May 22, 2006

Montenegrin Example to Set the Bar

There you have it, another secession referendum, another margin by the skin of its teeth. The YES side in the Montenegro referendum won by 11 points, barely giving them the mandate to separate, according to the EU brokered agreement from 2003, the threshold to separate was 55%.

The separatist movement in Quebec should take a few pointers from the Montenegrins. In fact, the EU has already take a few pointers from Canada. Stephane Dion’s Clarity Act, apparently originally Harper’s idea as a Reform MP (let’s see how the polls in Quebec turn when they find THAT out), was not only an inspiration for the Montenegrin example but also a test run at the system.

Clear Question

"Do you want the Republic of Montenegro to be an independent state with full international and legal subjectivity?"

not 128 words but surprising clear, Clarity 1 Separatists 0

Clear Majority

The EU set a barrier of 55% minimum to proceed to secession.

So the country would not break up if somebody forgot their glasses at home. (I love Jean Chretien) Clarity 2 Separatists 0

Clear Definition of the Mandate

If the results were in the “grey zone” of 50-55% it would be a mandate to continue to push for secession. If not, Montenegrins can move on.

Oh a light at the end of the tunnel, this is new, Pelletier must be going nuts. The PLQ must sometimes learn that good politics is not always necessarily good policy. Heck, so does the PLC.

This one was not an original Clarity Act idea so, let’s amend it. If they don’t reach 50% next time, they have to stop trying and let us wake up from our nightmare of a neverending referendum cycle.

Clarity 3 Separatists 0

Clear Prior Decision of Rules

The EU brokered the deal between the Serbs and Montenegrins prior to the referendum. This is reminiscent of Bouchard saying that he would not respect the Canadian Supreme Court. Well, sovereigntists should respect a court, so I suggest deferring to the ICJ, a Canadian-created institution supported by the rest of the world but that has no teeth. By deferring and ultimately abiding by the outcome, there can be no squabbling after. And Canada would be lending some much-needed legitimacy to the court.

No more referendums by the seats of our pants!

Clarity 4 Separatists 0

Where I’m from we call that a sweep!

The relatively civil tone of this referendum should serve as an example that if the Quebec nation seeks independence, they should achieve it without smoke and mirrors and accept the outcome of the vote. By the way, that goes for us federalists too!

Stephen Harper should hail this referendum as a bright light and success of the Clarity Act, even if he takes credit for the idea.

Jean Charest and Benoit Pelletier should see that if prior rules are set out before a referendum and no dirty tricks are allowed on either side, that we must accept the outcome, no matter how painful it is for the losing side. Who cares if it pisses off the separatists? This is common sense!

The Liberal Party should stand with their Conservative colleagues on this issue. After all, it might be unpopular, but it is the right thing to do. Besides, we did come up with the idea in the first place, voting against it now would be, well…no comment.

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