When NDP leader Jack Layton recognizes the problems the Canadian Constitution poses for Canadian unity, he should be commended for his presence of thought.
That doesn't mean he should be allowed anywhere near the Constitution itself.
First, there's the question of how much Layton would give up to please Gilles Duceppe, the Bloc Quebecois, and the rest of the Quebec separatist movement. Considering that Layton was the organizational force behind the 2008 coalition government, it hardly seems unfair to speculate.
For his own part, Duceppe would very much like to know precisely what it is they might be talking about.
"When there's a problem, usually you have a solution," Duceppe remarked. "So where is the solution then?"
"I said that I would judge every proposal from wherever it comes from the New Democrats or the Liberals," he continued. "I see nothing being proposed at the moment, except to say, well, we'll have to settle that issue."
Layton has pretty much dodged any questions he's been asked about this issue. And there may be a good reason why: it seems the NDP doesn't do well with Constitutions, particularly its own.
As Terence Corcoran explains in a column in the Financial Post, the NDP Constitution is essentially a secret document. It's not typically made available to be viewed by the general public, although it is available to party members.
However, through the investigative work of CBC's Leslie MacKinnon, the "core principles of democratic socialism", as outlined in the document, has become public knoweldge:
"*That the production and distribution of goods and services shall be directed to meeting the social and individual needs of people within a sustainable environment and economy and not to the making of profit;To anyone who's paid so much as passing attention to Canadian politics, this is no surprise. It was more of a public secret -- one widely known by the general public, slthough not publicly acknowledged.
*To modify and control the operations of the monopolistic productive and distributive organizations through economic and social planning. Towards these ends and where necessary, the extension of the principle of social ownership….
*The New Democratic Party is proud to be associated with the democratic socialist parties of the world and to share the struggle for peace, international co-operation and the abolition of poverty."
It presents an image of a party that is far, far more ambitious than it ever lets on; a party that would fundamentally re-shape Canadian society if ever given the opportunity. It's an image of a party that is about far more than improving health care for Canadians; it's about transforming Canada into a far-left utopia.
It seems unwise to assume that if Layton were ever to lay his pen to the Constitution he wouldn't do everything in his power to entrench intrusive big-state socialism upon Canadians on a permanent basis.
Whether or not Layton could actually get the job done -- by getting the Provinces to agree -- is another matter entirely. Layton would have to be delicate in order to avoid encroaching upon Provincial jurisdiction, or at least to make it seem like he isn't.
Most importantly, Jack Layton should be kept as far away from the Constitution as possible.