Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Separatist Fighter No More

Pierre Trudeau to spin in grave as Stephane Dion embraces separatists

Once upon a time, Liberal leader Stephane Dion was a committed separatist fighter. The most committed separatist fighter in all the land, as the Liberal party would have Canadians believe.

A separatist fighter in the tradition of Pierre Trudeau and Claude Ryan.

Yet now, with political power seemingly within his grasp, Dion is doing things that Trudeau would have never done, as he's forged a coalition government with the help of the Bloc.

One very legitimate question on many Canadians' minds is this: precisely how far is Stephane Dion willing to in order to preserve this Coalition?

Canadians have every reason to wonder.

During the 2008 federal election, the Liberal party promoted the Clarity Act as one of the best reasons to support Stephane Dion. They even promoted a YouTube video insisting as much. They insisted that he literally saved the country.

Now, he's set to embark upon a Coalition government which will depend on the Bloc Quebecois for its survival.

The Bloc has never supported the Clarity Act, and for obvious reasons. With the Bloc seemingly having a place at the table of government, its supporters would view it as nothing short of an absolute betrayal if they didn't seek a legislative repeal of the Clarity Act.

Interestingly, this could give the Conservative party grounds to call a quick confidence vote in the government: a confidence motion calling on this Coalition government to reaffirm its commitment to the terms and conditions laid out in the Clarity Act.

Never mind that Dion can't claim sole credit for the Clarity Act -- Stephen Harper himself proposed the Quebec Contingency Act.

The Quebec Contingency Act would have required the federal government to hold a parallel referendum on the same day as any Quebec sovereignty referendum posing an ambiguous question. It also would have required Canada's other provinces to authorize -- via referendum -- the federal government to negotiate Quebec's secession. Unsurprisingly, the act was defeated.

And while Canadians have every right to know just how far Stephen Harper would go vis a vis the Clarity act to preserve his proposed coalition with the Bloc Quebecois, this issue seems much more pertinent now that a formal coalition agreement is on paper and signed.

One simply has to wonder what Pierre Trudeau would have to say if he were alive to see this today.

Some other bloggers writing on this topic:

Angry French Guy - "The Biggest Loser: Gilles Duceppe"

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