Friday, December 05, 2008

Either Quebec is an Equal Part of Canada, or We Need to Let Them Go

The government of Canada is stating - caetgorically and repeatedly - that Quebec voters and the MPs they elect are not legitimate or equal.

Since its inception in 1993, Quebecers have elected Bloc MPs and those MPs have gone to parliament and assume their duties. They argue causes, just as other parties do. They serve on committees and follow the rules while they participate in parliament. They have supported (or not supported) governments in vote after vote.

Now, suddenly, the government is saying that Bloc MPs are dangerous and irresponsible, and their votes should not count in the House. Worse, a poll in the Globe & Mail yesterday suggests that the majority of Anglophone Canadians support the government.

Either the government of Canada has to take this back and assert the equality of Quebec in the parliament of Canada, or we have to open up negotiations in Quebec to allow them to adopt some form of independent (sovereigntist) government. We can't leave it both ways. I'm not happy about this (to say the least), but I refuse to sit by while one quarter of the population is treated as unequal.

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10 comments:

The Rat said...

"Either the government of Canada has to take this back and assert the equality of Quebec in the parliament of Canada, or we have to open up negotiations in Quebec to allow them to adopt some form of independent (sovereigntist) government."

Geez, do you think that'd work? I mean they've tried twice to separate through referendums and failed, they've blackmailed government after government extorting the majority of equalization payments, side deals, & one-off gifts. They're the only province to use that dreaded not-withstanding clause and they used it to strip anglos and immigrants of language rights. Seriously, if you think the ROC opening up negotiations to get rid of 'em will work, will get them of the ROC teat, then by all means I'm behind you Liberal 100%!!! But a little voice tells me that they would just take that as another slight against Quebec and demand an extra billion or so to make them feel better.

Anonymous said...

Harper was going to lose his job so he suspended democracy. The Coalition was going to bring in a stimulus package but since democracy is suspended that can't happen. So, you might lose your job but at least Harper gets to keep his!

Yappa said...

The Harper-Conservative party's attack on Quebec over the last week is a lot more than "another slight". If you have any respect for human rights in Canada, then you'll see that we are in a situation that cannot be allowed to persist. The government cannot assert the illegitimacy of an entire province and then just carry on as if nothing has changed.

Harper's behavior is so bizarre that I'm starting to wonder if he didn't plan this crisis to fall during the Quebec provincial election. First he forced the opposition to defy him with an economic update that seemed designed to goad the opposition parties so hard that they had no choice but to prepare to vote no confidence. Then he called the no-confidence vote for the day of the Quebec election. Then his main attack on the opposition parties is an attack on Quebec. Is this part of some master plan?

dissenter said...

If Liberals actually believed this then the Bloc would be an official member of the coalition and not try to hide that reality.
Also the preamble to the coalition agreement would refer to "Canadians" and not "Canadians and Quebecers".

Neil said...

Let them go. Like... now.

Billy Jack said...

"Harper was going to lose his job so he suspended democracy..."

Harper didn't do any such thing. He just prevented the unwanted Liberals from taking power (lowest popular vote ever, remember?). If voters wanted the Liberals/NDP/Bloc to take power, voters would have elected them. As far as I can tell, no one voted for a far left-wing coalition.

C.Newton said...

"The government of Canada is stating - caetgorically and repeatedly - that Quebec voters and the MPs they elect are not legitimate or equal."

"Now, suddenly, the government is saying that Bloc MPs are dangerous and irresponsible, and their votes should not count in the House."


I think that you are reading a little much into this.

A majority of Canadians grudgingly agree that the Bloc MPs are legitimate. What we think/suspect is that they do not/will not act in the best interest of Canadians. Instead they focus all of their efforts on Quebec and creating a situation for Quebec sovereignty.(They are a separatist party, whose M.O. is to advance the cause of Quebec independence)

This is annoying enough to Canadians, but the fact that they use Canadian tax payer dollars, above and beyond that of what the Taxpaying populace of Quebec pays, seem cheeky at best.

Many Canadians are afraid that the Bloc is willing to put the needs of the one province, that they represent, over that of the other provinces, even if it is to the detriment of Canadians.

This is why there is such opposition to them being in a position of power. it is one thing to have them sitting in parliament representing the voice of the separatist movement, it is another to have them as an integral and crucial part of the governing coalition. I know that they are not in the coalition, but have agreed to not vote it down.
At what price does this come? They are not doing it for nothing.

Future support of the coalition will come at what cost?

Unless The conservative start to vote with the Liberals and NDP, the coalition is at the mercy of the Bloc if they want to stay in power.

If the liberals are in power, my guess is they will try to hold it until they think they have a chance at a majority.. Which from the looks of things will not be for a while.

The bloc will not try anything too major, but rather slow and steady. They have more to gain the longer they are in a governing position.

The last point you made

"I'm not happy about this (to say the least), but I refuse to sit by while one quarter of the population is treated as unequal."

This has nothing to do with where the MPs come from, but rather what the interests and objectives of the MPs' affiliated parties are. (There are MPs from Quebec in the other parties.. not sure of the NDP and too lazy to look)

As far as federal money goes, Quebec receives a disproportionate share by quite a bit.(There are reasons for this, with both pros and cons)

But check out federal transfer payments

http://www.fin.gc.ca/access/fedprove.html

compare Quebec with Alberta and you will see why people in Alberta are upset.

Angelle said...

If my memory serve me, it was during the Conservative under Mulroney who established the present system that MP from Quebec who were member of the Bloc party had the same rights as any other MP elected in the rest of Canada. Does anyone know how exactly the Meech Lake Accord gave us the present configuration of parliament?

Wes Werkman said...

I support a decentralized federation, and i believe Quebec would as well. Whats the harm with a country with things like: Strong gun control in Ontario and Quebec, none in the West, others as they choose. One region governs different than others. I think this would help our country to become more united.

Toronto realtor said...

I believe Bloc is legitimate. Democracy means, we have to count all votes - even Hitler came out of democratic voting (but for God's sake I don't want to compare Hitler and Bloc :)). On the other hand, I believe Bloc's program is too extreme for the rest of the parties so either the Bloc will not follow wishes of its voters, or the coalition will be not able to cooperate...
Take care and merry Christmas!
Julie