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.