypotheticals'.

    By Blogger ktr, at 2:20 AM  

  • rob - Obviously Kennedy and Rae will get asked how they'd vote (as they were on Afghanistan). But the media reports will focus more on those who do vote...that's just the way the media is. Dion also seems to have taken over the role as the main spokesman against the Iggy resolution and his long history on the national unity file is well know - all of this means his vote will be scrutinized more than the others (especially since the media doesn't seem to know Gerard even exists or is in this race...).

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:27 AM  

  • I suspect the Bloc deliberately brought forward this resolution since they know it would split both the Liberals and Tories. I suspect most of the ten Tories in Quebec will vote for it while the Tories in the ROC will vote against it considering how unpopular it is outside Quebec. Likewise I suspect in the Liberal caucus you will see a strong divide between the Ignatieff supporters vs. the Kennedy, Rae, and Dion supporters. Although it will be interesting to see if any Ignatieff supporters in English Canada vote against it and likewise if any Dion, Rae, or Kennedy supporters in Quebec vote for it.

    If you look at the most recent SES poll, there is a huge divide on this issue between Quebec and ROC, which is why I've argued this is an issue we should stay away from wherever possible. The separtists off course know this which is why they are trying to exploit the fact the word "Nation" has a different meaning in French than English.

    By Blogger Miles Lunn, at 7:36 AM  

  • I would be surprised if there's no way to amend the motion so as to vote on something else. If not, maybe mass (bi-partisan?)abstention coupled with endorsement of some document speaking to some permutation outlining the obvious (French Candians speak French and have cultural institutions and a history that reflects speaking French) without fuelling separatist fires.

    Josh, I still think most residents of TMR, Westmount and Buckingham consider themselves Quebecois, regardless of their mother tongue. But in so saying, I'm just supporting your point re. First Nations, etc.

    By Blogger matt, at 9:55 AM  

  • What about changing the wording to recognize Quebeckers as a nation "within the Canadian nation"?

    Just asking.

    By Blogger Political Outsider, at 10:57 AM  

  • I think it's going to be even more fun to sabatoge the Liberal election camapign from the inside when Iggy is leader, than it was for Martin.

    We're heading for Turner level of seats in the next election if we hitch our wagon to the Czar of Canada.

    By Blogger Manitoba Liberal, at 11:23 AM  

  • You don't think reporters will be all over them asking what their vote would be?

    There is absolutely no chance that either will give a straight answer.

    By Blogger Tybalt, at 12:14 PM  

  • We're heading for Turner level of seats in the next election if we hitch our wagon to the Czar of Canada.

    I'll go one better.

    In 1984 under Turner, 17 of the 40 seats the Liberals won were Quebec seats. I think it's perfectly possible that if the Liberals hitch their wagon to Professor Mr. Bean, if the Bloquistes/PQ play their divide-and-conquer cards right, in two elections' time the Liberals might no longer have a Quebec to win any seats in.

    By Blogger Tybalt, at 12:18 PM  

  • If not, maybe mass (bi-partisan?)abstention... without fuelling separatist fires.

    I think refusing to even discuss the question of whether Quebec constitutes a nation is insulting enough to Quebec nationalists of all varieties, separatist or not.

    I assure you one thing... if the other parties abstain from voting, the Bloc will not, and they will vote for. The NDP are already committed too... the NDP's positions have consistently recognized Quebec as a nation and the NDP officially recognizes Quebec's "national character". I suspect that the NDP would vote yes as well.

    So a "bipartisan" abstention would include the Liberals and the Tories. Not so good for either party in Quebec.

    By Blogger Tybalt, at 12:33 PM  

  • Two can play this game. Why doesn't the NDP or Grits or Tories introduce a motion which requires all MP in the HofC to swear an oath to Canada and non-other or otherwise be suspended from their duties as a MP?

    By Blogger M. K. Braaten, at 12:33 PM  

  • It's not a complete exemption for Rae and Kennedy..

    People will be watching how key Rae supporters and Kennedy supporters vote as well. Will they all stay on the same page? Will they all be there?

    I'd suspect somebody is working on an amendment that will make this acceptable to everyone (read: fairly innocuous).

    By Blogger Darrell, at 12:45 PM  

  • Wow! Stephen Harper must read comments on CalgaryGrit - or at least, MY comments anyway ;)

    By Blogger Political Outsider, at 6:51 PM  

  • I think you can consider that "awkward position" resolved eh?

    By Blogger RGM, at 7:09 PM  

  • By Blogger xjd7410@gmail.com, at 3:10 AM  

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