Sunday, April 15, 2007

Random Weekend Speculation

Anyone else think we're going to get another round of constitutional talks if the Tories gets a majority government?

Given a few in passing musings by Harper on this in the past, the talk of limiting federal spending powers, and the current political climate in Quebec, I'd certainly answer that question with a oui.



  • I'm a bit unclear here.

    Are you saying that bringing Quebec into the Canadian Constitutional fold is a good thing, and that Harper is the one to lead us there?

    Or are you saying that including Quebec in a Liberal Canada is a bad thing, and that Harper might open that door?

    By Blogger Paul, at 3:47 a.m.  

  • Harper has already set a bad precedent by legitimizing the so-called "Fiscal Imbalance".

    An error made by the Fathers of Confederation was to give mineral rights to the provinces.

    Canada is the only country in the world to have such an arrangement, which promotes divisiveness and disproportionate distribution of wealth.

    Canada certainly doesn't need to be weakened further by limiting Federal jurisdiction, even more.

    The damage done by making changes just to pander for votes, will be long lasting and difficult to reverse.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 7:20 a.m.  

  • As much as I'd like to see something like this happen... I don't think it will. It seems in Québec like no one wants to open that box again, and I don't see Harper being able to cook up something that would please two provincial parties in Québec, much less governments from all 10 provinces. Also, I'm not sure is Harper's the man. I thought Meech was realistically as good a compromise as there could be twenty years ago, and I would've been all for it had I not been a child. However, I guess I don't have faith in Harper/Charest (and Stelmach and Williams and Calvert... and so on) as much as I do Mulroney/Bourassa.

    I think Meech was the best chance for Québec to be in the constitution, and its failure led to the federalist/separatist dichotomy that, in my opinion, is not the way to go. Québec can never be "just another province" and it can never be an independant country without a severe backlash in its population.

    I've had the intention for a while now f writing, for personal purposes, a tentative modified constitution. I suppose I should try that now.

    By Blogger jeagag, at 7:31 a.m.  

  • Dan

    are you suggesting that Quebec wanting in and Harper willing to negotitate is a reason NOT to vote for him?

    Oh my.

    By Blogger Anthony, at 10:11 a.m.  

  • Interesting dilemma for the LPC since Ignatieff favoured reopening the constitution when running for the leadership.Dion,Rae,& Kennedy said went on record as no.Think perhaps an ambush is in the making by Dummont & Harper?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:14 a.m.  

  • Does anyone know whether Dumont has said that the constitution would have to be changed in order for him to support signing on? None of the articles I've read quote him as making that a requirement. Any chance he'd be willing to sign on as-is?

    By Blogger The Invisible Hand, at 11:20 a.m.  

  • This is fantastic. Liberals wanting to tag-team with the Bloc Quebecois as obstructionists.

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 11:44 a.m.  

  • To the Invisible Hand:
    You can access the ADQ platform, in English, on their website. Sadly, it does not faithfully reflect the French text. Remember that ‘Quebec not signing the Constitution’ is a fat lie. None of the provinces ‘signed’ the Constitution. Dumont wants Quebec to have a constitution separate from that of Canada. He wants to establish a Quebec citizenship and issue Quebec passports. He wants Quebec to collect 100% of taxes and have the Quebec government send money to Ottawa for national defence, and only if Quebec deems it appropriate. For Dumont, Canada is not a country but something more akin to the EU. Canadians do not form a nation, no more than Europeans form a nation. He refers to Canadians not as fellow citizens but as partners. Above all, Dumont wants to achieve these changes to Canada without referendums! He finds them too divisive! He may find an ally in Harper who claims that there is a Canadian culture. I doubt Harper believes Canadians form a nation.

    By Blogger loraine lamontagne, at 12:07 p.m.  

  • we can only open the constitution if
    1) we recognize the self-government rights of all aboriginal Canadians
    2) we recognize the inherent right of future Canadians to a green environment
    3) Provinces get a say on Senate appointments
    4) Federal Government gets a veto on Senate appointments
    5) Canada goes to a rep by pop system for its national government and Quebec gets as many seats as it deserves under rep by pop, as well as PEI going down to one seat, which is what it deserves
    6) Municipal government funding is addressed by a stable formula
    7) Dany Williams gets his equalization formula
    8) Alberta gets an opt out clause of all federal programs, including equalization
    9) BC is allowed to impose high internal tariffs on any oil and gas that is shipped out to BC through the Gateway Pipeline system
    10) Ontario finally gets their fiscal imbalance fixed...

    I hope all of the provinces come with their demands for the Federal government. anyone who thinks this is about "bring quebec" into the constitution is out to lunch...when you open it, it is about bringing all 10 provinces back into the constitution.

    By Blogger iloveLaP, at 12:23 p.m.  

