April 14, 2007

We Should Hear Dumont Out

Acting like the Premier of Quebec, Mario Dumont today mused about the possibility of signing the Constitution, cementing Quebec’s place within Canada once and for all.

Would it kill the separatist movement? Probably not. Would it deflate it? Definitely. Jean Charest has a fine line to walk here. A defeat of the separatist movement would likely put a majority of Quebec seats in the hands of Mario Dumont and the ADQ. Charest would likely have to move the party to the left while trying to hold on to the centre.

Back to what Dumont, and theoretically, what Charest wants as well.

They wish to limit the federal spending power, in addition to constitutionalizing the status of Quebec as a nation within Canada, likely (and hopefully) in the preamble of the Constitution.

In terms of the spending power, basically, what the provincial government wants is to prevent the federal government from recklessly spending in provincial jurisdiction without the provinces agreeing to it first.

That means that if the federal government is ever in deficit, it does not gut transfer payments as it did in the early 90s and then create national programs instead of re-transferring the money.

Basically, no more fiscal imbalances.

This shouldn’t be a problem for Liberals because fiscal imbalances already cannot exist. (sarcasm)

There are several ways of doing this and I believe the Liberal Party should come up with a policy of their own which is not a complete rejection of the proposal. It should be in the interest of the Liberal Party to get Quebec to sign the Constitution just as much as it would be to any national federalist party. I expect the BQ to obstruct but as current polls are showing, their relevance is diminishing to its lowest levels since it was created in 1990 after the failure of Meech.

The least we Liberals can do is hear out Mario Dumont, and come up with a counter-offer. It is very likely the next election in Quebec will be decided over which party makes the most reasonable offer. The Liberals cannot stand on the sidelines and complain. We brought home the Charter. We should seek to end this problem once and for all.

8 Commentaires:

Blogger Mark a dit...

We should indeed hear him out. As I hope he and others will hear out the legitimate suggestions and aspirations of other provinces (and "nations") who have an equal right to have their positions incorporated in any new round of such discussions.

For one, I think federal spending power is a complete red herring.

4/14/2007 9:32 p.m.  
Blogger Scott Blurton a dit...

Once again Antonio, the situation of the spending power has already been dealt with in the Social Union agreement in 1999. The federal government, under Chretien and Dion, voluntarily choose to limit the use of the spending power to only those cases where 50% of the provinces were in accord. In other words, Ottawa already needs substantially provincial support to enter into new shared-cost programs in areas of provincial jurisdiction.

PS - If we're talking Constitutionally reform, then we also have to address the Triple-E Senate or else Alberta and BC won't go for it.

4/15/2007 1:06 a.m.  
Blogger Mohamed Mohamed a dit...

I have trouble with the idea of putting Quebec as a Nation into the Constitution. Who actually is this nation? Is it the territory of Quebec, the citizens of Quebec or the People of Quebecois decent? We should really be careful about this; I’m not too sure how Quebecers view it do they see them selves as part of the French Canadian Nation along with Acadians, metis, Francophone out side of Quebec, or do they view them drastically different from these nations as well for whatever apparent reason.

It is a really interesting topic though but it is really troubling outside Quebec as people don't really see how nuance it is. People might say if “Quebec is a Nation why not ____(fill in Blank with Province)”; without really appreciating the historical significance of the Quebec nation.

4/15/2007 5:41 a.m.  
Blogger Sinestra a dit...

Only, Dumont is NOT the Premier of Quebec (thank God for small miracles)

I have always believed Mario is a thinly veiled separatist - this does nothing to change my opinion and unlike you, Antonio, I think (as I'm sure Mario does) this will bolster the separatist movement.

Sory to re-hash old news, but didn't the original, Ignatieff-based 'nation' resolution also discuss re-opening the constitution? Liberals wanted nothing to do with it.

4/15/2007 10:11 a.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

It was his policy, I will not lie.

So was solving the fiscal imbalance and fixing the equalization formula to remove political influence.

Harper has had some good ideas. Now we know where he got them...

(well i always knew)

4/15/2007 10:45 a.m.  
Blogger Chuckercanuck a dit...

Antonio,

see Grit and BCer in To:

your buddies will be tag-teaming with the Bloc Quebecois as Major Obstructionists.

come to the dark side so you can tell your grandkiddies that you helped when Canada was reborn!

4/15/2007 11:48 a.m.  
Blogger Kyle G. Olsen a dit...

As long as Alberta gets to be called a nation along with Quebec, as a nation among nations in a country called Canada I am fine with it. (In the preamble of course)

As Scott said, the Senate thing will be a big road block for this, along with every other group that comes out of the wood work for their own little piece of the constitutional pie.

4/15/2007 4:56 p.m.  
Blogger A BCer in Toronto a dit...

We're a big tent, chucker. And p.s., given that you relied on the BQ to pass your budget that whole BQ tag-teaming line is, frankly, rather lame. An A for effort though mon ami.

4/15/2007 5:06 p.m.  

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