Is the NDP a federalist party or not?
After becoming Leader of the Official Opposition, Jack Layton should be in seventh heaven.
Instead, he must feel like he's in the fifth ring of hell.
In the days since the 2011 election, his Quebec lieutenant, Thomas Mulcair, has embarrassed the party by suggesting a conspiracy is afoot beneath the reported death of Osama Bin Laden. Reports indicate that another one of his new Quebec MPs (or at least someone in her campaign) may have committed electoral fraud.
Now, it seems that one of his Quebec MPs may be a separatist. 19 year-old Pierre-Luc Dusseault -- the youngest MP in Canadian history -- declared that separatism is not dead during an interview with a Toronto radio station.
He then went on to declare that "sovereignty will be done."
It's important to note that this wasn't merely Dusseault playing the soft-separatist in Quebec. This was Dusseault trumpeting what seem to be separatist views in the self-declared capital of the good ol' ROC.
Charles Adler previously spoke about Dusseault's remark, but the NDP is already trying to pull a rhetorical bait-and-switch.
"NDP spinners in Ottawa will say that Adler and other right-wingers are taking him out of context," Adler wrote. "Umm no. I am taking him at his word."
As Adler points out, this is a stark challenge to the notion that the NDP's ascension in Quebec marks a weakening of Quebec separatism.
"The politically correct interpretation of the Orange Surge was that it was about many things," Adler wrote. "But most important to Canada, we were told it was about a rejection of separatism in Quebec."
Yet we have Pierre-Luc Dusseault whom, it may seem, may simply be a Bloc Quebecois MP wrapped in orange instead of teal.
Is the NDP still actually a federalist party? Or have they been harbouring separatists within their ranks for as long as they've been pushing for this surge in Quebec?
Jack Layton, Pierre-Luc Dusseault and the NDP owe Canadians some answers. If Dusseault has truly been taken out of context -- and given his comments, it's hard to see how he could have been -- it's up to the NDP to require Dusseault to better-explain what his comments are to mean.
In the meantime, it's hard to ignore the very real possibility that Pierre-Luc Dusseault is a BQ in the NDP's clothing.