  • CG,

    Good. I'll be the first to tell you:

    Elizabeth May quoted you on Question Period today. You. She said you were "a very funny blogger" too.

    Watch out! Stephane Dion might get jealous if he realizes how sweet she is on you.

    By Blogger Tarkwell Robotico, at 1:14 p.m.  

  • Paul & Antonio; I'm just saying that I think Harper will try to do it if he gets a majority. I'm fairly sure we won't see it under any other circumstances. And I don't think it would be an election promise...just something he'd do a few years into his mandate.

    As for whether or not that's a good idea, that's a different topic in itself. Although given the super ginormous can of worms it would open (as LaP mentioned), I would probably shy away from it myself.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:33 p.m.  

  • Quebec does not need to be brought into the constitution - it has been since 1867, and the Supreme Court ruled some time ago that the consent of the government of Quebec was not required. In 1982, the Liberals held 74 of 75 seats in Quebec - why is that ignored?

    By Blogger JG, at 1:37 p.m.  

  • A constitutional negotiation would have many headaches for Harper: it would bring back just about everything he said against Charlottetown, and would probably require a referendum. It wouldn't legally require a referendum, but it is possible Charlottetown created a precedent.

    If it is just a promise to provincial elites to give them more spending power it IS possible to ignore all the other causes that want to bandwagon. Sure they might make a fuss, but Harper would have a majority government, and this would be a legacy-making move.

    Remember that when it came to Meech, a fairly focused agreement was possible, and almost went through. Of course Quebec has actually gotten/has most of what Meech offered anyway, so the provincial spending power thing would be needed to sweeten the pot. That might necessitate a separate buy-out for provinces that, on balance, benefit from federal spending - namely in the Maritimes.

    If it goes to a referendum campaign, it will be tough. I suspect the vote will be close in Quebec, as it was last time. The western provinces may balk at "selling out to Quebec", and of course eastern Canada will be concerned about pogey.

    All I will say is that elite-driven change works, dammit.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 2:15 p.m.  

  • Josh, would you like to go to Quebec and tell French Canadians that "oh technically you are wrong, and don't have a legitimate grievance".

    Quebec not having signed the constitution is legally meaningless. What is meaningful is the grievance associated with it - and so it goes into the pantheon with the Manitoba Schools act, Conscription and the hanging of Louis Riel.

    That grievance isn't about legal mumbo-jumbo, but about how Rene Levesque was betrayed by the English-speaking premiers - it is bad optics, and unlike the other separatist grievances, it is relatively recent.

    From a public policy perspective, of course it doesn't make sense to slay imaginary problems like the fiscal imbalance (though if you are a provincialist anyway, why not use that language - there IS no "legitimate" balance of responsibilities between the provinces and the federal government period - why is 70-30 or 30-70 immoral).

    However, politics is only tangentially related to public policy. Maybe that is a problem, but it doesn't take away from the reality of the situation: this stuff matters. Even if the positive effects are short-term, remember that both the Bloc and the PQ are on the ropes - and can indeed be driven to a level so low that they will wither away and die - a watered down version of their cause can be taken up by the Conservatives federally and the ADQ provincially. All of a sudden its 1959 again, and all is well.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 2:23 p.m.  

  • Cool, caught the QP clip.

    I did enjoy that she referenced a post where the underlying thesis was that Elizabeth May has absolutely no snowballs chance in hell of winning Central Nova.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 2:46 p.m.  

  • Heh. The irony was delicious.

    By Blogger lance, at 2:57 p.m.  

  • It worked so well for Mulroney the last time.

    I guess Dumont gets to play Bouressu

    By Blogger John de Lancie, at 2:57 p.m.  

  • loraine said

    "I doubt Harper believes Canadians form a nation."

    Then, harper isn't a federalists. He's a separatist also.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 6:41 p.m.  

  • "It worked so well for Mulroney the last time.

    I guess Dumont gets to play Bouressu"

    Bourassa actually liked Dumont a lot, and a lot of analysts like to see in Dumont the first significant party leader since Bourassa to defend some sort of non-separatist Québec nationalism - and there's a lot of Québecers, especially outside Montréal, who like that position. I am really, really not a fan of the ADQ, but I think that re-opening the constitution is one of their better ideas - although I'm sure they'll find a way to screw it up, as Dumont does not have the same intellectual rigor and calm that Bourassa had.

    By Blogger jeagag, at 8:30 p.m.  

  • Even if the positive effects are short-term, remember that both the Bloc and the PQ are on the ropes - and can indeed be driven to a level so low that they will wither away and die

    ...unless the constitutional wrangling ends up reviving the separatists (see: Meech Lake).

    I would not support amending the constitution to get Quebec to sign it. However, if Dumont (or anyone else) is willing to do it for another reason (eg. transfer of tax points), I say go for it.

    By Blogger The Invisible Hand, at 1:08 a.m.  

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