intergovernmental affairs labour minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn’s pronouncement that a Conservative majority government would re-open the constitution to address “
Out to quickly distance the Conservative government from Blackburn’s comments was
intergovernmental affairs transport minister Lawrence Cannon, emphasizing
"There is absolutely no appetite to open the constitution and to have any amendments to the constitution. We practice a federalism of openness in
Still, after Cannon’s rebuke
"As a Quebecer I think we can all wish to one day see all of these measures form part of the Canadian constitution. Now, to do that, there has to be a will on the part of the provinces. The circumstances have to lend themselves to being able to proceed in that path - I think everybody recognizes that the fruit is not ripe at this stage and we will continue with our agenda."
It will ultimately be up, said
“Stephen Harper souhaite que la résolution qui reconnaît les Québécois comme une nation soit incluse dans la Constitution canadienne”
Or, badly translated:
"Stephen Harper wish that the resolution which recognizes the Inhabitants of Quebec as a nation is included in the Canadian Constitution"
Which of course differs from what Jason Kenney was telling the English media last year:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has no plans to take up Mario Dumont's offer to re-open the Constitution, one of his top lieutenants said Monday.
"Our focus is on concrete, tangible deliverables, not abstractions,'' Jason Kenney, secretary of state for multiculturalism and Canadian identity, said in an interview.
So, if I’m following all this correctly, the Conservatives are saying we totally want to get the Quebec as a nation thing into the constitution so give us a majority and hey maybe the time will be right, but hey English Canada the time isn’t right at the moment so totally don’t worry about it.
It all seems purposely confusing and misleading. The Conservatives want to have their cake (hey
A guy who knows a little about national unity and what not, Stephane Dion, is calling BS on the Harper government:
Dion, a former minister in charge of the unity file and a constitutional academic before he came into politics, said the Prime Minister wants Quebecers to believe he'd recognize their nationhood within the Constitution, but in fact, has no plans to do so.
Dion said that Harper has been deliberately vague with Quebecers about how he intends to handle nationalistic aspirations in that province – dating all the way back to his campaign speeches in that province in the last election campaign.
"The Prime Minister should say, very clearly, which federal powers he wants to transfer to provinces, and to the
in a special deal maybe. He must clarify that," Dion said yesterday. provinceof Quebec
What Stephane didn’t say, but what he could (and should) have, is that we need a little clarity here, if you will.
I found this interesting:
Senior Liberals said they suspected the Constitution was thrown out for public debate merely to make mischief for Dion, who is dealing with internal party strife and huge dips in party support in
History has shown that debates over
Quebec's place in the federation can prove hugely divisive in the Liberal party and can pit QuebecLiberals against those in the rest of . The fact that this information was leaked to an English-language newspaper seemed to feed that suspicion. Canada
Maybe, maybe. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the Conservative strategy here. I also think Blackburn went off script. But a few things:
a) The purposely vague, say one thing in English and another in French actions of the Conservatives can easily be exploited by pointing-out the discrepancies and calling for clarifications, as Dion has done here.
b) This is an opportunity to stake out clear and defined policy ground for the Liberal Party. Articulate an alternative policy, a federalist alternative. The BQ and Conservatives are both fighting over the same soft-nationalist ground. Who is speaking for federalist, pro-Canada Quebecers?
c) I recognize such a position may alienate the establishment members running the LPC(Q) (into the ground). Well, it’s not like they’re helping much right now anyway. C'est la vie.
d) A strong federalist push would play to Dion’s strengths, and his base, and the Liberal base. The Conservatives want to give Dion a chance to play Captain