Monday, September 25, 2006

Reopening a constitutional can of worms…

Nearly everything I have tried or wanted to say on Michael Ignatieff's constitutional musings Lysiane Gagnon says far more eloquently than I have in the Globe today:

Reopening a constitutional can of worms
From Monday's Globe and Mail

It is an illusion to believe that constitutional reform, and the recognition of Quebec as a nation, could ensure a federalist victory if there were another referendum on sovereignty. Michael Ignatieff, one of the leading contenders in the race for the Liberal leadership, made a dangerous error of judgment when he promised to reopen this Pandora's Box. The process of reforming the Constitution to accommodate Quebec would be long and agonizing, probably doomed from the start and, whatever the result, it would provide more fuel for the sovereigntist camp.

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Ted Betts said...

The one thing she fails to mention however, is that Iggy, Rae and Dion are all in agreement about whether Quebec is a distinct society and a nation within a country, they even all agree that that will have to make its way into the constitution at some point, they just disagree about when.

If constitutional amendment is your dividing line in this campaign, I can only see Dion and Iggy as your choice, one the calm voice of stay the course and the other the passionate voice for "over the wall". Rae, fankly has no compas on this: first taking Iggy's position exactly and then, as the political opportunity arises, attacking him for that position. That's not leadership.

She also makes the silly claim that Iggy would only take the position he does because he has been away. That's an insult to the majority of Quebecers who share the same view as Iggy. It also ignores the fact that Rae, until it was inconvenient, was calling for the same thing.

Like Paul Wells said, this race comes down to Iggy and Dion, political inexperience and new direction vs. respectable political experience and stay the course. Two equally respectable positions, in my view, although the reason I personally got back into Liberal politics and make the personal choice for Iggy is for new direction.


Anonymous said...

Funny, it's not what the other French journalists are saying as well as most of the Quebecers.

I take her view with a grain of salt and perhaps a biased view against Ignatieff.

Anonymous said...

Question: In your world of definitions, is Ignatieff an ideologue?

He does after all set forth a series of principles he will not budge from.

If he is not an ideologue, why not?

If he is an ideologue, why was he the perceived front runner in the Libreal leadership race?

Jeff said...

Well, you know who I'm supporting Ted, and Bob isn't a possible second choice for me at all. As for Michael, I'm not sure that she quite said he has only taken his position because he has been away.

I would submit, however, that his long absence from being on the ground has hurt his judgement, particualrly politically, on this issue. He's approaching it academically, which isn't surprising given his background, and acamdemically his position is not without merit, although I would still have some issues.

What he is missing though is the emotional experience of having been here and lived through the tensions of Meech, Charlottetown and the last referendum. While it might be a nice thing to do, Canada has no appetite for another round of constitutional negoiations.

As a long-term goal, find. But the people need to be brought around first. Another exercise viewed as something being foisted upon us by the elites, a la Charlottetown, is doomed to fail.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that people assume that Canadians don't have an appetite for this. Have they been asked recently? You'd have to be a certain age to even remember what it was like to go through.