Friday, October 27, 2006

Iggy to Lose Another Supporter? (and Other News on the Quebec Resolution)

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.

Chaos beckons!

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.


James Curran said...

The timing of the issue is what I have the problem with. The way it was rammed through at the LPCQ is what I have a problem with. The way "The Team" conducted themselves at LPCO is what I have the problem with.

We are trying to get Quebec and Canada to forget about Gommery and sponsorship. Now we are choosing to open the very issue that was behind sponsorship in the first place.

James Curran
The What Do I Know Grit

bigcitylib said...

Goodness! You're the famous guy in the paper!

Well, the timing you are right about. Although frankly, I do not think there will ever be a "good" time to reopen the constitution. Dion and Rae have mouthed platitudes, but I would like to think that is all they are.

In any case, good luck with your decision on this matter.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the best way to clean up Ignatieff's mess (this one), is for Kennedy, Dion and Rae plus others to put their heads together over the next few weeks and do one of two things. Either agree on an amendment to the shoddily drafted motion from Quebec, which can be passed by all at the convention.

Or arrange for a competing motion (which is clear, does not involve constitutional changes, and consistent with past Liberal Party initiatives, such as the Parliamentary recognition of Quebec) to be presented by some other provincial body, and have this voted on first.

bigcitylib said...


I think they should pull it. Otherwise, what do you do with the First Nations resolution (for example)? I guess its like being a little bit pregnant. You can't half open a can of worms.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Pulling is best. But who does the pulling? I anticipated no withdrawal and this resolution being the only thing on the table to be debated. An amendment would be my Plan B.

James Curran said...

Arranging a well-orchestrated defeat-of-the-motion team is the way to go (unless, of course, Pablo and the boys withdraw the motion altogether). This resolution may also aid in the defeat of the Red Ribbon Report which suggests "wording of the Quebec Nation" thingy. Not everyone is happy with that report either.