From this morning's Globe:
James Curran, the Liberal riding president in Niagara Falls, Ont., said he will probably withdraw his support for Mr. Ignatieff because of the resolution. "This is the last thing we needed to do: fight each other over whether we need to reopen the Quebec issue," he said.
And it's important to see exactly what this "fight" will be about. As Peter from Paper Dynamite has determined, the wording of the Quebec resolution went from more to less aggressive in the week before it was finally passed. While the original document commanded the Liberal Party "to subsequently take the necessary steps to formalize this recognition [of Quebec as a Nation within Canada]", the new wording merely calls for an "expert panel" to examine the issue.
Now, in some ways, the resolution as currently worded constitutes a less insane path forward. You have a panel do research and write a report, then years later down the road when they're done, you ignore it. As Peter points out, the new wording raises Quebec expectations over a chimera. Ignatieff is relying on them having short memories, or in general being kind of slow.
But on the other hand, bloody, divisive fights can still take place over mere semantics. For one thing, there's no reason why other groups with gripes, over "Nationhood" and other issues, should not decide that some panel of experts ought to be studying their problems with a view to reopening the constitution and having these fixed as well (h/t to Coyne for this):
"There is no question Quebec's nationhood status in Canada should be debated," said Goulais, an Anishinaabe and chief of staff for the Union of Ontario Indians. "We all know First Nations have long sought recognition as nations within Canada."
Goulais says he will he will table a resolution with the Aboriginal Peoples' Commission of the Liberal Party of Canada at the party convention, which begins later this month.
"I will propose a resolution mandating that First Nations issues become a top priority of the Liberal Party of Canada including the recognition of First Nations as nations within a nation, and the recognition of First Nations governments as a legitimate third order of Government within Canada," he said in the release.
Meanwhile, if any of this gets through the convention, what will happen? Well, The West has its own set of complaints, and its out there...waiting. From the Edmonton Sun:
Frankly, Ignatieff is deluding himself if he thinks the rest of Canada, especially the West, will be willing to address Quebec's constitutional sensitivities without their own issues on the table.
So the West will "want in" on the Libs expert panel, and hopefully Quebecers won't realize that all they've really got out of the whole painful exercise is some document produced sometime down the road which will (hopefully) end up lining bird-cages
On the other hand, if (the most likely event) the resolution dies due to opposition from the ROC, what will happen? Well, the Quebec delegation is already hinting at Armageddon for the party and the nation. The black arm-bands are being taken from storage; humiliated expressions are practiced before mirrors.
Goodness! Remember when the worst problem with Iggy was his position on Israeli war crimes? Remember how he acted like a clown there, and the whole Liberal Party wound up taking a pie to the face? That was nothing. The story over in Tory land is that Liberals are going to re-open the Constitution to appease Quebec, with Iggy leading the charge. Any hope of making his making inroads with the Tory vote in a general election has now officially gone up the chimney (if it hadn't already). Writers like Coyne, who were making approving noises over the Ignaetieff candidacy, have stopped, and all because of this issue. And instead of calculating how many Quebec seats might be picked up through all this political maneuvering, it would be more appropriate to calculate how many seats the Libs might lose in other, English speaking parts of the country.