Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jack Layton's Quebec Conundrum

Jack Layton during the election campaign made certain promises to Quebec. He had promised he would recognize  50 plus 1 majority  as winning conditions  for Quebec to separate  in the event of a referendum and he would repeal the Clarity Act. in which the NDP had once voted for. Now a large part of Jack's caucus is from Quebec that he'll have a time and half to manage and much will be expected.  Some don't know how they would vote in the case of a referendum.

Now Jack is dodging trying to reconcile his contradiction.
He wound up dodging and weaving when asked to explain how to reconcile the contradiction.
"The position of the Supreme Court (which later became the Clarity Act), was accepted by the two sides of this great debate," Layton said. "So there is no necessity to go further then this because we have an excellent context for this possible discussion on this possible question."
Pressed about whether the NDP still recognizes the 50per-cent level, the furthest Layton would go was to say: "It's there in our declaration.
"We'll follow the decision of the Supreme Court judges," he reiterated. "We think that's an appropriate framework. We don't need to be revisiting legislation.
"But our goal is not to see another referendum. Our goal is to create the winning conditions for Canada in Quebec."
The term "winning conditions," is the one Layton used during the election campaign to portray himself as a strong nationalist or defender of Quebec's interests as a way to crush the separatist Bloc Québécois.
Now both the Quebec Liberal party and the PQ have picked up on Jack's confusion. Where exactly does Jack stand?  I believe this will dog him for the next four years. Jack will have some juggling to do between his Quebec caucus and the rest of the caucus to keep all happy as to prevent a revolt possibly led by Thomas Mulcair .  
He should try to remember Brian Mulroney, Meech Lake and Lucien Bouchard.  It produced the Bloc and the Reform Party.  The PCs were reduced to two seats.

Related: Last night on Sunnews Network former Liberal leader Stephane Dion tried to explain to Charles Adler the Quebec issues.

Update: From Norman Spector twitter-Mulcair says 50%+1 in referendum would do the trick
Translation here 
If there were a referendum on Quebec sovereignty, the NDP would accept a majority of 50% + 1, as required by the declaration of Sherbrooke. That at least is what Thomas Mulcair, NDP Deputy Leader and MP for Outremont, in an interview with Pierre Maisonneuve.




  1. Jack Layton needs to read up on the history of the Social Credit Party after the 1963 election.

    Its coming.

  2. Quebec can leave with 50% plus one: Layton

  3. You don't seem to understand what the phrase "winning conditions" means. The sovereignty movement has used this phrase to describe political conditions they seek to create in order enable them to win a vote in favour of sovereignty. Jack Layton has used the phrase in the reverse manner to describe the conditions necessary to have Quebec sign on to the constitutional amendments of 1982. The phrase has nothing to do with the 50%+1 question.

    Also, you should read the story you linked to from 2004. Layton never said he would repeal the Clarity Act--those were the reporter's words. Layton said that passing Clarity Act unilaterlly (over the objection of ALL political parties in Quebec) was a mistake like repatriating the Constitution without Quebec signing on, but--as with repatriation--he never proposed repealing it as that would only re-open an unproductive debate.

    Furthermore, there is nothing contradictory about the NDP's position. As Tom Flanagan pointed out on today's Power & Politics, Stephen Harper has long supported the clear 50%+1 majority standard for judging the results of a referendum.

  4. it didnt happen in 1995, why would they succeed now?Layton is poking a hornet's nest and will be stung badly


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